Last updated: March 27th, 2024

Daytona 200 Wrap-up

69 riders. 57 laps. 45 seconds: the 2024 Daytona 200. Those are the key stats from this year's Daytona 200, but that really doesn't tell the full story. We were trackside in Florida for this year's race and we give you the full breakdown below.

The Daytona 200 is massive. Let's just make that clear. This year's race was the 82nd running of the event - making it one the oldest and most historic races in the world.

Now, while this year's race may not have been the most fiercely contested in its illustrious history, it still delivered edge-of-your-seat excitement right until the very end.

Picture this: a race track nestled in the heart of sunny Florida, surrounded by palm trees and bathed in the roar of high-performance engines. That's Daytona for you – a venue renowned worldwide for hosting the annual NASCAR 500 and now playing host to the thunderous rumble of motorcycle engines. When the bikes get there and start ripping up the tarmac, the adrenaline gets flowing.

But Daytona isn't just about the race – it's also about the spectacle. The event coincides with the legendary Daytona Bike Week, drawing in over 100,000 motorcycle enthusiasts from across the globe for a week-long celebration of all things two-wheeled.


While the Daytona 200 stands as its own prestigious event, it also serves as the opening act for the MotoAmerica season, adding an extra layer of excitement and anticipation for riders and fans alike.

This year's race was certainly a big one for RST, not only were we in attendance, but we also had RST sponsored AMA Team Hammer lining up on the grid, with our very own branded bike ridden by 2-time Daytona 200 champion Brandon Paasch.

Team Hammer's representation came from Richie Escalante, Tyler Scott and Teagg Hobbs.

The race was scheduled for a 13:10 local time start (18.10 GMT) on Saturday, and all 4 Team Hammer riders had gone well in practice and qualifying, but it was Tyler Scott who took the headlines with a incredible time of 1m 48.047 to put the No.70 bike on top spot for the race start.


'Race-DAY'TONA

As the race start loomed on Saturday, this year's entry list showed the class of the event; 2 time champion Josh Herrin was aboard his Warhorse Ducati Panigale V2, looking to make it back to back titles, 13-time TT winner Peter Hickman was making his Daytona debut and 2-time champion Brandon Paasch was looking to make it 3 on his Vision Wheel Suzuki Team Hammer bike.

Outside of these 3, Tyler Scott's qualifying time had got people talking, but the real chatter was surround Richie Escalante - who had set the Daytona lap record in practice earlier in the week. The pre-race favourite's were Herrin and Escalante: they lined up 5th and 9th respectively at the start.

As the race got underway, the action was fast and furious, with multiple lead changes keeping fans on the edge of their seats. The 57-lap race meant strategic pit stops were crucial, adding an extra layer of complexity to the proceedings.

The 57-lap race duration means that all riders have to pit for fuel and tyres, generally using a 2-stop strategy. This meant that the first pit-window was around lap 15, with the second closer to lap 35.

After many lead changes in the opening 10 laps, things had settled down a little by the time the first pit window approached. It was Herrin from Escalante, with Tyler Scott in 3rd. 2-time champ Brandon Paasch had got himself in contention at 6th (up from an 11th place start).

Things soon changed, as the top 3 all came in for relatively smooth stops, we waited to see Brandon cruising down pitlane - he wasn't there. A glance back to the outfield showed Paasch wrestling his bike side-to-side as he tried to get the last drops of fuel in his tank to edge his bike down the pitlane.

Despite managing to get the bike back for the refuel, he had lots valuable time. In what looked like a regulation pit-stop everything seemed to be present and correct only for the fuel dispenser to stick open, spraying fuel all over the bike, the rider and the team.

As Brandon hopped back on the bike, he knew he would have to tip-toe his bike round the first few laps back on track to make sure the excess fuel was burned off his tyres. Ultimately, the time lost in this period mean't that Brandon's chances of a 3rd Daytona title were over for this year.


For the second-stint of the race, the top-3 became a top-2 with Herrin leading the way by around 6 seconds from Richie Escalante, with the pair having dropped Tyler Scott by a further 40 seconds. The young american rider was certainly earning many plaudits though, as he edged away from the rest of the field with consistent lap times.

Elsewhere, Paasch had managed to grind out some good laps and draft up the standings from 14th after the disastrous first pit stop, up to 8th: too far back to compete for a podium - but a display of gutsy riding and the competitive nature that made him a 2-time champion in the past.

Thankfully, the 2nd round of pitstops went by without any further issues and all Team Hammer riders got out in their pre-pit positions.

This meant it was a straight shootout between Herrin and Escalante for the crown. Richie had clawed the gap down to just 5-seconds following the pitstops and was full-throttle pushing to get on the back of Herrin's V2 panigale.

As the final few laps ticked away, the gap was holding steady. Herrin was looking towards his pitboard every lap, likely checking if he could ease off - his rear tyre was spinning up alot by this point and the Ducati engine beneath him isn't renowned for it's fuel economy, so as everyone watched to see if he would have to start feathering the throttle a little, a slowing Suzuki rode past us.

Escalante's pushing had unfortunately taken it's toll. His bike had ran out of fuel and as his bike slowed and his dreams of Daytona glory went with up in fumes, it was Herrin who crossed the line to take his 3rd title - follow by Tyler Scott, some 45 seconds behind.

As the checkered flag waved and the dust settled, Team Hammer reflected on a rollercoaster of a race. While victory eluded them this time, Tyler Scott's impressive second-place finish served as a promising sign for the future.

Roll on the 2024 season.

#TEAMRST


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Written by

Christopher Impey

A motorcycle rider and enthusiast; as the digital editor for RST, Chris is responsible for creating compelling copy and captivating digital experiences.