Airline pilot Steve Rapp flew to his second consecutive AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series victory with another brilliant, abbreviated weekend performance.
Just as he did at Road America, Rapp missed some early-weekend track time but the veteran runner showed no ill-effects as a result. The Suburban Harley-Davidson star again qualified on the front row and then raced his way into the lead early in the race, ultimately breaking free en route to the checkered flag.
Rapp faced a determined challenge from Spyke’s Harley-Davidson’s Michael Barnes during the race’s opening half. He finally broke the pursuit of the defending class champ on lap 7 and ultimately worked up a 5.454-second margin of victory.
Rapp said, “The guys from Suburban Harley-Davidson — from the first time I rode the bike, there’s just something about it. The way we have it set up and the special things they’ve done for me as a rider, like handlebars and the seat and stuff like that, it just feels so good I feel like I can ride it a lot harder.
“I started the season with really nothing going on and Joe from Suburban Harley called me and said if I wanted to come out for Daytona we’d at least get one race in. I said ‘that’d be great’ and it’s just kept getting better. If we can get the whole season in, that’d be great. It’s been an unexpected welcome, for sure.”
Barnes came home with a clear runner-up finish, another five seconds separating him from the battle that raged for the final spot on the podium.
That position went to Eco-Fuel Saver/Scrubblade’s Tyler O’Hara, who aced Rapp’s Suburban Harley-Davidson teammate, Ben Carlson, on the final lap of the 11-lap race.
Harv’s Harley-Davidson’s Travis Wyman came home a lonely fifth after running with the lead pack in the race’s early stages.
Positions 6-14 finished the race in a relatively tight pack, headed by Mob Racing’s Shane Narbonne. Longevity Racing’s Barrett Long, H&S Distributors Nicholas Hansen, ChiliPepperRacing.com’s Ricky Parker, and Racing For A Wish’s Adam Raffe rounded out the contest’s top ten.