Daniels Devastates Rivals in Lima Blowout

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 29, 2024) – Grand National Championship leader Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) checked off another career goal with a peerless performance in this year’s edition of the Lima Half-Mile presented by Indian Motorcycle and Drag Specialties, Round 9 of the 2024 Progressive American Flat Track season, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing,

Despite lining up for Saturday’s Main Event as the only rider among the leading Mission AFT SuperTwins title contenders without a prior win at the Allen County Fairgrounds to his name – and despite Yamaha similarly being without a premier-class victory in the history of the fabled event in Lima, Ohio – Daniels was simply unstoppable from start to finish.

The Estenson Racing hero immediately leapt out into the lead and set about executing his escape. Ripping off a series of laps quicker than anyone had managed all day long, Daniels stretched out his advantage by big chunks over the race’s opening half.

With some three seconds separating him from Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) and five from Jared Mees (No. 1 Rogers Racing/SDI Racing/Indian Motorcycle FTR750), Daniels was already deep into traffic by the race’s halfway point. Even after easing up late, he would go on to lap more than half the field before at last taking the checkered flag with nearly six-and-a-half seconds in hand.

Despite the one-sided nature of the win, there was still a fair amount of drama near the front. Reigning champion Mees reeled Robinson in from a couple seconds back, ultimately moving through with an inside-outside-inside maneuver as the clocks hit zero.

That development was actually to Daniels’ benefit – at least for the time being – as it allowed him to open his championship lead over second-ranked Robinson that much further. He now leads by 21-points over the Mission Roof Systems pilot (195-174) with the factory Indian ace two points further adrift in third (172).

Daniels said, “When you’re a little kid, there are just certain tracks you dream of winning. As soon as I got on that twin, something clicked (here), but I just got nipped by some really great riders. It was a tough pill to swallow because both years I was fast… I just knew I had to get the job done tonight.

“I got a good start, and I just put my head down those first few laps, and the rest is history. We made a little bit of a change before the Main Event, and I was a little bit skeptical on it. But (my crew) sat me down and said they trusted it, and whatever they trust, I trust. Things were just clicking; I felt like I was on a cloud just riding. What a night.”

Last year’s Lima HM winner, Briar Bauman (No. 3 Rick Ware Racing/KTM/Parts Plus KTM 790 Duke), got away in fourth but proved unable to match the torrid early pace at the front. Instead, he found himself fighting a losing battle in his attempt to keep Davis Fisher (No. 67 Rackley Racing/Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750) pinned behind him to hold the position to the end.

Brandon Price (No. 92 Memphis Shades/Sody Ent/OTBR Yamaha MT-07) finished five seconds back of the Fisher-Bauman fight in sixth, followed by Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 JMC Motorsports/Fairway Ford Ohio Indian FTR750) and Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield 650), who was actually the final rider still on the lead lap despite taking eighth.

Chad Cose (No. 49 CTR/Indian Motorcycle Of Oklahoma City Yamaha MT-07) and Cameron Smith (No. 34 RVR/KTM/Schaefer’s Motorsport KTM 790 Duke) completed the top ten.

Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER

Tom Drane (No. 59 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) overcame the best efforts of a motivated Kody Kopp (No. 1 Rick Ware Racing/Parts Plus KTM 450 SX-F) to win the Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER Main Event at Lima.

While Chase Saathoff (No. 88 JPG Motorsports Honda CRF450R) took the holeshot from pole, Drane cut up underneath him to snatch away the lead exiting Turn 2 on the opening lap.

Even though Drane gapped the field by nearly one-and-a-half seconds by the time the race hit halfway, Kopp charged like a champion once he finally overhauled Saathoff and fixed his sights on the Australian.

The Rick Ware Racing star proceeded to eat up tenths per lap, closing to within a quarter of a second as the two encountered thick swaths of lapped traffic with just over a minute remaining.

Just as Kopp was attempting to execute a decisive move, the two stormed past a downed rider and then negotiated another pack of slower traffic that kicked up a wave of pea gravel. Whether Kopp expected a red flag, simply lost out through the lappers, or some combination of the two, Drane took full advantage of the chaos to emerge with his grip on the race resecured.

The Estenson Racing ace sailed on to earn his third victory of the season by just under a half second, snapping Kopp’s three-race win streak in the process.

Drane said, “(Lima’s) definitely similar to what we race back home… To be able to get this win feels so good. I can’t thank my whole team enough for all the effort they’ve put in and all the training we’ve done so we can race so hard the whole race. I could feel Kody coming towards the end there, and I had to really put those last laps together.”

Saathoff took a lonely third, but his sixth podium of the season wasn’t enough to prevent Drane from seizing control of second in the standings. Kopp still leads both challengers by a significant margin, 204-172-168.

The championship’s fourth- and fifth-ranked riders, Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R) and James Ott (No. 19 1st Impressions Race Team Husqvarna FC450), finished in those same positions on Saturday but only after chasing down promising rookie Evan Renshaw (No. 265 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R), who equaled his best-career Progressive AFT finish in sixth.

Aiden RoosEvans (No. 26 FRA Trust/ATV’s and More Yamaha YZ450F), Tyler Raggio (No. 55 Raggio Racing/Sluggo Racing KTM 450 SX-F), Travis Petton IV (No. 82 ECG Racing/A.M Ortega KTM 450 SX-F), and Logan Eisenhard (No. 66 Hannum’s Harley-Davidson KTM 450 SX-F) rounded out the top ten.

Next Up:

Progressive American Flat Track will conclude its month-long run of four consecutive races with the Memphis Shades DuQuoin Mile at the DuQuoin State Fairgrounds in DuQuoin, Illinois, on Saturday, July 6. Visit https://www.tixr.com/groups/trackenterprises/events/duquoin-mile-2024-80042 to secure your tickets today.

For those who can’t catch the action from the circuit, FloRacing is the live streaming home of Progressive AFT. Sign up now and catch every second of the on-track action, from the first practice to the victory podium, at https://flosports.link/aft.

FOX Sports coverage of the Lima Half-Mile, featuring in-depth features and thrilling onboard cameras, will premiere on FS1 on Saturday, July 6, at 10:00 a.m. ET (7:00 a.m. PT).

For more information on Progressive AFT visit https://www.americanflattrack.com.