Daniels Dominates, Kopp Makes History at Orange County Half-Mile

240616 Daniels Dominates, Kopp Makes History at Orange County Half-Mile [678]

DAYTONA BEACH, FL – June 16, 2024 – (Motor Sports NewsWire) – Dallas Daniels (No. 32 Estenson Racing Yamaha MT-07 DT) was precise to the point of perfection in Saturday night’s blowout win of the Orange County Half-Mile, Round 7 of the 2024 Progressive American Flat Track season, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing.

While slippery conditions and continually altering lines at Middletown, New York’s Orange County Fair Speedway kept the world’s elite motorcycle dirt track racers guessing all day long, Mission AFT SuperTwins championship leader Daniels was composed and in control throughout.

After sitting atop the leaderboard in practice and qualifying, and then winning his heat and the Mission #2Fast2Tasty Challenge, Daniels merely needed to get off the line clean and then do his thing in the Main. Once he did, the end result was a drama-free 5.293-second margin of victory.

Daniels’ second triumph of the season also saw him build upon his Grand National Championship advantage on a what was by contrast a frustratingly off day for nine-time champion Jared Mees (No. 1 Rogers Racing/SDI Racing/Indian Motorcycle FTR750), who was forced to rally just to finish inside the top five.

Daniels, who now leads the championship chase 149-133 over Mees, said, “To come here and do what we did all day… These are the days you dream of. It was one of those days when you’re just on, and you feel it no matter what. Man, we’ve been working behind the scenes, and it’s starting to pay off. We put on a clinic, and it feels good. The Estenson Racing Monster Energy Yamaha motorcycle is handling so good. Just a big thanks to everyone. What a day… What a day.”

While Mees battled his way forward from outside the top ten, Briar Bauman (No. 3 Rick Ware Racing/KTM/Parts Plus KTM 790 Duke) got away in second and was the only rider who managed to catch even a fleeting glimpse of Daniels’ immediate escape.

While unsuccessful in his bid to keep pace, the effort to do so catapulted Bauman into the clear himself where he ultimately took second with more than four seconds to spare.

Meanwhile, third place had major ‘Cinderella story’ potential with Billy Ross (No. 29 Mission Foods/Digitale Kawasaki Ninja 650) desperate to fend off Brandon Robinson (No. 44 Mission Roof Systems Indian FTR750) in search of a first career premier-class podium in what was his ‘24 debut after suffering an injury shortly before the season opener.

However, that Cinderella story was swapped out for another when the fight for fourth, featuring Mees and Dalton Gauthier (No. 79 Moto Anatomy X Powered by Royal Enfield 650), converged with the scrap over third as the contest neared its conclusion.

Gauthier, in just his first race on the Royal Enfield in substitute duty, pulled off a final-corner overtake to steal away third and grab what was instead his first career premier-class podium by an impossibly slim 0.002 seconds. Ross held on for fourth, while Mees pushed Robinson down to sixth by a similarly tight 0.045 seconds at the checkered flag.

Positions seventh through ten went to Brandon Price (No. 92 Memphis Shades/Corbin/OTBR Yamaha MT-07), Jarod Vanderkooi (No. 20 JMC Motorsports/Fairway Ford Ohio Indian FTR750), Trevor Brunner (No. 21 Mission Foods/Zanotti Racing Indian FTR750), and Davis Fisher (No. 67 Rackley Racing/Bob Lanphere’s BMC Racing Indian FTR750) in that order.

Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER

Reigning Parts Unlimited AFT Singles presented by KICKER champion Kody Kopp (No. 1 Rick Ware Racing/Parts Plus KTM 450 SX-F) etched himself yet another prominent position in the history books.

Already with a strong claim as most decorated rider the category has ever seen, Kopp furthered his argument by equaling Shayna Texter-Bauman (No. 52 Rick Ware Racing/Parts Plus KTM 450 SX-F) for most career Parts Unlimited AFT Singles wins by scoring his 19th triumph in just his 58th attempt.

While Kopp has authored his fair share of runaway wins, #19 ranked among the most lopsided. The Rick Ware Racing star shook free of an early four-rider melee and promptly checked out. Despite cruising to the checkered flag, the Washington native still hit the stripe with more than three-and-a-half seconds in his favor.

Kopp said, “I feel like I’m really focused on this sport in general. I want to keep checking off goals and climbing up the list. Huge shout out to my Rick Ware Racing team. This one is huge for sure. And with four weekends in a row racing, it’s good to start it off with a win. We want to keep working towards that end goal of a championship.”

Second-ranked Chase Saathoff (No. 88 JPG Motorsports Honda CRF450R) and third-ranked Tom Drane (No. 59 Estenson Racing Yamaha YZ450F) finished in their championship standing order at the conclusion of a relatively processional affair despite some early fireworks.

Trent Lowe (No. 48 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R) extended that championship mirror to fourth after tracking down New Yorker Justin Jones (No. 91 J&H Racing Husqvarna FC 450).

Even with that disappointment, Jones played a starring role throughout the day and actually looked like the rider beat after winning his heat and the Al Lamb’s Dallas Honda Challenge with style.

Jones led the opening two laps and didn’t go away easily after being dispatched by Kopp, countering momentarily and then tussling with the title fighters for the opening half of the race. While Jones wouldn’t earn a second-career win nearly a decade after taking his first, he did give the home state fans plenty to cheer about en route to a top-five result.

Behind, Travis Petton IV (No. 82 ECG Racing/A.M Ortega KTM 450 SX-F) came home sixth with Hunter Bauer (No. 24 Vinson Construction/American Harley-Davidson Yamaha YZ450F), Jared Lowe (No. 63 BigR/Little Debbie Racing Honda CRF450R), Tarren Santero (No. 75 Vinson Construction/P&M Motorcycles Honda CRF450R), and Evan Renshaw (No. 265 American Honda/Mission Foods CRF450R) completing the top ten.

Kopp continues his march towards an unprecedented third Parts Unlimited AFT Singles title. He now leads by 26 points – more than a full race haul – over second-ranked Saathoff (158-132). Drane is third at 126, followed by Lowe with 108.

Next Up:

Progressive American Flat Track will be right back in action next weekend with the Bridgeport Half-Mile at Bridgeport Speedway in Swedesboro, New Jersey, on Saturday, June 22. Visit https://www.tixr.com/groups/americanflattrack/events/bridgeport-half-mile-86133 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 Orange County Half-Mile, featuring in-depth features and thrilling onboard cameras, will premiere on FS1 on Sunday, June 23, at 12:00 p.m. ET (9:00 a.m. PT).

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

About Progressive American Flat Track: 

Progressive American Flat Track, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing, is the world’s premier dirt track motorcycle racing series and one of the longest-running championships in the history of motorsports. Sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing in Daytona Beach, Fla., the series is highly regarded as the most competitive form of dirt track motorcycle racing on the globe. For more information on Progressive American Flat Track, please visit us on the web, like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, check us out on Instagram and catch all the Progressive American Flat Track racing action on FOX Sports. 

Source: Progressive American Flat Track

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