Video: How GEICO Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas Stretched His Points Lead At New Jersey Motorsports Park


GEICO Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas won his seventh AMA Pro Daytona SportBike race of the year and stretched his points lead at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Lucky Win No. 7 For Points Leader Cardenas in New Jersey

MILLVILLE, N.J. (Sept. 9) — GEICO Suzuki rider Martin Cardenas rode to his seventh victory of the 2012 season Sunday with a dramatic last-lap pass around two riders that extended his sizable lead in the GoPro Daytona SportBike category to 76 points with just four races left on the schedule.

The second race of the American Red Cross Devil’s Shwodown certainly got more interesting as time wound down. Cardenas, who was second in Saturday’s race, had been out front from the start and seemed to be in total control, but with half a dozen laps left he caught up to some lapped traffic and got shuffled back to third when Dane Westby and Bobby Fong found a quicker line through the jam.

Cardenas tucked in behind the duo and rode there for a few laps before expertly riding the draft down the front straightaway as the trio took the white flag. He took the lead back going into Turn 1 and held on from there to post his first victory since early June.

“The last few races have been tough because we haven’t been on the top step of the box,” Cardenas said. “We’ve had good finishes and been right there, but the win was alluding us. To come here today and get it done is very satisfying. The guys on the GEICO Suzuki team have worked very hard and deserve this celebration.”

Just as it looked to the spectators, Cardenas felt he was cruising away to a win for most of the race until reeling in the back stoppers.

“I got a great holeshot from the No. 1 starting position and was just riding away,” Cardenas said. “Lap 17 I caught up to some riders. It’s a bit of luck involved as to when you actually get on their rear wheel and this time I got pushed a little out of my line. Westby and Fong got by but I wasn’t too concerned because we had time left. I waited for my best chance and made a move. It worked.

“It’s getting down towards the end and we have a big lead in the points. Probably the only way to lose is for us to make a big mistake so you have to be careful. At the same time we wanted to win so I took the lead when I could and just tried my best to make no mistakes on the final lap.

“We have a chance to wrap this thing up in Miami,” said Cardenas, the 2010 champion. “It will be very exciting.”

Up next is the Triumph Big Kahuna Miami, which runs Sept. 21-23 at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla.

Jersey Runner-Up Result Pads GEICO Rider Cardenas’ Points Lead

MILLVILLE, N.J. (Sept. 8) — Martin Cardenas came up a few inches short of tallying his seventh AMA GoPro Daytona SportBike victory of the season Saturday, but his runner-up finish to Cameron Beaubier in Saturday’s first race of the American Red Cross Devil’s Showdown still added six points to his championship points lead with five races remaining on the season.

Cardenas now has 10 podium finishes in 14 starts this year and unofficially leads second-place Dane Westby by 70 points heading into Sunday’s second race at New Jersey Motorsports Park. The 29-year-old Colombian gained four points with Saturday’s finish and collected two more bonus points for being low qualifier and leading the most laps (11 of 23). Westby came in third after starting in 13th place.

“It was a very good race for me,” Cardenas said. “I made two very good starts (the second after a red flag) and got out front each time and tried to fall into a nice rhythm. But these other guys made it very challenging. They were with me the whole time and there was lots of passing. Nothing out of line; just very clean, hard racing between one another.

“It was a great battle and at the end I tried to make a move to get around Cameron but I was just a little bit short. The GEICO Suzuki team did a great job, as usual, and we will try again tomorrow a little bit harder and see what happens.”

Beaubier passed Cardenas going into Turn 1 of the final lap and managed to hold off the GEICO Suzuki at every turn. In the final straightaway Cardenas used the draft to try and slingshot around Beaubier at the finish line but came up .023 seconds short.

The intense, back-and-forth racing among the front group of riders proved Cardenas isn’t taking it easy en route to what could be his second Daytona SportBike title, even though his sizable points lead adds up to more than two full races of action.

“I try not to think about that because it’s very distracting and I think it can cause you to make a mistake very easily,” Cardenas said. “I just ride my race and try to do the best I can. Of course, I try not to take big, big risks, but I still take risks and try to win every race. We are all here to win. Today I just didn’t have quite enough.”

The Daytona SportBike class will hold a warm-up session at 9:30 a.m. followed by the second main event, beginning at 2:15 p.m. SPEED TV will air Saturday’s race at 9 p.m. and Sunday’s race starting at 11 p.m.

Points Leader Cardenas Quickest in 1st New Jersey Qualifier

MILLVILLE, N.J. (Sept. 7) — GEICO Suzuki rider Martin Cardenas posted a near-record lap of 1:23.522 about midway through Friday afternoon’s opening round of GoPro Daytona SportBike qualifying at New Jersey Motorsports Park to lead Day 1 action at the AMA American Red Cross Devil’s Showdown.

When the number went on the board, Cardenas’ nearest competitor was more than a second behind, so the team elected to call him into the pits and try a different set-up. They then watched as several others took their best shots at the current points leader, but fortunately no one could match Cardenas’ blistering-quick time.

“The bike has been awesome from today’s first practice,” Cardenas said. “We made some changes for qualifying but not too much. I was able to make several good laps and one of them was quickest of the day. After that we decided to try and run with a full tank because we had a nice gap, but by the end a few others had come very close so we feel fortunate to stay on the provisional pole.”

Cardenas was followed closely by Tommy Hayden, who posted a 1:23.549, Cameron Beaubier (1:23.571) and Jason DiSalvo (1:23.604). The current track record is a 1:23.502 set by Tommy Aquino in 2010 during a race won by Cardenas.

“If you go back and look at the times from 2010, they are very similar to what we were running today,” said Cardenas, who competed in the Superbike category last year. “I’m not sure what was the problem last year but everyone was a second slower in the DSB class. Maybe it was the tires; I don’t know.

“Whatever it was is not an issue any more. Now we will hope for dry conditions again tomorrow and maybe we can go a little better.”

Cardenas entered the weekend 64 points ahead of Dane Westby.

Qualifying concludes with a second round slated to begin at 8:50 a.m. The field will then be set for both scheduled Daytona SportBike races, which begin at 2 p.m., Saturday, and 2:15 p.m., Sunday. SPEED TV will cover Saturday’s racing starting at 9 p.m. and Sunday’s starting at 11 p.m.