TOBC Racing’s Brandon Paasch executed his DAYTONA 200 plan to perfection on March 12, loitering around at the back of a four-rider pack until the time was right to pull the trigger on his Triumph Speed Triple RS.
As it turns out, the 20-year-old had just the right amount of ammo at his disposal. He exited the Le Mans chicane in fourth place, went down low on the banking and started making moves until delivering the final dagger with a double-draft pass on Cameron Petersen and Sheridan Morais at the finish to win his second successive DAYTONA 200 — this one by just 0.007 of a second.
Paasch had spent his afternoon at Daytona International Speedway lurking at the back of the lead group — no matter how many riders it consisted of. But when it came down to his final pit stop, the only way he was going to be in a position to battle for victory was to take on just fuel and not tires.
The New Jerseyan got in and out of the pits quickly and found himself just behind the duo of SYNTAINICS Racing’s Morais and Squid Hunter’s Josh Hayes, the pair smartly squabbling over second and all the while pulling themselves to the back of Petersen, the South African alone and helpless as he watched his four-second lead evaporate all too quickly. Suddenly, it was a four-rider race to the finish and the man at the back was the man at the front when he needed to be: at the finish.
Paasch beat Attack Performance Yamaha’s Petersen by the 0.007 margin with Morais third, another 0.057 behind, with Hayes fourth and 0.126 of a second from victory.
Fifth place went to Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante, some 46 seconds behind Paasch but well clear of four-time Daytona 200 winner Danny Eslick on the second TOBC Racing Triumph.
TSE Racing’s Harry Truelove, who races in the British Superbike Series, was just a tick behind Eslick at the finish and some eight seconds ahead of Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Geoff May. Disrupt Racing’s Hayden Gillim and Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati NYC’s Josh Herrin rounded out the top 10.
Pole-sitter Herrin was in the lead group when he ran out of fuel on his way to the first pit stop, coasting to pit lane and losing gobs of time in the process; and 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion Jake Gagne, who qualified third-fastest, lasted only a few laps in the 200 before pulling out due to back pain from his crash in the morning warm-up session.
Paasch averaged 113.162 mph in winning the race, and he also set the fastest lap of the race, a 1:49.959, en route to snagging his second Rolex watch.
Paasch, who gave Yamaha its 27th victory in the 2021 Daytona 200, brought Triumph its fourth victory in the 200 and the first since Eslick won on a TOBC Triumph in 2014.
The race was red-flagged on the seventh lap when Jose Lloreda crashed exiting the chicane, leaving debris on the racetrack.