Daytona First Event of 2010
Written by Cowboy6 Wednesday, 17 March 2010 00:00
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Daytona: First for CSBR Mid-Atlantic!
FEB 23-28 2010 Daytona Motor Speedway – Daytona Beach, FL

This was an insane event on so many levels. Of course, the story starts with the 19+ hour port to port trip to Art Lohman’s house. We left our place in Northeast PA at around 1430 in order to make the 4 hour trip and link up with John Dodson in Maryland. There, we transferred what we would need (minus a few things we forgot) to John’s trailer. After about an hour and a half of work in the dark and rain, we were ready to start our 14 hour joint leg of the trip.

Once we arrived in Florida on Tuesday, we had some time to decompress. Wednesday AM found us headed to Ormond in the Pines Assisted Living. There Art presented a Gospel message to a nice sized group of folks. We were able to share a little about who we were and how God is working in our lives. This was one of the best parts of the trip for me because it is what I like to do. Having that time to meet with others and focus on the Lord and His message of salvation is re-vitalizing!

Here is a photo of Flo with Joe.

Jasmine Lohman, John and Joe

Friday found me waiting in line for almost two hours to complete registration and check-in. That was not fun at all. Afterward, John, Cecilia and I went for a little ride for some Pizza at a “beachy” (per Cecilia) little place near the ocean. Then we took some obligatory photos of ourselves at the beach.

Saturday morning was very brisk and overcast. We made it to the track, picked up John and Cecilia’s credentials (with no wait at all!) and entered the racetrack for the first time. We thought we were going to be in the garage with DSB so we had not staked out a decent pit spot. We were informed upon entering the track that it was not going to happen. So the hunt for a place to pit began. The only place we could find had no power so we were lucky that John had brought a small generator. As we unpacked, we decided to set the bikes up inside the trailer to protect them from the chilling wind (cooling down the tires) and the rain. Unfortunately, we found that the generator would only run for about a half hour under full load due to its tiny fuel tank. We were a bit frantic as we had thought the tires had been warming for the last hour. But as luck would have it, the rain started. It didn’t matter now anyway as the water forced me to switch to rain tires. But, because it waited so long to start raining, I missed the first of my only two practice sessions switching wheels. Buy the time the second session came around, it had stopped raining, the track had dried and there was no time to switch the tires back and get them heated. So, I went off to the Evry pit to borrow Mark’s SV so that I could at least ride the track for the first time without being under race conditions. As usual the Evrys were glad to help out and I did my first laps of Daytona. John having no such problems as he was on DOT grooved tires all along went out as well.

After practice, Eric Helmbach asked if I was running the team challenge after lunch. I said no and he asked if we could pit for his team. Seeing this as a great opportunity to help a fellow racer, I made sure John was good with it and told him that with Cecilia (not working on staff this weekend) we would have three on his wall. Even with zero rehearsal time, we executed the pit and refuel procedures for his two riders flawlessly and the fastest of any team there! The dump cans he was using were unreal and made us look good! At any rate, Eric won the GTL by a mile and Alex finished 3rd in GTO!

Eric and Alex on the podium.

Now it was time for me to run the standard GTL and thankfully, the track was still plenty wet and I could use my rains. This meant that the worries of the generator would not come into play, and I like the rain! John decided against running the GTL as he only had DOT tires and didn’t want to risk crashing. It was nasty cold anyway! I put on some latex gloves under my leather ones, stuffed a giant trash bag over my chest to block the wind and got ready to go. Starting from the second row, I did manage to put a great start and end up 2nd through T1. I remained there until I came back to T1 off the front straight. This was my first time through this area at speed in the wet. There was a fairly wide tar snake and a section of different material that had to be crossed to come off the main track. I quickly found that these two parts are not compatible with braking! Upon contact with this area, my front wheel promptly locked up and the bike shuddered. I had to let go of the brake lever and by the time the bike settled down, I was out of braking room. So, off the track I went. Luckily it was all asphalt (full of deep puddles) and I got turned around and headed back on track. The third place guy on a Bimota got by me through all this though. But, by the time we hit the next turn I was on him and I went under him in the International Horseshoe as if he had flat tires! Every lap of this race then proceeded to allow one rider by me. I dropped almost one place per lap until the race was over and I had finished 4th. It was a bit demoralizing being wide open on the banking and having some bike with twice the engine displacement come motoring by.

Saturday was over and we packed up some gear, bummed a ride for my bike from the Evry clan and headed back to Art Lohman’s house. I had some serious cleaning to do on the bike as well as changing the tires over for the dry day that was to come Sunday. That evening, we went to Houligan’s for a small bit of a celebration. Here I was shocked to put a face with a known and found that I was eating dinner with none other than Keith Shearon! I had thought of Keith was an email address but found out that I knew his face for a long time from my visits to the tower but never knew it was his!

Chasing Mark Evry in the rain.

Sunday started out chilly as expected but the sun was out and the clouds were gone. No wheel changes for me today! Jon Hatcher brought me the radiator guard he had promised from the DSB bike and my radiator was now protected from the nasty, bullet like gravel that would pelt the bike during my races that day. In addition, DSB Racing graciously allowed us to use their garage since they were not entered in any more races. This was a blessing as it provided some cover but more importantly, solid, stable and ample electrical power for the tire warmers! At the riders meeting, I spied Ben Bostrom in attendance. I had Cecilia take a photo of us together. I am not much of a personality hound but Ben had autographed a helmet of mine (via my lovely wife) while I was in Iraq. Now I had a photo to go with it. He seems like a really nice guy as well. He was obviously not too self important as to skip the “lowly” CCS riders meeting. Hats off to you Ben!

Posing with Ben Bostrom.

Now it was time for the only race I had a shot at winning, Ultra-Light Superbike. I was gridded on the front row to boot. I knew I had to pull the holeshot here and in my rush, I lofted the front wheel VERY high. Once I managed to get it back down, the bike took off and I did indeed come out of T1 in the lead. As I entered the International Horseshoe, I braked too early (I was having trouble here in practice) trying not to overshoot my entry and Eric Helmbach came by on the inside. This was the start of a six lap cat and mouse. We checked out on the rest of the field and the fans and announcers went crazy as we traded the lead over and over. In the end, I took the checkered with Eric right on my tail and third place was over 14 seconds back! This had to be the most exciting race I have ever had. I had battles like this before but not for the win and not with the next closest bike so far behind. It was like Rossi and Lorenzo at Catalunya last year. It was pure excitement and awesome to take part in. In my interview afterward, I mentioned that it was really nice to be able to battle with someone you could trust not to take you out. My hat is off again to Eric for a great race. Negotiating a dangerous track with someone you trust just inches from you is indeed a unique and awesome experience. But, it is very similar yet far surpassed by the feeling we get while negotiating our lives with Christ right at our side. Hmm, I think I feel a sermon coming on….

It was very close at times.

Making a pass on Eric.

John had entered Ultra-Light Superbike as his only event for the weekend. Unfortunately, he came down with some severe neck pain from a dislodged disc and was not even close to his performance level. I gave him a pep talk (that he may not have needed) and told him that he just needed to finish so he could get his points that were doubled for the weekend. He did just that. Even with the pain so bad that he couldn’t get behind the windscreen, John hung in there and finished the race. Kudos to you John, way to persevere!

John riding out the pain…

The Lightweight Superbike event was my next and my last race for the weekend. While I finished 8th, I was the first bike under 1000cc over the finish. There was just no way my 75 hp SV650, could run with 1100cc bikes making well over 100 hp. As I told the crew, I don’t know what the rest of those bikes were doing out there, but I won the actual Lightweight race!

Giving her all she’s got!

The bike ran very well. I was happy with its performance considering it was the first time out on this new engine and the first time it had moved (or I had ridden!) since September of last year. I was trying out some new Pit Bull sprockets and they were awesome. My new Woodcraft tire warmers did an outstanding job in the cold windy weather as well. The side skirts on these really helped to keep the wind off my rims. The Zero Gravity windscreen was worth its weight in gold on the high speed banking. I would have been beaten to death by the wind with my old one. My Bridgestone tires did great even though the cold temps found the tires coming off the track cooler then when they left!

Another cool thing about this weekend was the rare and in fact first time we had so many CSBRacing members at the same track. Our President Mike Pruitt had not left for Missouri yet, Art, Cecilia, John and myself were all there at the same time. This had never happened before and may never happen again.

John made a good weekend of roaming the pits and conversing with everyone. This was a weekend to renew old relationships as well as meet some new people that do not travel to the Mid-Atlantic events we normally cover. I was able to do the same for a bit but John did better than I this weekend. We did happen to miss Ray Rizzo’s chapel service because we couldn’t find it! We were running a little late but did make it to the room where chapel is normally held but no one was there. We asked around but no one seemed to know where it was. I am sure Ray did a great job though.

In all, it was a good week. We were able to spend some time with friends, share the Gospel with some wonderful ladies and we had the opportunity to serve our fellows as crew during the Team Challenge. We can’t ask for more than sharing the Gospel and serving others. Of course that little WIN didn’t hurt matters…

Mike Priutt, Art Lohman, John Dodson, and Joe with Jon and Joe from DSB.

Cecilia with Mike, Art, John and some DSB guys.

A special thanks to Kathy Lomaskin ( ) for the photography.

We are heading to Carolina Motorsports Park (CMP) for the weekend of 10-11 APR.

Keep us in your prayers.

……………..Joe ”Cowboy 6” Cotterino
Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 February 2012 00:08