2023 Daytona 200/Twins Cup at Daytona
I’m apologizing now. This race report is very long, if you don’t want to read the whole thing you can skip to the bottom and see what the final results were, but we were at THE Daytona International Speedway! Blake had a Twins Cup Championship title to defend and competed in his first Daytona 200; there’s a lot to tell!
TWINS CUP RECAP
It was great getting to the track and having the N2/BobbleHeadMoto team together again for the Twins Cup season opener. Blake went out in Qualifying 1 and began having some motorcycle issues, but at the very end of the session, he risked it, and pushed for a fast lap, setting a track record of 1:55.
In Qualifying 2, while setting up for a fast lap, he had a high side, launching himself high in the air coming out of the first horseshoe. Thankfully, his Dainese leathers kept him safe, but his session was over. His record breaking lap from Q1 was fast enough to put him on pole for the race. The team felt it was important to have the motorcycle in good racing condition, so they skipped parc-fermé (post tech), which officially disqualified Blake’s Q2 times, and began working on motorcycle repairs.
The N2/BobblHeadMoto Yamaha R7 was ready for Race 1. Pretty soon off the start, Blake and Gus Rodio broke away from everyone. Then, those pesky motorcycle “issues'' started giving Blake trouble again and he wasn’t able to maintain race pace. He finished fourth. In Race 2, he again felt good on his motorcycle and was running up front when the race was red-flagged. On the restart, his motorcycle started losing power and cutting out which caused him to drop pace and he finished fourth again.
DAYTONA 200 RECAP
Then, there was the Daytona 200. Since turning 16 in July, it was a big question if Blake would be racing it. Anyone who asked Blake directly, would just receive a big ol’ smile in return. He certainly hoped he could, but he knows all opportunities are a gift and not guaranteed.
Blake was very fortunate to have some friends and industry leaders reach out to help us get him there! Some volunteered their time and skills while others bought, built, and delivered parts. Many people helped us sort out the details to get Blake to the Daytona 200 and so the Biothermal/Blake Davis Racing Team came to be.
We had great people come on board to be his pit crew, as well. I want to give them a shout out, they gave us their time and lots of energy to get through the weekend. Edwin Cosme and Kevin Boda were extra special, helping to get things ready and keeping everyone in line during the race. Our pit stops were awesome thanks to Emerson Amaya who was with Mike on the rear tire, Steve Roth and Shiloh Salopek were on the front tire, while Abby and Ross (Blake’s sister and brother) were on fire extinguisher and fuel. Ashley Knight and Del Edlefsen worked on the motorcycle track side since Mike had responsibilities as a mechanic on the N2/BobbleHeadMoto Racing team. Lastly, Dave Stauffer and Aaron Stevenson manned the pitboard. They all played a huge part in making it a great weekend and a successful race.
The Daytona 200 had 44 race entries, so MotoAmerica broke them into two groups for qualifying. Blake was in group A and finished 11th in Qualifying 1 and 13th in Qualifying 2, when both groups and sessions were combined, he was 16th.
Starting from row 5 was not where Blake wanted to be, but he was determined. There was 45 minutes of pomp and circumstance on the grid, which surely built anticipation or anxiety (for me anyway). However, Blake kept his cool as usual. Then, it was go time, the grid was cleared of all the extra people, the lights went out and the race was on.
Blake felt good off the start, but by the second lap of the race, things got crazy. A racer directly in front of Blake started leaking, getting oil all over Blake’s Yamaha and KYT helmet. He soon found himself plowing through the hay bales and making a u-turn to get back on track. Blake still can’t explain how he managed to keep it on two wheels, but was glad he did. When he made it back on track, he was in 44th place! However, Blake did not let that get him down; for the remainder of the race he maintained a steady pace, and slowly climbed his way back up a few positions at a time.
On lap 19, Blake entered pit lane over the speed limit for his first planned pit stop. The pit stop went smoothly, but he did receive a 15 second penalty. The second pit stop went even better, the team gave him fuel and fresh Dunlop tires and got him back on track quickly. That helped Blake in his effort to make up for his mishap– as you know, every second matters. Blake eventually made it to 9th place, gaining 35 positions over the course of the race!
On lap 52 of 57, a red flag came out. MotoAmerica’s rules required a restart to finish the race, but it could not be less than 10 laps. This made for an extended Daytona 200, totaling 62 laps.
With 3 laps to go in the shootout, Blake was up front, battling with the likes of Josh Hayes, Cam Petersen, Danny Eslick, and Josh Herrin. He put down the fastest lap time in the 10 lap shootout of 1:49:635 and at one point he made it up to second place; it was so exciting. On the final lap, there was a pack of eight motorcycles coming onto the front straight towards the finish line, everyone was drafting and shuffling positions, our team was cheering and going nuts. Ultimately, Blake crossed the finish line in 6th place; what a thrill! Who would have thought a 16 year old, in the Daytona 200, would actually be battling amongst Superbike champions?
While I was at parc-fermé with Blake, someone came up and told him that, after his 15 second penalty was assessed, his official finish position was 11th. Blake said, “I don’t care where I finished, I’m just happy I got to battle with those guys.” We could not have asked for a better finish to the weekend!
Blake left Daytona with two 4th place finishes in the Twins Cup putting him 3rd in points behind Gus Rodio and Jackson Blackmon. Then, he crossed the Daytona 200 finish line in 6th! I know, I know, it was officially 11th because of his speeding penalty, but to this momma, I’ll never forget that last lap!
Our next race will be at Road Atlanta with MotoAmerica April 21-23, 2023. Also, we have new merch for sale on our Shop page!