Surging GEICO Honda team roars into Daytona
A GEICO Honda Monster Energy AMA Supercross Lites rider has reached the podium in six straight races and both Barcia and Wharton plan on extending that run to seven at this Saturday’s stop at Daytona International Speedway.
“After the race in Atlanta, I felt awesome,” Barcia said. “Coming off the win (in Houston), I knew I could make the podium in Atlanta. My bike is so good this year. I go out there and know I can be on the podium every time I take the gate.”
Barcia has opened the Lites East season with a win and a second-place finish, while Lites West rider Eli Tomac has accounted for the other four podium finishes credited to the well respected team.
“Going into Daytona it’s going to be a little bit rougher than a normal track,” Barcia said. “I’m going to enjoy it a lot.”
Wharton has been on a bit of a roller-coaster in the early going of the Lites West season. He’s had finishes of sixth and fourth place, respectively, but the young Texan has visions of what could have been if he hadn’t suffered crashes in each of those races.
“Right now I don’t have a lot of pressure,” Wharton said. “I’m fifth in points, but it’s all still pretty close. Last week I feel like I could have won if I didn’t make one mistake that caused me to fall down. It happens, so now I’m just hoping my mistake rounds are out of the way.”
Wharton said he’s ready for the challenge of Daytona during Bike Week, both on and off the track.
“It’s a cool atmosphere because there is so much going on and people everywhere,” Wharton said. “It’s even hard to just go eat in a restaurant there are so many people there.
“The track itself is kind of different as it is. Its shape is different because it’s in the infield of the NASCAR track. It gets technical and can be brutal. I need to race smart.”
Kevin Windham, GEICO Honda’s legendary Supercross rider, finished eighth last week, which was a major step forward from the previous two races where he encountered crashes and mechanical issues.
“Looking towards Daytona, I’m going to continue to ride strong,” Windham said. “And maybe just make some minor bike changes. I need to stay off the ground and get my body back to 100-percent health.”
Practice and qualifying for Monster Energy AMA Supercross at Daytona International Speedway begins at 12:30 p.m. EST Saturday. Opening ceremonies start at 7 p.m. with SPEED picking up coverage of the event starting at 8 p.m. EST.