Pictured is last year's running of the Daytona 200. (Daytona Int'l Speedway photo)

Defending Champion Brandon Paasch Leads Field To Daytona 200

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Defending champion Brandon Paasch leads a stellar field of 50 riders into the 80th running of the Daytona 200 hosted by MotoAmerica Saturday afternoon at Daytona Int’l Speedway.

Paasch, a native of Freehold, N.J., executed a perfect, calculated slingshot move at the entrance of the trioval on his way to claim the checkered flag a year ago. He will look to become the first rider since Danny Eslick to claim back-to-back Daytona 200 triumphs.

Eslick, from Tulsa, Okla., has four victories at Daytona, which occurred in the 2014-15 and 2017-18 seasons.

On Saturday, Paasch will vie for victory against two other former winners.

The Daytona 200 features racing on both the high banks of Daytona Int’l Speedway’s 2.5-mile superspeedway and the infield road course.

In addition to the running of the Daytona 200, the weekend includes the opening round of the MotoAmerica King Of The Baggers Championship.

This weekend will mark the first time baggers will race on the high banks of a superspeedway with speeds expected to exceed 160 mph. It will also highlight the first round of the Twins Cup Championship, plus there will be a Super Hooligans race.

There are 140 riders and bikes entered into the races. In addition to the 50 entries for the Daytona 200, 46 will take to the 3.56-mile trioval road course that is also used for the Rolex 24. There are 19 riders scheduled for the Mission King Of The Baggers and 25 going for the checkered in the Super Hooligans.

Seven of the competitors are from the state of Florida — four of which who are set to be in the Daytona 500 — while 20 riders hail from outside of the United States. Local rider James Rispolli out of Deland, Fla., will be racing in the Mission King Of The Baggers. 

New regulations sourcing from the proposed 2022 World Supersport Technical rules will be incorporated into the Daytona 200 and will take into consideration several performance-related items that establish benchmarks for balancing a wide variety of middleweight performance machines. 

However, the Daytona 200 will not be included as part of the MotoAmerica Supersport Championship, leaving the opportunity open for the best riders from around the world to compete for the minimum $175,000 in purse and contingency that will be offered.