DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Eighteen-year-old Sean Dylan Kelly earned the pole for the Daytona 200 motorcycle race on Friday at Daytona Int’l Speedway.
Dylan Kelly’s fast lap of 116.037 mph around the Daytona Int’l Speedway road course earned him a visit to Daytona’s victory lane, where he received a one-of-a-kind Arai helmet for his efforts.
When the 69-rider field launches off pit road at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, tradition will be renewed on the 3.51-mile DIS road course for the 57-lap/200-mile event that will wrap up the 80th Annual Bike Week At Daytona.
Leading the front row will be Dylan Kelly, followed by the second-fastest qualifier and 2019 Daytona 200 Champion Kyle Wyman on a Yamaha (115.621 mph). The third-fastest was rider Michael Barnes on a Yamaha (114.697 mph) with fourth-place qualifier Tyler O’Hara on a Kawasaki (114.520 mph).
Sanctioned by the American Sportbike Racing Ass’n, the Daytona 200 is an integral part of Daytona Beach’s rich racing history, dating to 1937 when it was held on the Daytona Beach road course that utilized both the Atlantic Ocean shoreline and State Road A1A. It quickly became a companion to the course’s stock-car races that were first held in 1936. The Daytona 200 moved from the beach-road course to the speedway in 1961, the facility’s third year of existence.
Dylan Kelly unseated defending champion Wyman in the final of three Friday qualifying sessions. At 16, Dylan Kelly took the pole for the 2019 Daytona 200 in his first attempt, and then backed it up again this year. The Daytona 200 wasn’t held in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.
“We did a great job today,” said Dylan Kelly. “This makes it two times I have been here for the DAYTONA 200 and we have two poles. The important thing, however, is tomorrow with the race. We have really been focusing on our race pace. I am happy with the work we did and am super thankful for this position.
“We all want that Rolex (Cosmograph for Daytona 200 champion). We had second place in 2019, and it definitely left something inside of us to come back and win. We are here to work, and here to win.”
Four-time Daytona 200 winner Danny Eslick will start seventh in the field. The Tulsa, Okla., rider qualified on a Suzuki and is attempting to become the third five-time Daytona 200 champion. Scott Russell and Miguel Duhamel share the all-time record for Daytona 200 victories.