Kolby Carlile – Daytona TT 2017 Race Report
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Daytona TT 2017 Race Report
Points position: 3rd
This off season was too fast, nerve filled, and busier then ever. My goal was to put together a professional program that looked, prepared, and performed good enough to win the 2017 American Flat Track championship. I now know that is what I have done.
Going into Daytona you really don’t know what to expect, but I did. I knew that with all the work I put in I deserved to be running in the front. I was very meticulous to make sure everything was prepared perfect including what I took into my body so that i was ready for race day as well. With a few overnight shipments and quick installs by my team my new 2017 Honda was ready to go. When I got to the track and in my garage we rolled the bike out of the truck and did not touch it from the start of the day to the end. My new bike was absolutely perfect. I went out in free practice one and felt fast immediately making no mistakes, and hitting my marks ending up with a 2nd in that session. In qualifying one I went out feeling even better and threw down the fastest lap of the session on lap one! Then I crashed on lap two slightly losing the front through the chicane section. Not a huge deal just gave myself one hell of a charley horse. At this point I had high expectations for the day.
This year there is a new racing format where it goes from heat races to semiqualifiers to the final. This format makes zero room for error if you want to be running in the final let alone up front. I talk to myself in my helmet before the race to let myself know this, and this is my year to make it happen. In my heat race I took the lead on lap two and never looked back checking out in that race. Believe it or not that was my first heat race win of my career. I went on to my semi final race with a bit more competition with the way the bracket system works it tightens up the field. I was running in fourth place until the red flag flew, I adjusted my clutch a little bit while I was waiting because I was having a bit of trouble getting good starts. On the restart my adjustment was spot on, and I launched into the first turn now running in second place. I ended up in third in the semi and front row bound for the main event.
Typically I have a lot of nerves going into such a big race, but I have a bit of confidence this year knowing that I belong up front. I got an okay start to the main and was running in fifth. A rider went down ahead of me which sent me wide, and back to sixth place. Now everything was settled and I started to pick up the pace, and I was picking kids off quickly. I got up to fourth from pretty far back and wanted that podium badly. I made a pretty easy pass on third, and was catching second even quicker. I made the pass for 2nd with four laps to go. I was right on the leaders tail and I saw the win right ahead of me, but was struggling to find a spot to make that last pass. With two laps to go I hit a hole into the final corner sending me wide and letting third go by me.
Running in third I was trying to make the pass back to second and possibly the lead, but nothing came up where I was able too. Finishing third at the inaugural Daytona TT is something for the memory books. Being able to stand in the world famous Victory circle in Daytona is amazing. This was the start to the year I needed and knew that I deserved after putting in all the right work during the off season. I cannot thank all of you enough for supporting me for another year. I will be there at the end of the season when the number one plate is being handed out. The hard work continues now that I am back in Orlando and preparing for Woodstock speedway this coming weekend.