Brandon Paasch Wins Daytona 200

Brandon Paasch won the 79th running of the Daytona 200. Photo by Brian J. Nelson.

The following is from luxeStar VIP…

Brandon Paasch wrapped up his unfinished business from 2019 by winning the 2021 79th Daytona 200 in dramatic fashion. Despite a red flag caused by one of the leaders after 18 laps, Paasch was comfortably running with the front group from the green flag. After the restart, a small issue during the last pit stop caused him to drop back over six seconds behind the leaders. Not to be denied a chance for the win, Paasch put his head down and ran down the frontrunners with a string of 1:49-minute laps. With four laps to go, it was only Paasch and Sean Dylan Kelly running nose to tail in the lead. Both riders had to fight through traffic, lapping up to sixth place by the end of the race. In the final run around the famous Daytona International Speedway banking, Paasch fired out of the infield section to close up the small gap to Kelly. Cutting the fastest lap of the 200-mile race on his final lap, Paasch was able to draft Kelly by timing his pass perfectly for the win by just 0.031 seconds. As winner of the 79th Daytona 200, Paasch takes home a Rolex Daytona Chronograph watch and $25,000 in prize money.

“That was an amazing race! I still can’t believe I actually got to raise one of the most iconic trophies in motorcycle road racing over my head. It’s been a big dream of mine to win the Daytona 200, ever since I was a little kid. This race meant a lot to me, and it’s a great way to start my season.  

“I had a decent start, and every few laps, I’d run to the front and lead across the line to get a feel for the group. At the end of the race with Sean, it was like our 2020 season all over again. He’s a really fast guy, and I know he’d push it to the end. But I was so comfortable in the race. I knew I could be there for the win. Even when I was a bit behind after the final pit stop, I just focused and pushed hard to catch up to him for the end of the race. I kept my breathing controlled and saved my energy for the last lap. At that point, we were both on tires that were sliding around, but I had that draft pass planned from when I raced the 200 in 2019. I knew I had Sean at the line, but when I saw the finish photo, it was still pretty close.  

“Everyone knows now that I was racing with a bit of a sore ankle from a training accident, but TSE Racing had the bike well set up for the race. I had a lot of trust in the whole team, and I felt comfortable on the bike right away.  The Pirelli’s performed great, too, as they gave me solid feedback that allowed me to run faster in the race than I did in qualifying. My training the past few months paid off, too, helping me stay focused for the whole race. All in all, I’m really happy with how it all went down.  

“I’m most happy that I can donate half of my winnings to the Bayley family, and that Chronic Motorsports will match that money. It was special to have the Bayleys there to watch the race. I’m sure Lloyd was watching over all of us, and that run to the finish line would have made him proud.  

“I couldn’t have done this without a ton of support – a big thanks to all of the crew at TSE Racing. I feel like I was finally able to deliver the big Daytona 200 win to them, and it’s great to be a part of something that really feels like family. Thanks again to Pirelli, those tires were a big part of the race for me. And a ton of thanks to all my sponsors for helping me be at Daytona this year – Classic Car Club of Manhattan, Evolve GT, Trackside Parts Club, Electronic Concepts, Fresh N’ Lean, Pirelli, Arai, Spidi, Moto Garage, and Pop Shadow Decals for the numbers with Lloyd’s race number highlights. Thanks to Paul at Big Bird Training for getting my ankle ready to race, and thanks to Scott at luxeStar VIP for all the support this winter.  

“I’m excited now to get over to the UK for the Bennetts British Superbikes Quattro Group Supersport series. I have my first test with the PTR Dynavolt Triumph 765 in late April, so I’ll get a little time to rest up and pack my stuff. I’m really stoked to be back racing in the UK, as I know I had a lot of fans from overseas watching me at Daytona. It will be good to be back to race in front of them. To all my fans everywhere, stay tuned for some updates and announcements, and be sure to check out my social media and YouTube for some inside looks at Daytona and my 2021 season.”  (Brandon Paasch)  

The 2021 79th Daytona 200 ran 200 miles in 57 laps at just over 2 hours, with the fastest lap of 1:49.752 set by Brandon Paasch on lap 57.  The margin of victory was 0.031 seconds.