It was still a hot July day in Barberville, Florida, but the track conditions were much better for Saturday’s Volusia Half-Mile II. In addition to better track conditions, the team was able to build on what they learned on Friday to get some better results. Rush came out swinging with a win in the first AFT Singles Semi, and Daniels got back on track with a third-place finish in the second Semi after missing out on the final transfer spot the day before.
In the Main Event, Rush grabbed the holeshot with his young teammate getting a good start as well in third. The Estenson Racing riders had a fight on their hands though, with an eight-rider battle in the lead pack. Both Rush and Daniels had a turn up front, but there were multiple lead changes and a lot of shuffling in the pack throughout the eight-minute-plus-two-lap Main.
In the closing laps, the 17-year-old was in the lead with his veteran teammate behind him when a downed rider brought out the red flag, making for a two-lap sprint after the restart. When racing resumed it came down to the wire with a three-way fight to the finish line, but Daniels was able to hold them off to take his second-career AFT Singles win by .02 of a second. After a disappointing first round, the win was a big boost to the Illinois rider’s championship fight, moving him to sixth in the standings and 11 points adrift of the leader.
His veteran teammate joined him on the podium in third, crossing the line .101 behind Daniels. Although Rush was hoping for a 1-2 finish, it was a good weekend for the Californian who leaves the season opener third in the championship, trailing by four points.
Beach was feeling good on his Yamaha MT-O7 DT and got his night off to a good start with a second-place finish in the Semi. That gave him the third pick and a front row spot on the grid for the Main Event which he took full advantage of and grabbed the holeshot. Unfortunately, a gamble on tire choice proved not to be ideal and he was quickly shuffled back to fifth. Without enough grip, he lost a few more positions in those early laps, but was holding steady in ninth and running consistently faster laps than in Friday’s Main. With two laps to go, Beach had a technical issue but was able to secure a 10th-place finish.
Carlile also was more comfortable on day two at Volusia Speedway Park. He and the team continued to make progress on finding the right setup. The 23-year-old qualified 15th with an eighth-place finish in the Semi and was able to advance to 14th before the half-way mark and maintain that position to the checkered flag.