Daniels rolled into Charlotte riding a five-race winning streak aboard his Yamaha YZ450F and was just one victory away from securing the ‘20 AFT Singles title. With the pressure on, the 17-year-old stepped up in a huge way. Throughout the Main Event, he took the best shots a motivated pack of rivals could offer in their joint quest to bring his streak to an end. The heated contest came down to a final-lap showdown with five riders still in contention for the win. And for the second race in a row, Daniels made the race’s decisive pass on the last lap, storming up the inside to claim the checkered flag by 0.067 seconds and seal the championship.
Rush opened the day in fine style, running second to Daniels in the opening practice on a track that suited his style. However, he steadily lost ground as the evening progressed, qualifying seventh, taking seventh in his Semi, and then racing to 14th. The Californian was slowed by nagging injuries in the long Main Event that proved both mentally and physically exhausting. Afterward, he was left looking forward to improving tomorrow night before moving on to next weekend’s Daytona Short Track, where he previously earned a pair of premier-class victories.
Beach was Estenson Racing’s sole representative in the AFT SuperTwins race with teammate Kolby Carlile on the mend after undergoing season-ending knee surgery earlier this week. With wet conditions creating an opportunity to earn a season’s best finish, the Owensboro rider put forth a determined charge. At the restart of the once red-flagged Main, Beach quickly made up several positions, climbing as high as ninth. Unfortunately, a minor technical issue slowed his momentum and he faded back to 13th in the end.
The Estenson Racing team will be back in action on Saturday during the second half of the Charlotte Half-Mile doubleheader as newly-crowned AFT Singles champ Daniels looks to add to his six-race win streak and eight-win tally on the season.