DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – James Stewart, riding the Joe Gibbs Racing Yamaha, captured his second career Daytona Supercross By Honda victory on a muddy rain-soaked course Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway.
Stewart, of Haines City, Fla., slipped past Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Davi Millsaps on Lap 3 and dominated the rest of the 16-lap event to win by a margin of 7.572 seconds.
“It means a lot,” said Stewart, whose previous Daytona Supercross win came in 2007. “I felt good all day. I was fastest in practice. Once I got in front, I was just trying to survive.”
Rain showers throughout the day made for a muddy course. Due to the course conditions, AMA shortened the Supercross Main Event by four laps and the Lites Main Event by three laps.
Rounding out the podium were Millisaps in second and Honda’s Kevin Windham in third.
Ryan Villopoto, the two-time defending Daytona Supercross champion and current AMA Supercross points leader, fell during the first corners of the race and salvaged a fifth-place finish.
Villopoto maintains a 29-point lead in the AMA Supercross championship standings over KTM rider Ryan Dungey, who sat out the race after undergoing surgery to repair a broken collarbone.
“That finish is a lot better than what it could have been,” Villopoto said.
In the exciting 12-lap Lites Main Event, Honda’s Justin Barcia stayed unbeaten in 2012 by holding off Kawasaki’s Blake Baggett by a margin of 2.537 seconds.
Barcia led from the start but received a challenge for the lead from Baggett in the final laps.
“It was such a tough race,” Barcia said.
“I gave it everything I had,” said Baggett, who won last year’s Lites Main Event at Daytona.