SPEED to go LIVE Under the Lights from Daytona Bike Week SPEED will be live from Daytona International Speedway on Friday night (March 6) at 8:30 p.m. ET, as one of the world’s most prestigious and historic motorcycle events -- the Daytona 200 by Honda -- goes under the lights for the first time in event history.
Ralph Sheheen will call play-by-play for SPEED with 1985 Daytona 200 winner and AMA Motorcycle Hall-of-Fame racer “Fast” Freddie Spencer providing analysis and Greg White reporting from the pits.
“Most of what people say about stock car racing at night also applies to bikes,” said SPEED’s Dave Despain, a 1998 Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee. “The fact that the biggest race of the year becomes a night race is certainly intriguing. The parallels to stock car racing cannot be ignored. The first Daytona 200 ran on the beach course in 1937, more than a decade before the birth of NASCAR. Like the stock cars, the bikes migrated to Daytona International Speedway, but not immediately.
“It took a couple years for both the track and the two-wheeled crowd to get their heads around the idea of motorcycles on the high banks,” Despain added. “Once that transition was worked out, the Daytona 200 took its place as the finale of the annual Daytona Speed Weeks celebration; it starts with the sports car in the 24 Hours of Daytona, peaks (at least in terms of crowds and public interest) with the Daytona 500 and concludes three weeks later with the biggest motorcycle racing celebration on the planet.”
SPEED will return on Saturday with same-day coverage of the Daytona Supercross by Honda on the Ricky Carmichael retro-designed course at 8 p.m. ET, with Sheheen handling play-by-play, 2004 AMA Motorcycle Hall-of-Fame inductee Jeff Emig providing analysis and Erin Bates in the pits.
“My favorite part of the design is the layout itself,” said Carmichael, who won the Daytona Supercross event five times and is scheduled to be racing Saturday in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for Kevin Harvick Inc. (NCWTS Setup with Krista Voda at 1:30 p.m. ET; race starts at 2 p.m. ET LIVE on SPEED). “I think it will be a very fast and rough track like the historical Daytona Supercross track used to be when we raced there in the daytime. A few years back, they kind of got away from the more traditional design and made it more like a Supercross track in a dome and that kind of took the fun out of it, so that's why I tried to design it back like it used to be.”
Pending travel from Atlanta, Carmichael, who is tied for 14th in Truck Series points, is expected to join the SPEED team in the booth for the Daytona Supercross event.
Additional coverage from Daytona will premiere March 21 at 11 p.m. ET as part of the new SPEED series AMA Pro Prime Time.
SPEEDtv.com will be in full force at Bike Week as well; Editors Chris Martin and Neale Bayly will be producing extensive race and lifestyle coverage throughout the event. In addition to race reporting and feature Bike Week lifestyle editorial, look for exclusive race team interviews and behind-the-scenes reports, test ride reports on the latest bikes, and extensive photo galleries and video features. Additionally, SPEEDtv.com will host a live Daytona 200 chat on Friday at 8:30pm ET hosted by Chris Martin and featuring surprise special guests.
“We started off the year in high gear, and as the motorcycle racing season ramps up we’re shifting into overdrive,” said Joe Tripp, Director of Interactive Operations for SPEED. “Bike Week is an annual celebration of everything we love about motorcycling and motorcycle racing … from cruising Main Street to sliding sideways at Volusia County Memorial Stadium, from a scenic ride through Tomoka State Park to the breathtaking fairing-to-fairing action on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway, Daytona Bike Week has it all. Combined with the extensive coverage on SPEED, the online staff will be working overtime to make sure fans feel close to the action.”