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Best AMA Pro Result Yet for Melissa Paris in 72nd DAYTONA 200

NEWS March 16, 2013

Best AMA Pro Result Yet for Melissa Paris in 72nd DAYTONA 200

Photo by Brian J Nelson

Courtesy of Team Hammer:

(March 16, 2013) - Team Hammer closed out the 2013 AMA Pro Road Racing season opener at Daytona International Speedway on a high note, registering top-ten results from Melissa Paris in the 72nd running of the Daytona 200 and Chris Ulrich in the AMA Pro Superbike class.

The unforgiving nature of Daytona International Speedway and the 57-lap Daytona
200 frequently results in heart-breaking openers. And while the team did not escape adversity altogether during a difficult weekend, the squad rallied to score strong results that can be both celebrated and built upon.

Paris maintained an impressive pace throughout the prestigious yet tricky 200-miler aboard her MPH Honda CBR600RR, which is prepared and crewed by Team Hammer. Even being forced to come in for a ride-through penalty due to a pit stop infraction couldn't prevent Paris from finishing in the top ten. Secure in ninth at the time, she rebounded to finish in tenth position.

The result was the best of her AMA Pro career. She said, "My goal was top ten so to make it happen even after a poor qualifying session was really nice. It's frustrating to lose a position due to that meatball flag but it is what it is.

"That's such a long race. Team Hammer did such an amazing job on these bikes. As far as I could tell, there was no one out there I couldn't draft by at will. The thing was so good and so easy to ride. It was fast but not hard to ride.

"It's my best Daytona SportBike result by a long way. I'm really pleased. I feel like we have a good jumping-off point. It feels like I’m getting my feet back underneath me and that's a great feeling. I can't wait for Road America."

Team Hammer owner John Ulrich commented on the penalty, stating, "The penalty that Melissa got was really unfortunate. Clearly, the penalty was excessive for the crime. Yes, an intern jumped over the wall and handed her a water bottle and yeah, on the way back he picked up a rear tire that had been taken off the bike and was lying there and took it with him. If that tire would have stayed in place, it wouldn't have had any impact whatsoever on Melissa leaving. What the guy did was wrong; he shouldn't have done it but it had no impact on the speed of that stop whatsoever. If they wanted to give us a 15-second penalty or a 20-second penalty -- whatever -- okay. But giving someone a ride-through for that, something that had no material effect on the speed of the stop, is completely excessive and it reeks of old-school AMA Pro."

The grueling contest was less kind to Benny Solis. After running in ninth in the race's opening stages, the Californian encountered electrical equipment issues and was forced to retire after nine laps.

M4 Broaster Chicken Racing's Ulrich successfully bounced back from yesterday's electronics-related difficulties to race to a top-ten position in Saturday's 15-lap AMA Superbike final.

Ulrich diced amongst a four-ride pack aboard his Honda CBR1000RR deep into the contest while posting impressive lap times en route to an eventual ninth-place finish.

He said, "It went a lot better today. Yesterday, what bit us was a slight change in the aftermarket engine management electronics -- the downshift parameter -- which made the bike inconsistent and unstable during braking. It showed when I ran off the track three times. It was a challenging race for sure. But today started off good when I ran P4 in the morning warm-up and we discovered a couple things with the chassis of the CBR1000RR that don't necessarily correlate to the bike we used to ride. We had to soften the back of the bike up a little bit to get it to transfer some weight and it improved grip a lot. We also fixed the electronics and it was good.

"We made a slight mistake midway through the race but for the most part, every lap was faster than my qualifying time and I also turned my fastest-ever lap around Daytona today. It bodes well for the future, since we’ve had this bike on track for a total of just four days. We're just scratching the surface and the CBR1000RR has a lot of potential. I'm really confident in the M4 crew’s ability to go forward with my Honda."

Team Hammer now faces an extended layoff before the next round on the 2013 AMA Pro Road Racing schedule, scheduled for May 31-June 2 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.

About Team Hammer: In 2013, Team Hammer, Inc. is competing in its 33rd consecutive racing season, and is marking its seventh year of offering technical and logistical support through its Contract Services Department.

Riders on Team Hammer-prepared racebikes have earned 54 AMA Pro National race wins; 130 AMA Pro National podium finishes; 5 AMA Pro Championships; 133 Overall National Endurance race wins; 13 National Endurance Championships and assorted other race wins and titles.

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