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PEOPLE LIKE US by scottbthompsonsr
Stories of Laurens County People
Apr 15, 2010 | 138680 views | 0 0 comments | 551 551 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

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by scottbthompsonsr
Jul 10, 2010 | 7851 views | 0 0 comments | 114 114 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Howard makes a name for herself with shot put


@ Macon Telegraph

There aren’t many shot put competitors in Georgia as good as Sarah Howard.

She is currently the top-ranked high school shot putter in the state, and she is No. 13 in the nation. And after her sophomore year at Trinity Christian, she already has the second longest throw in Georgia high school history, private and public school included.

In this year’s GISA state meet, she won the shot put by 10 feet, breaking the GISA state record by 4 feet, and added the discus title. For that, Howard has been named The Telegraph’s All-Middle Georgia Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.

Much of Howard’s success can go right back to her family.

“My dad threw the shot in high school and then in college at the University of Georgia,” said Howard, who also has the highest GPA in Trinity’s sophomore class. “I can remember picking up the shot put when I was 5 or 6, and it seemed like a fun thing to do. As I got older, I tried most of the other sports, but I wasn’t real good at any of them. I seemed to always go back to shot putting and as I got older, I kept getting better.

“I really enjoy it now, because it is a great way to get to spend a lot of time with my dad. He is fun to hang out with and has been a great coach for me. He knows when to push me and he knows when to ease off.”

Howard has been training hard all summer, trying to get stronger. She recently finished second at the New Balance National High School Meet and will travel to Singapore at the end of the month as part of the American team in the Youth Olympics.

“I went to Italy last year for the Youth Olympics and didn’t do that well, but I feel like I am way ahead of where I was last year,” she said. “I feel like I know what to expect this year, and it won’t be so overwhelming to me. I just want to continue to gain experience and enjoy myself, and if I can do that, I think I will perform well. I have put in the time in the weight room and working on my technique, so I feel pretty good about the trip.”

With two more years of high school, Howard really hasn’t thought much of where she will go to college but does hope to continue throwing the shot put on that level.

“It’s something that I really like to do, and I would like to see how good I can get,” she said. “I know that I have a long way to go, but I definitely hope to continue throwing in college. I am usually pretty focused on my training, but it is great to have someone like my dad around that knows the kind of training I need to be the best.”

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by scottbthompsonsr
Jul 04, 2010 | 8326 views | 0 0 comments | 117 117 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Rear Admiral Bill Goodwin retires

Ends 35-year Naval career with ceremony Friday

Updated: Friday, 14 May 2010, 5:28 PM EDT

Published : Friday, 14 May 2010, 1:10 PM EDT

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) - Rear Admiral John W. "Bill" Goodwin retired from the U.S. Navy following a 35-year career during a ceremony Friday aboard USS George H.W. Bush (CVN 77) pierside at Naval Station Norfolk.

Goodwin most recently served as the Assistant Chief of Naval Operation, Next Generation Enterprise Network (ACNO NGEN) in Washington, DC. Prior to that, he served in Norfolk as the Commander, Naval Air Force U.S. Atlantic Fleet (AIRLANT).

A native of Dublin, Georgia, Goodwin graduated from the University of South Carolina and was commissioned in May of 1975. He earned master's degrees from the Naval Post-graduate School and the Naval War College.

Goodwin was designated a naval aviator in 1977 and has experience flying the A-7E Corsair and the F/A-18 Hornet. He served as the commanding officer of Strike Fighter Squadron 94 and the underway replenishment ship USS Rainier (AOE 7) and was the first commanding officer of the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). As a Flag Officer, Goodwin served a tour of duty with the U.S. European Command in Stuttgart, Germany; commanded the Abraham Lincoln Strike Group and served as AIRLANT Commander prior to assuming the duties of ACNO NGEN.


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by scottbthompsonsr
Jul 04, 2010 | 7979 views | 0 0 comments | 115 115 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Patriot Academy Welcomes New Staff

By 1LT Kyle Key May 7th, 2010

Human Resources NCO, SFC Tony J. Edmond


“God Bless the Guard!” can be heard echoing through the halls of the National Guard Patriot Academy High School when Sgt. 1st Class Tony J. Edmond reports to work.  Edmond, a native of Dublin, Georgia, reported to the Patriot Academy in April 2010 to serve as a Human Resources Non-Commissioned Officer.

The Patriot Academy is the U.S. Department of Defense’s first and only accredited high school for dropouts who wish to serve their country and earn their diplomas.  Approximately 1.2 million high school students nationwide drop out each year, a trend the National Guard Patriot Academy is trying to end–one Soldier at a time.  Edmond said he has the passion and dedication it takes to help guide these former dropouts to make positive changes.

“I just really want to make a difference in young lives,” said Edmond.

Edmond is a 17-year military veteran having served on submarine duty with the U.S. Navy and as a human resources specialist with the Georgia and South Carolina Army National Guard.  He is a 1983 graduate of East Laurens High School in Dublin and is currently scheduled to graduate from the American Military University with his bachelor’s degree in Military History in the fall of 2010.

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by scottbthompsonsr
Jul 03, 2010 | 8978 views | 0 0 comments | 103 103 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Keen Fast Tracking In Grand-Am

Jonathan Ingram | Senior Writer, Friday, 2 July 2010

By Jonathan Ingram | Senior Writer

Daytona Beach, Fla. – Leh Keen is on the fast track in sports car racing. That’s not a reference to the infield and oval road course at the Daytona International Speedway, scene of Saturday’s Grand-Am Rolex Series race. Keen’s career is on the fast track.

The driver from Dublin, Ga., began the season as the Rolex Series’ defending co-champion in the GT class. In March, Keen co-drove a Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car to victory at the Sebring 12-hour in the GT Challenge class of the American Le Mans Series.

In May, he was part of a four-man team that finished second aboard a Ferrari 430 GTC in the 24-hour race at the Nurburgring, the world’s most challenging GT race. In June, Keen was on the podiom in second place aboard the same Ferrari at his first Le Mans 24-hour.

This weekend, Keen is co-driving a Mazda RX-8 for Dempsey Racing with James Gue, who qualified fourth in class behind pole winner Sylvain Tremblay’s Mazda. Over-all, the No. 41 Dempsey Racing entry will start 16th behind Daytona Prototype pole winner Ricky Taylor, whose Dallara-Ford leads the field in the 100th race of the prototype class launched in 2003.

Titled the Brumos Porsche 250, the race will be the fourth in six weeks for the Grand-Am series – and the fifth race for Keen in that span.

A GT class specialist, Keen considers Daytona his home track. While accompanying his father, he saw his first race at the famed Florida track at the age of 13. “I had been begging to

Leh Keen is quickly gaining a fast reputation in the Grand-Am Series.

go before that,” he said of the relatively easy trip to Daytona from Dublin to watch the Rolex 24 at Daytona, “but my mother made me wait until I was older.”

Most of his friends drove pick-ups, but Keen followed a path laid out by his father, Lehman Keen Jr., a banker with a fondness for powerful Porsches.

Keen’s informal training included track days with the Porsche Club of America in his father’s equipment, which included a Porsche 911 993 GT2 Evo that had raced at Le Mans in 1996. “We showed up with the biggest gun and kicked everybody’s butt,” recalled Keen. A stint at the Panoz racing school at Road Atlanta followed when he was 18.

“I’ve really just always been into driving cars,” said Keen, who taught himself to drive on the dirt roads around Dublin, located in the rolling piney woods region between Macon and Savannah.  “I’ve been doing that since I was 16. I always wanted to progress with the car and develop it a little bit better. The first car I drove was a Mercedes E320. It belonged to my grandfather and was four-wheel drive and no traction control. It had very good steering angles. I really had some fun with that car.”

In his first season in the Grand-Am Rolex Series in 2005, Keen co-drove a Porsche to victory at Watkins Glen with Autometrics Motorsport. He scored a victory with Synergy Racing at Mid-Ohio in 2006, then was brought on board at the front-running Farnbacher Loles Motorsports for 2007.

After a heavy crash at Mid-Ohio caused by a car blocking the track curtailed his season, Keen came back to win at the track in 2008 with Farnbacher Loles. A pairing with Dirk Werner in 2009 resulted in a Grand-Am Rolex Series GT championship for Farnbacher Loles, a season that included another win at Mid-Ohio, one of the most technically demanding tracks in North America.

When the Farnbacher Loles team broke up shortly after the end of the 2009 season due to the legal problems of financial consultant Greg Loles, Keen kept in touch with the team’s technical guru, Horst Farnbacher.

Keen credits Farnbacher, whose son Dominik is also a driver at Hankook Team Farnbacher, for sharpening his skills. “I hadn’t really evolved too much at that point (when he joined Farnbacher Loles in 2007),” said Keen. “Then I started to evolve strongly. I always got along well with Horst and I always got along well with Dominik.”

An effort to stay in touch with Horst Farnbacher paid off once his Ferrari team was launched with the backing of Hankook Tires. “It’s just weird how thing work out,” said Keen. “I kind of got to know Horst a little better so I could go to Le Mans. Then we ended up going to the Nurburgring.”

At the Nurburgring, Keen drove in the fastest class over-all aboard his Ferrari in a starting field of 198 GT machines on the famed “Green Hell” circuit measuring over 15 miles. At Le Mans, the GT2 class Ferrari was the slowest of the four classes in the high-speed French race dominated by the prototypes of Peugeot and Audi.

Now he’s back at his home track where the Daytona Prototype category is marking the 100th start for the closed cockpit cars. Keen is open to the prospects of driving a prototype, but it’s not a priority.

“One thing now, I’m getting content with what I’m doing,” he said. “I never had a thing for prototypes. I’m so totally into GT cars.”

– Jonathan Ingram can be reached at

Jonathan Ingram | Senior Writer, Friday, 2 July 2010
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by scottbthompsonsr
Jul 01, 2010 | 8040 views | 0 0 comments | 106 106 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Old Bulldog teaches new tricks

June 30, 2010 by RYAN BLACK   

@ The Red and Black

Former University baseball player Jasha Balcom may not be in professional baseball anymore, but it is possible in the near future you may see a player he groomed playing in the MLB.

Balcom founded HittersBox Baseball Inc. a little over a year ago.

“I just decided to start my own baseball training company because I got tired of working my 9-to-5 job and I just wasn’t happy,” Balcom said. “When I founded the company, I was still contracting lessons at other facilities, and so I decided I needed to start my own place. I came over here to Competitive Edge Sports [facility], because this is where I used to train when I played for the Cubs, partnered with them to get space…and here we are.”

June 26 marked the grand opening of HittersBox in Duluth, and Balcom put on a free clinic for kids. Former Atlanta Braves catcher Javy Lopez and Atlanta Falcons defensive end Chauncey Davis stopped by to talk with those in attendance.

Growing up in Dublin, Balcom said baseball had “always been a passion” for him, and he was given ample opportunities to play locally since his father worked for the Parks and Recreation Department.

And though he loved Dublin, he said he saw that to reach his goal of becoming a MLB player, he would have to widen his perspective.

“I wanted to be a major league baseball player, and I wanted to do it so bad that I worked hard every day to get out of Dublin,” Balcom said. “I always wanted to go to college and then become a professional. I grew up wanting to go to Georgia, and assistant coach [David] Perno was the first coach to ever recruit me.”

Balcom eventually made it to the University, but not before a two-year layover at the College of Charleston, where he was named a Freshman All-America in 2001.

He transferred to Georgia in 2002 after completing his sophomore year.

“Jasha had great talent and gave us a good left-handed bat with some sneaky pop for [the] long ball,” Perno, now the head coach, said. “He was very athletic and could play all three outfield spots. He always was in a good mood with a smile on his face. He was a great teammate and a wonderful kid to coach.”

Balcom remembered one moment in his Georgia career above all else — getting to play in the first game Georgia and Georgia Tech contested at Turner Field in 2003.

“Playing in front of 10,000 fans that day…was incredible,” he said.

The game, dubbed the “Spring Baseball Classic for Kids,” was won by Georgia 10-3, with Balcom playing a key role in the victory. He went 2-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and three runs batted in. Balcom came to the plate with a tie game and bases loaded — every childhood player’s dream.

“It was 3-3, I came up, and it was a 3-1 count,” he said. “The crowd was on their feet, and I cleared the bases with a double, and you could hear all the Dogs ‘barking’ in the stadium. It was just an incredible moment. I got interviewed on national television after the game, so that was probably the coolest experience I ever had.”

After his time at Georgia ended, Balcom was picked by the Chicago Cubs in the 33rd round (973rd overall pick) of the 2003 MLB Draft.

Balcom played for the Cubs’ Arizona League rookie affiliate in 2003, and another Cubs affiliate, the Boise Hawks, in 2004.

In his final season with the Cubs organization, he was assigned to the Peoria Chiefs in 2005 before deciding to retire.

Though he never made it to the major leagues, Balcom said he enjoyed his time in the lower levels of professional baseball.

University alum Jasha Balcom works on teaching proper hitting technique with a young player. PHOTO COURTESY QUENTIN DAVIS

“It wasn’t easy being away from home, and all the long bus rides you had,” he said. “But you look back on it, and you’re young, and you’re getting to do something you love. I mean, I would have played for free just to get the opportunity to play every day.”

When he retired from baseball, Balcom then went into a different type of game — the high-stakes world of stock brokering.

“I didn’t know what job I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to make some money,” he said. “People from baseball opened some doors for me, and my uncle was a broker for 25 years at Morgan Stanley, so I saw what he was doing and I decided I wanted to get into that.”

Though Balcom made good money as a broker, baseball was something he could not push away from his mind for long.

He quit his job to give baseball one last shot in 2007, taking time to train in preparation for the upcoming season.

He joined the independent South Georgia Peanuts, appearing in 86 games, attaining a .304 batting average and collecting 100 hits in 329 at-bats. He also led the South Coast League in stolen bases (34) as the Peanuts won the SCL championship by beating the Macon Music 2-1 in a best-of-three series at the end of the season.

When he received no feedback from any MLB teams after his season with the Peanuts, he decided to call his playing career quits for good.

“I felt like I gave it one more shot, and I enjoyed it, but now it’s time to move on to bigger and better things,” he said. “So I’m at peace with my decision.”

Balcom still wanted a way to stay around baseball, so he started teaching lessons with 10th Inning Baseball Academy, Chipper Jones’s baseball and softball training facility in Suwanee for two years before he started HittersBox.

Now, Balcom is combining his love of baseball with the business sense he gained in trading stocks, and he couldn’t be happier.

“I wanted to be able to do baseball and become a business owner,” he said. “I wanted to be a business owner in the community… [and] being able to give back to the community and working with kids. That’s the thing I enjoy waking up every day doing.”

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by scottbthompsonsr
May 01, 2010 | 8261 views | 0 0 comments | 107 107 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Dexter's Mark Twain

 Millard Whittle lives in a house on a hill.  He has lived in that same house, on that same hill, for sixty years.  Before that, he lived in an old house in that shady spot for fifteen years.  And, before that, he lived in another house, the house in which he was born, for twenty-five years.  For all but three days of the last century, Millard Whittle has lived on the same road, Whittle Road,  a road which the county named after him.  On Saturday, Millard will celebrate his 100th birthday with his family and friends at Mt. Carmel Church, where he began attending before World War I.

 Millard Whittle was born on May 1, 1910 to James and Bessie Davis Whittle.  William H. Taft was president.  Mark Twain had just died, claiming that he came to Earth on Halley's comet and left this world when it returned.  Maybe that's when Millard Whittle hopped off the comet  and took his place.  You see, like Mark Twain, Millard Whittle is a story teller.  Not appearing to be anywhere near his biological age, Millard Whittle still has an elephant mind and spins stories of distant yesterdays as if they happened only just yesterday.

 He'll never forget the killer tornado that struck the Mt. Carmel community 81 years ago. "That afternoon of the tornado was rainy. There was a thunder cloud back in the west," Millard remembered.    Millard and two or three of his friends went to play catch with an older man, who loved baseball too.  "We got tired and started home.  I looked back toward Chester.  It looked like a whirlwind, except it was getting bigger and bigger. Pretty quick the wind picked up.  Shortly that thing swept out there where we were. We had to hit the ditch.  I don't think right there it would have picked us up, but it would have blown you down. You couldn't have stood up out there," he continued. 

 "I'll never understand.  That tornado came in from the west. It tore everything down between Chester and over here on Highway 338.   When I approached Mt. Carmel church, it just flattened it. It just went right down. It didn't tear it up. It just squished it. It made a right turn at the new school house across the road there,  a hundred yards away, doing just a little damage to one of the porches. I  guess it blew a board or two off it. Then it headed directly in this direction," Whittle concluded.

 This is Millard Whittle's 101st baseball season.  He loves baseball and would have loved to play it as a career, wishing he could have had the opportunities like kids do today.  Whittle did play a little ball, playing a few games for Mt. Carmel H.S. and a semi-pro mill team in Thomaston.  He has seen all the rookies from Babe Ruth to Jason Heyward.  His favorites were Bob Feller and Dizzy Dean, but Millard is, win or lose,  a die-hard Braves fan, still watching and listening to every game he can.  The pitching foursome of John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Steve Avery were his most recent favorites. 

 For fun Millard sits in his fifty plus year old rocking chair on his front porch on a warm day watching the cars go by.  He remembers his first car, a 1930s Model A, which he bought in 1936 from a  Buckhorn school teacher.  "I think I paid $175.00 for it.  He just had the engine reworked.  They must have done a good job on it, because I drove it for 14 years," Whittle chuckled.

 For a man who remembers a lot, Millard wants to be remembered as a Dexter man who tried to treat everybody like he wanted to be treated.  "I don't think I will leave any enemies here." Mr. Whittle said. "If I owe you some money, I'll pay you back.  If I owe you an apology, I'll do the same," said Millard, who farmed his land for more than seventy years.  On Sundays, he attends Mt. Carmel Church, where he taught Sunday School, helped others in need and, along with his wife Julia, kept the grounds well groomed.

 Although Millard Whittle has more than his share of memories of the past, he never loses sight of the future.  He keeps up with the news on television and in the papers.   Whittle pondered,  "I don't know where we are headed.  That last depression ain't like this one.  Our leadership is way different. One day, some of these countries that we owe so much money to are going to want their money, ain't they?  How we got into this mess, I don't know.  I thought, we thought, we were electing good common sense hard-working people."

 Mr. Whittle invites his friends to join with his children, Winston, Royce and Jane, this Saturday from 2-4 p.m. at Mount Carmel Church to celebrate his milestone.  If Millard Whittle had just one wish on this, his 100th birthday, he would wish for our society to change. "I'd love to see the world as a whole change back to the way it used to be.   Everybody is in a hurry now.  People loved one another back then. I realize if you went back to the way we used to be, money was short, but if I had anything to do with it, I'd love to see some of the old days," Whittle prays.    So when you blow out your candles,  all of us will be wishing and blowing with you.  So, here's to you Millard Whittle, may you have another century or at least until your comet returns in 2062.

 Meanwhile, the mourning doves still coo, the mockingbirds still mock and bumblebees still buzz out on the Millard Whittle place, just as they have for the last one hundred years.  


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by scottbthompsonsr
Apr 15, 2010 | 8443 views | 0 0 comments | 117 117 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

On Tax Day, April 15, 2010, the angry, the scared, the worried, the curious and many praying people came to the Dublin Farmer's Market to vent their frustrations, see what was happening and lifting their prayers to Heaven.  An estimated one thousand people attended the event.  Here a few photographs of some of those who attended.



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by scottbthompsonsr
Mar 20, 2010 | 7210 views | 0 0 comments | 113 113 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

On a cold windy Sunday afternoon the members and friends of the River Roots Arts Alliance dedicated their first outdoor sculpture on the grounds of Middle Georgia College adjoining the VA Medical Center.

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by scottbthompsonsr
Mar 20, 2010 | 7569 views | 0 0 comments | 116 116 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
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by scottbthompsonsr
Mar 11, 2010 | 8126 views | 0 0 comments | 118 118 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Herrin flies to win Daytona 200

Josh Herrin holds his Daytona 200 trophy high in Victory Lane Friday night at Daytona International Speedway. N-J | Lukas Harden



Daytona 200


Race results from the 69th Daytona 200 AMA Pro Racing Daytona SportBike event held on Friday night at Daytona International Speedway with position, rider, make of motorcycle and laps completed:

1. Josh Herrin, Yamaha, 57 laps

2. Dane Westby, Yamaha, 57

3. Steve Rapp, Ducati, 57

4. Danny Eslick, Suzuki, 57

5. Kev Coghlan, Yamaha, 56

6. Cory West, Suzuki, 56

7. Geoff May, Suzuki, 56

8. Shawn Higbee, Buell, 56

9. Taylor Knapp, Ducati, 55

10. Eric Wood, Honda, 55

11. Eric Haugo, Yamaha, 55

12. Ryan Patterson, Yamaha, 55

13. Bobby Fong, Ducati, 55

14. Ricky Orlando, Kawasaki, 55

15. Santiago Villa, Suzuki, 55

16. Paul James, Buell, 54

17. Andrea Padovani, 54

18. Alex Lazo, Yamaha, 54

19. Dario Marchetti, Ducati, 54

20. Walt Sipp, Buell, 54

21. John Ashmead, Kawasaki, 53

22. Roberto Vargas, Kawasaki, 53

23. Kyle Keesee, Kawasaki, 50

24. Calvin Martinez, Ducati, 50

25. David Dumain, Yamaha, 49

26. Melissa Paris, Yamaha, 47

27. Brett McCormick, Suzuki, 31

28. Kris Turner, Suzuki, 30

29. David McPherson, Yamaha, 29

30. Barrett Long, Kawasaki, 24

31. Michael Barnes, Yamaha, 21

32. Tommy Aquino, 17

33. Reese Wacker, Suzuki, 15

34. Jeff Wood, Suzuki, 15

35. Craig Moodie, Yamaha, 10

36. Anthony Fania, Suzuki, 8

37. Fernando Amantini, Kawasaki, 1

38. Martin Cardenas, Suzuki, DNS

39. Clinton Seller, Suzuki, DNS

40. Josh Day, Yamaha, DNS

41. P.J. Jacobsen, Suzuki, DNS

42. Bostjan Skubic, Yamaha, DNS

43. Russ Wikle, Suzuki, DNS

44. Mark Crozier, Ducati, DNS




Race time: 1:47.17.612; Margin of victory: 7.964 seconds; Winner's average speed: 113.16 mph; Lead changes: Five different leaders, 22 lead changes; Laps led: Herrin 32, Westby 12, Eslick 5, Rapp 5 and Coghlan 3.

DAYTONA BEACH -- The Daytona 200 started with a disaster Friday night -- seven motorcycles crashed on the opening lap -- and ended with defining victory for a 19-year-old rider.

Josh Herrin goes into the record book as the second-youngest winner of the 200 after an overpowering ride and a couple of quick pit stops from his Team Graves Yamaha crew.

"It's an awesome feeling to bag this bad boy," Herrin said.

In the closing laps, it was a gut-check for the Dublin, Ga., rider, who could feel Dane Westby, also Yamaha mounted, closing in on his exhaust pipe. At one point, Westby was just 2 seconds behind the teen sensation.

"I knew Westby was coming," said Herrin, who won the last four Daytona SportBike races of the 2009 season. "I just kept putting in the laps and pushing as hard as I could. Dane rode an awesome race."

Daytona 200 photo gallery

Herrin beat Westby by 7.964 seconds after 57 grueling laps over Daytona International Speedway's 3.51-mile motorcycle road course.

Herrin led 32 laps, including the final 17, when he pulled away from his nearest challenger. Westby backed off to stay off the grass. Many other riders were not as fortunate.

"I saw the gap open and close," Westby said of his attempt to catch Herrin. "I didn't want to do something stupid and throw away second place."

Westby led 12 laps before settling for runner-up honors. Steve Rapp, who won the 2007 Daytona 200, was third aboard a Ducati.

"We put the best effort we could," Rapp said. "It was a good effort for a two-year-old team to get to the podium.

"This is the Daytona 200. How many times can you say you had a chance to win the 200? There's not many chances you get to be competitive in this race. I am happy to be on the podium."

Rounding out the top five were Danny Eslick, on the No. 1 Richie Morris Racing Suzuki that started from the pole position; and Kev Coghlan, who crashed on the last lap but still finished fifth, a lap down to the top four bikes.

Eslick led five of the first 19 laps but lost contact with the riders ahead of him.

Herrin never felt threatened, except on his last pit stop, when the bike ahead of him on pit road had a fuel spill.

"That freaked me out," he said. "They were telling me, 'Don't go through (the gas)', then (they) pushed me through it."

The start of the race was pure madness.

On the first lap Martin Cardenas, who was the second-fastest qualifier, dumped his No. 36 Suzuki in the east horseshoe.

Seconds later, five riders crashed exiting road course Turn 1. Among those involved were Clinton Seller, Ponce Inlet's Mark Crozier, Bostjan Skubic, Russ Wikle and P.J. Jacobsen.

Seller, Crozier and Wikle were treated and released from the Speedway's infield care center.

Jacobsen and Skubic were transported by ambulance to Halifax Health Medical Center. Jacobsen was treated and released. Skubic was described as awake and alert.

The race was red-flagged for a short time to clean up the course. The first start did not count as a lap, as there was a complete restart.

On the restart of Lap 1, Josh Day spilled going into Turn 1. Before the first lap was over, Shawn Higbee had a fall in the infield course.

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