He started racing AMA Superbikes 13 years ago and Sunday at Fontana was his 120th race in the championship, but Tommy Hayden finally broke through to earn his first victory this weekend.
“Man it feels really good,” said a clearly emotional Hayden after Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway. “It’s a bit of weight off my shoulders to get that out of the way, especially after yesterday. I was pretty discouraged last night. Hats off to the team for making the changes. I made some changes myself and came out today and did a lot better. Josh [Hayes] gave me all I could handle and I think letting him set the pace I was able to conserve my tire a little bit. I made my move and tried to make it happen and it worked out. It feels really good. It’s been a long time coming for me. We got this first one out of the way and hopefully they’ll get easier. We’ll see.”
It took Hayden longer than any other rider in the history of American Superbike to earn his first win. As far as I can figure Dale Quarterley previously held that honor. It took him 65 starts before he finally won his first.
Hayden has always had the talent, but racing in the era of Mladin and Spies made took the air out of the room for just about every other rider in the series. Tommy is one of the nicest riders in the series and almost everyone involved in the sport will be happy to that he finally scored his first win.
Jake Zemke leaves Fontana with the series lead with Hayden second, just 11 points down. This year is shaping up to be an exciting season in American Superbike. Congrats to Tommy. He’s added another great accomplishment to his already impressive racing career.