Other Racing, Live Thread

24 Hours of Daytona Live Thread

1/28/12 in Other Racing   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The racing offseason isn't very long, but that doesn't mean that by the turn of the year race fans aren't champing at the bit to see cars on the track. Lucky for us, the wait is over with the first major event of the year: the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. This year's edition is extra special, as its the 50th running of America's premier endurance race. While the NASCAR stars are mostly sitting this year out, there are still plenty of recognizable names peppered in with the sports car aces in this field.

We begin in the Daytona Prototype class, which consists of cars like the picture you see here and are either BMWs, Fords, or Corvettes. The drama here has already started. The defending champion car, owned by Chip Ganassi Racing and driven by the same four guys as last year (Scott Pruett, Joey Hand, Memo Rojas, Graham Rahal), blew an engine in qualifying and will start in the back of the field. It's an early disadvantage, but of course they have 24 hours to make it up. Ganassi's second car is the same "superteam" as last year, consisting of his NASCAR drivers, Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya, and his primary IndyCar drivers, Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon. Ganassi is the dominant team in Grand-Am, and thus are at the top of everybody's list of favorites.

Other notable racing figures in the DP class are AJ Allmendinger (driving for Michael Shank, who he's collaborating with on a new IndyCar team), Michael McDowell (NASCAR), Max Papis (in the race he got his "Mad Max" nickname), Paul Tracy (the ageless IndyCar vet), Ryan Briscoe (IndyCar), Ryan Hunter-Reay (IndyCar) and Colin Braun (ex-NASCAR). On the pole for the DP class though is the #8 Starworks Motorsports machine, one of the Fords. Its driver lineup includes two very accomplished sports car drivers Lucas Luhr and Allan McNish, as well as ex-Champ Car driver Ryan Dalziel, who put the car on the pole.

As well as the Prototypes, we have the GT class. The majority of the cars in this class are Porsche GT3's and Ferrari 458's, but there are also Mazda RX-8's, Audi R8's, Corvettes, BMW M3's, and even a Mustang and a Dodge Viper. The polesitters (albeit behind all of the Prototypes) for GT are the #59 Brumos Racing entry, driving a Porsche. Their driver lineup includes legendary Hurley Haywood, who has won this race a record five times (although Pruett can tie him with a win).

Among the notables in the GT class are Michael Waltrip, who is teaming with Travis Pastrana, among others. New GoDaddy IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe is in this class, driving with Marino Franchitti,Dario's brother. An Earnhardt drives in this class, Jeffrey (I'll leave it to Debi to tell you where he fits in the family). Wild man Boris Said will be part of the #94 team, and former F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella drives for the #62 Risi Competizione team, expected to be a favorite. Finally, it one of the cooler storylines, John Andretti will be racing in the #36 Yellow Dragon machine. One of his teammates? His 19 year old son Jarett. Jarett's been racing midgets as his career starts up, so it will be interesting to see how he handles much bigger cars.

So to continue from Eric's info, for those NASCAR fans watching to get their racing "fix" in, a little more information for you.  Firstly, Jeffrey Earnhardt is Kerry Earnhardt's son.  Kerry hasn't had the kind of success in racing that he dad did, or even that his brother, Dale Jr. has had.  Jeffrey, however, drives in the Camping World Truck Series for Rick Ware Racing.  He started his career with DEI, but when they merged with Ganassi, Jeffrey was out of a ride.  Odd how the Earnhardt company that Dale Sr. started for his children has not a single Earnhardt on the payroll. (Oh wait there is Teresa).

Another NASCAR tidbit to add, the JC France that Eric mentioned above is the one and the same France who was arrested in 2009, high as a kite, street racing.  At that time he told officers that he was a "France" and could do whatever the hell he wanted.  Let's hope he has his life under control enough to race safely over the next 24 hours.


I am interested to see how Michael Waltrip will do in this race.  He has retired from racing, only returning from time to time in a restrictor plate race.  However, this race at Daytona has very little to do with restrictor plate racing.  It's an endurance race.  Michael hasn't been awful on road courses in the past, but this will be completely different from anything he has done before.  His co-owner, Rob Kauffman, is one of the other drivers in the car.  Kauffman has a strong interest in cars and has an automotive restoration company in addition to his interests in MWR, however, his driving abilities are virtually unknown.  

I don't think anyone will have much to challenge Ganassi.  Scott Dixon has said that Dan Wheldon is very much on his mind this weekend.  Dan was killed in a crash October 16th, but was part of the original Ganassi winning team in 2006.  They will be racing for their friend and teammate.  Yes, team one starts from the back, but with such a talented crew of drivers, getting up to the front shouldn't be a problem for them.  The race, barring engine problems, will undoubtedly come down to a challenge between teams 1 and 2.  I'm sure Eric will chime in with his predictions once he makes his way back into the thread.


Green flag is 3:30 today. The Rolex 24 has it all from action to strategy to the spectacle that is night racing. Coverage will be on SPEED from 2:30-11:00 on Saturday and 9 am-4 pm on Sunday, with streaming on SPEED.com throughout. Click here for the entry list, and here for the timing and scoring. Q it up with Debi and me throughout the 24 hours, or as much of it as we can stay awake for.
Notify me by email about comments that follow mine. Preview

1/29/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

They broke the distance record with a total of 761 laps completed.

1/29/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Congratulations to Michael Shank Racing, and drivers AJ Allmendinger, Justin Wilson, Oswald Negri, and John Pew! MSR also took 3rd place with a bunch of junior open wheel formula drivers. Very impressive day for that team. Congrats also to the #44 Magnus Racing team for winning GT.

Ford swept the DP podium, while Porsche swept the GT podium.

1/29/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

(Edited by Debi_L)

 6 minutes to go, 4 laps to go and the 44 of Richard Lietz leads in the GT Class, and in the Daytona Prototypes AJ is still leading.  

Michael Waltrip is in his car albeit 82 laps down, and he had a spin into the sand a few minutes ago.  I can't help but be excited for him though, getting to do something new at Daytona and being there at the end.  

1/29/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Well, not anymore. The lead is up to over 8 seconds. 21 minutes to go.

1/29/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Dalziel is catching Allmendinger...

1/29/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

 AJ just had a slip in the corner but recovered nicely.  If he wants to win this race, he just cannot make another mistake like that.

1/29/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

The #01 has lost 1st and 2nd gear. Their chances of winning are gone. Allmendinger leads Dalziel by 6 seconds.

1/29/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The #01 clearly doesn't have the straight line speed the Fords do. Meanwhile, the top 5 in GT are locked in a big battle!

1/29/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

I have to decide whether to study a bit or watch the end of the race. This caution helps the decision.

1/29/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

 The 8 and the 60 got together twice but both stay in the race.  However, the contact caused debris to fly off and there is a full course caution.  Two hours and 15 minutes to go. It`s getting exciting 

1/29/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

  McNish is still in the 8 car and AJ has taken over in the 60.  The 8 leads, but AJ is gaining on him. The 01 is still in 3rd.

1/29/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

 Got up, turned on the TV and saw that the 01 was in the lead.  Did some laundry and came back to see the 01 is now in 3rd.  However, with Graham Rahal behind the wheel the car is now just over a second behind, where they were almost 4 seconds behind.  Negri in the 60 car is in the lead, with McNish in the 8 car between the two.

AJ Allmendinger will take over the driving duties for the 60 car to end the race.  Scott Pruett will take over from Rahal.

1/29/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Ryan Dalziel's incredible race continues. He just got the #8 unlapped without the benefit of a caution. Now three cars on the lead lap with about 4 1/2 hours to go.

1/29/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Having woke up and having watch the end of that incredible Australian Open final, we have Scott Pruett in the Ganassi #01 car in the lead. The #60 car, currently being driven by Oswaldo Negri, is in 2nd. That car was in the lead until their most recent pit stop, which had a driver change. They are the only two cars on the lead lap. The #8, #6, and #5 round out the top 5.

The GT leader is currently the #59 Brumos Racing entry. They have a one lap lead over the #44, #57, and #67. Three of those four cars are Porsches. Unfortunately, John and Jarrett Andretti's entry blew an engine overnight and their race is over.

1/28/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Almost 8 hours of racing and there are battles for the lead, 3rd, and 5th going on.

1/28/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

It's11:00 on the east coast. Still 16 1/2 hours to go. For the rest of the night, here's the link to the streaming on SPEEDTV.com.

1/28/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Some breaking IndyCar news tonight. Paul Tracy has announced that he's very close to a full season deal with the new team: Michael Shank Racing. PT said that this would be his last IndyCar season. He says they have a car and a sponsor, but not an engine deal. MSR was believed to be a Lotus team, but what's likely the case is that PT's sponsor is dependent on him being with a Honda team.

1/28/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Just finished my last bit of studying for the night. The #90 Spirit of Daytona currently leads the prototype, and the #67 TRG leads the GT. I won't lie. I've had a long day, and am quite tired. Not sure how much longer I can hang on.

1/28/12   |   dnewman911

(Edited by dnewman911)

                          

1/28/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

They just interviewed Marco Andretti. He just arrived in Daytona from testing the DW12 IndyCar. They had to black out the Honda logo on his firesuit, and he's apparently not even been in the cockpit of his car yet. That's a special level of disorganization.

1/28/12   |   dnewman911

(Edited by dnewman911)

 I am a big fan of Pat Long and the Lizard team. 

1/28/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

Papis is on the #9 team. They are currently in 8th place with Terry Borcheller driving.

Edit: In fact, Max just tweeted:

Max Papis
 
PR: JC France about to get in the car for 1 stint then Max will get in P8

1/28/12   |   justa

Wheres mad max and the 333???

1/28/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

 Oops, disregard that last comment, Travis is in the car now 

1/28/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

DW is tweeting that Mikey is happy in the car, and lookin' pretty good, so i'll continue watching the NHL All Star Skills Competition.  Shhhhhhhhh 

1/28/12   |   justa

Travis must  be sitting on a steamer after that outlap. After stalling he nearly got hit by another car on pit lane, full lock up slide. Nice. Another record for travis, fist guy to nearly not make it out the pits.

1/28/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Pit stops during the caution gave the lead to the #2 car, currently driven by Ryan Hunter-Reay. There's been lots of drama with this car this week. It was originally to be driven by RHR, Tony Kanaan, and EJ Viso. A few days ago they all tweeted funding fell through and they were out. On Thursday though, the car was resurrected with RHR and a bunch of ride-buyers. Just yesterday it was reported Marco Andretti would join the team. Marco, in fact, was testing the IndyCar earlier today and is still in transit to Daytona. Strange situation to say the least.

1/28/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Travis Pastrana's inexperience in racing just became very obvious as he tried to pull out of the pits and stalled. Caution is out for an incident involving the other Team Dempsey car.

1/28/12   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

I finally get home from class and dinner and see a battle for the GT class lead between Lally and Bergmeister. Nice.

I see the #01 is already in the top 5, although Rojas and McMurray had a little, uh, incident. I see Joey Hand just went into that car.

Very quick day for Angelelli/Briscoe/Taylor. What happened to them?

Has Scott Pruett said hi to his family yet? It's not an official Grand Am race until he does.

I'll be in and out most of the night. At some point I'll probably need to do some studying.

1/28/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

 Michael Waltrip is set to climb into the Ferrarri, and "cross his legs" because he is much taller than the other drivers on his team.......

1/28/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

 Full course yellow, pit lane closed.  

Scott Pruett in first, Scott Dixon has moved up to 9th.

1/28/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

 Race is running about as to be expected at this time.  With 22 hours plus left to go, the guys in the back and trying to get up front, and others are just trying to protect their ride.  Mikey Waltrip will go into the car next, as his partner Rob Kauffman just took over.  Scott Dixon is trying to make his way to the front and Dr. Dreamy  had a slight misshap.  Car seems okay though

1/28/12   |   Debi_L   |   11862 respect

 The race is underway.  Sir Jackie Stewart gave the command to start, and I must say it was one of the lamest efforts I've ever witnessed.  AJ Foyt is away because of health issues and Jackie filled in, but he certainly could have put a little more effort into it.