Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona Preview and Live Thread
Other Racing

Racing Season Gets Underway with the 24 Hours at Daytona

1/26/13 in Other Racing   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Blog Photo - Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona Live ThreadAs winter hit its hardest so far in North America this week, the first sign that spring will soon come has arrived. No, I'm not talking about spring training, I'm talking about the first major race of 2013, the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. As we did last year, Debi and I are here throughout the 24 hours. The Rolex 24 is always an All-Star event so to speak, and this year is no exception, with stars from NASCAR, IndyCar, and F1 joining the sports car aces.

This year's race marks the end of an era somewhat. The Rolex 24 is sanctioned by the Grand-Am Series, which is owned by NASCAR. However, there is another sports car series based in the United States, the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Starting next year though, the two series will merge, meaning this race could look a lot different next year, particularly in what classes are running and what the specs are. This year though we have the two usual Grand-Am classes, Daytona Prototypes (DP) and Grand Touring (GT), as well as a new class, the GX class.

Starting with the DP class, with boast BMWs, Corvettes, and Fords, the first team that must always be mentioned is the Ganassi team. Not surprisingly, both of its cars, the 01 and the 02, are on the front row. Regular Grand-Am driver Scott Pruett will lead the 01. Pruett is once again looking to tie Hurley Haywood for most 24 Hour wins with 5. Joining Pruett in the 01 is Ganassi's other primary Grand-Am driver Memo Rojas, as well as Juan Pablo Montoya and IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball (aka the guy with diabetes). Driving the 02 this time around will be Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Jamie McMurray, and Joey Hand. Only four Indy 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400, and a Rolex 24 win between those three guys alone.

The biggest competition for Ganassi starts with the defending champions at Michael Shank Racing, car #60. The team already had an impressive driver lineup that includes controversial but talented AJ Allmendinger and Justin Wilson, arguably the best road course driver in IndyCar. This year they add Marcus Ambrose, arguably the best road course driver in NASCAR. Starting in sixth, the Shank boys are very much in position to strike again.

Another team with an insane driver lineup is #2 Starworks entry. Their sports car aces are Ryan Dalziel and Allan McNish, two of the best, and with that they add Sebastien Bourdais, who, I can assure you, can drive anything. That driver lineup might be the best of all, and likely make this entry the team best capable of taking down the Ganassis.

Other driver you might recognize in the DP class include current IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay (#10 car), ex-IndyCar driver Christian Fittipaldi (#5 car), the infamous Nelson Piquet, Jr. (also the #5 car), the very fast IndyCar driver Simon Pagenaud (#42 car), and the unforgettable Paul Tracy (#77 car).

Blog Photo - Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona Preview and Live ThreadWith that, we turn to the GT class, whose cars are made by Ferrari, Porsche, Audi, Mazda, and BMW, along with the famous Corvette. This class doesn't quite have as many recognizable, but there are certainly a few. The most notable is Michael Waltrip, who will be an owner/driver in the #56 car. One of his regular Cup drivers, Clint Bowyer, will join his boss in the event. For IndyCar fans, the team to watch will be the #21 Dener Motorsports Porsche, with counts Brazilian BFF's Tony Kanaan and Rubens Barrichello among its driver list. The #61 Ferrari will also be a team to watch. Their drivers include long-time F1 starter Giancarlo Fisichella and "Mad Max" Papis. Also of interest driver wise are some guys that have spent time in NASCAR: the always Boris Said, and Andy Lally, who was part of the winning GT class team, the #44 car, and drivers for that team once again.

Finally, there is the new GX class, which is intended to showcase new technology that doesn't fit in the GT class. While there are 17 DPs and 34 GT's entered, there are only 6 GX cars. The two primary drivers to watch in GX are IndyCar's GoDaddy driver James Hinchcliffe (#70 car), and 2012 Indy Lights champion Tristian Vautier (#00 car), who has a load of potential if he can get an IndyCar this year. Your thoughts, Debi?

I’ll admit I told Eric earlier that I was more excited for the names from IndyCar and Formula 1 than I was about any of the NASCAR names, except for, possibly Clint Bowyer.  Last year Michael Waltrip and his partner, Robert Kaufmann, entered a team to run in the Rolex 24.  It was just another of those things that Mikey wanted to try, and he was in the car at the end, even though they were somewhere around 40 laps down.  This year, the team will be joined by Clint, the driver who finished second in the Championship, behind Brad Keselowski.  Clint had a better season with MWR than he had had the year before with Richard Childress Racing, and seemed to gain a new maturity and composure.  He has said that Rob asked him to join the team and he owes him that.  He is willing, but has acknowledged the 24 hours will be daunting, saying he has trouble concentrating for 3 ½ hours. The team will be running a Ferrari 458 Italia in the GT Class, and will start 33rd overall.  Rui Aguas joins the trio.
 
As Eric filled you in about the Ganassi teams above, you already know that Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray will return with the Ganassi team, but running in separate cars.  Montoya has won twice with Ganassi, in the 02 car, or the “Star Car” of the Rolex 24.  This year, JPM will run in the 01 car along with Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and Charlie Kimball.  No single reason has been given for the change, and Montoya himself has said he has been given many reasons for the move.  However, he has chosen to believe that “Victory” is the prime reason.  Ganassi wasn’t on the podium last year, but wants to be there again.  The mix of drivers in the 01 car shows a huge amount of talent, so one has to think victory is possible.
 
Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Joey Hand and McMurray will make up the team from the 02 “Star Car”.  Again, there is a huge amount of talent behind the wheel in the 02 car, but the engineers and mechanics have to have done their job to set up the car and prepare for any mechanical event in order for victory to be possible.  

Good point Debi about the revised lineup at Ganassi. The past two years, Hand and Graham Rahal have joined Pruett and Rojas in the 01. With Rahal no longer at Ganassi, I'm guessing Montoya is there for an extra boost to help the inexperienced Kimball to keep the 01 sharp. Of course, adding Hand to the great chemistry of Dixon and Dario and the Daytona ability of McMurray gives the 02 a great shot to win too.
 
AJ Allmendinger will compete with defending champions, Michael Shank Racing Team, starting 6th.  If you remember, AJ was suspended from competition by NASCAR after a positive drug test back in May.  He completed the Road to Recovery program sanctioned by NASCAR and was given clearance to race again. However, no one has been banging down his door to implore him to drive for their team.  This competition may go a long way towards showing owners that he is serious about resuming his career and certainly he is driving for one of the premiere teams in the race, competing in the Daytona Prototypes, or DP classification.

The race stars at 3:30 pm today, and will obviously conclude 24 hours later. SPEED will have TV coverage until 11 pm tonight, then resume at 9 am tomrorow morning. For the overnight hours, the race will be streaming on SPEED.com. Q it up here throughout the 24 hours.
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1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Debi_L wrote:
Loved Winklehock's car, too bad they ran out of gas :(

Congrats to JPM, Kimball, Pruett and Rojas.  Great job guys!

Damn I'm worried about Team Owner and dad, Wayne Taylor.  He seriously looks ill!

Yeah, those shots of him late in the race were a little scary.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The #24 Alex Job Racing Audi Customer team wins the GT class. The drivers are Filipe Alburquerque, Oliver Jarvis, Edoardo Mortara, and Dion von Moltke.

The GX winner was the #16 Porsche Cayman, driven by Nelson Canache, David Donohue, Shane Lewis, and Jim Norman.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The Ganassi Racing 01 wins the 2013 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona! Scott Pruett ties Hurley Haywood with his 5th overall victory. Memo Rojas wins his 4th Rolex, Montoya his 3rd, and Charlie Kimball his first.

The #10 Wayne Taylor car finished 2nd, the #60 Shank Racing car was 3rd.

1/27/13   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

Loved Winklehock's car, too bad they ran out of gas :(

Congrats to JPM, Kimball, Pruett and Rojas.  Great job guys!

Damn I'm worried about Team Owner and dad, Wayne Taylor.  He seriously looks ill!

1/27/13   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

five minutes to go.  GULP

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The #24 stays in front. Angelelli now leads DP, but does he have enough fuel? The answer appears to be no.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The leader in GT, the #24 car, pits for fuel. Does he have enough of a gap to keep the lead?

Montoya pits.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Lietz and Rast are battling for 4th in GT. Could be the battle for the lead eventually given the top 3 aren't guaranteed on fuel.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Under commercial, Montoya passes Angelelli for the lead. The 01 is allegedly four laps short on fuel. The 60 says they're good.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Barbosa comes in to serve his penalty. Montoya back to 2nd, about a second behind Angelelli.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

AJ pits to clean off the radiator. Curiously, they didn't put a splash of fuel in while they had the chance.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Barbosa penalized for avoidable contact on Allmendinger. He also might have jumped the start. AJ falling back a bit. Angelelli still leads.

Lazzaro and Rast battle for the lead in GT.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

They pit and come out Angelelli, Montoya, Barbosa, Allmendinger.

None of them can make it on fuel without another caution.

Also, I made a mistake earlier. The GT that spun was Winklehock.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

So yeah, that was all after almost 23 hours of racing. Nuts.

1/27/13   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

Need.  to.  BREATHE!!!

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

3 wide in the bus stop! AJ holds off Juan somehow! Lazzaro spins! This is nuts!

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

So far AJ's holding JPM off, but you can see the 01 gain in the oval course.

Lazzaro has taken the GT lead. 3 car battle there.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

'Dinger, JPM, Barbosa, Angelelli in DP going to this restart.

Rast, Lazzaro, Marcus Winklehock (13 car), Lietz (44), Pier Guidi, Faulkner (23) in GT.

1/27/13   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

I really like Michael Shank.  Can AJ do this again?? Looking very possible.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Allmendinger takes the lead on pit road. Montoya now 2nd. Can AJ beat back the dominant 01?

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Debris caution with an hour and a half to go.

4 cars are on the lead lap in DP: Montoya (01), Allmendinger (60), Angelelli (10), Barbosa (9)

4 cars are on the lead lap in GT: Armindo (44), Lazzaro (69), Rast (52), Pier Guidi (63). Porsche, Ferrari, Audi, Ferrari the order there.

1/27/13   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

I'm starting to get really excited.

1/27/13   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

Wow. Feel bad for Scott Pruett.  Testament to his desire to race to put up with the pain he must be having.

AJ staying in the car for Shank as I understand it, trying to bring it home.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

The 60 pits and changes drivers, from Ambrose to Allmendinger. The 9 pits and Barbosa comes in. The closing drivers are now all in the contending cars. Game on now.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The 90 with a long pit stop to repair the exhaust, so they're out. The 01 is in the pits. Pruett is out and climbing in is Juan Pablo Montoya, which guarantees this won't be a boring ending.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Ambrose and Angelelli are in a cracking battle for 2nd. Unfortunately for both, Pruett is nearly 25 seconds of them. However, the 01 and 60 should have one more driving change left (not sure about the 10). Rockenfeller in the 9 car is 29 second behind Pruett (their last driver should be Barbosa). Antonio Garcia in the 90 is still on the tail end of the lead lap a minute and 12 seconds back.

In GT, Rene Rast in the 52 leads by 25 over Jerome Bleekemolen in the 23. The 44 dropped to 5th after a driver change.

Just under 2 hours to go...

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The 2 car has a throttle linkage and a brake line failure and is now behind the garage. They'll be back out there at some point, but it takes them out of the race for the win. We are down to 5 on the lead lap: 01, 10, 60, 9, and 90.

1/27/13   |   orangemen90   |   5785 respect

Fun race to watch,,, time to show what you've got under the hood...

1/27/13   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

Andy Lally is doing an incredible job!

This DP finish is shaping up to be a nail biter.  The three are right together, and I don't believe anyone is showing everything they have yet.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Pruett passes RHR for the lead, and has already pulled out an almost 2 second lead. Still just over 3 hours to go.

Andy Lally leads the GT class, which still has 7 on the lead lap. Bowyer is running now, 8th place 2 laps down.

1/27/13   |   mcleodglen   |   32 respect

wow, looks like a lot of people still do like this sports... i'm really surprised.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The 02 is out with a broken gearbox. The #10, driven by Hunter-Reay is leading, but Pruett in the 01 is chasing in 2nd. The 01 dropped to 5th after a break change, but Pruett has charged back to 2nd. The 9, 60, 90, and 2 are all still on the lead lap as well. The final drivers for the contenders will be Angelelli in the #10, Montoya in the 01, and Allmendinger in the 60.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

We had Ferrari on Ferrari violence in GT. The #63 got squirrely and tapped the #69 going into turn 1. Those were the top 2 cars. Both cars kept going, but the #63 was penalized for avoidable contact. The defending champion #44 Magnus Racing Porsche assumes the lead in GT. Also in GT, the Waltrip is back on the lead lap.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

A caution appears to have allowed the 90, the 2, and yes the 60 to get back on the lead lap.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Oh, all you need to know about the GX class is that there were 3 Porsches and 3 Mazdas, and that the Mazdas all broke and retired in the first few hours. They were 3 of the first 4 retirements. The Porsches are all well spread out. Yawn.

1/27/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

Morning everybody. The overnight racing is over, and there's now less than 6 hours to go.

In DP, the 01 (driven by Pruett) right now is leading. There are 5 cars on the lead lap right now: the #9 (Joao Barbosa), the #10 (Jordan Taylor), the #90 (Richard Westbrook), and the #2 (Alex Popow). Meanwhile, the #60 Michael Shank car has done a great job and are up to 6th, just one lap down. Shank was just interviewed, and he said if they can get back on the lead lap, they have enough to finish 2nd. The 02, meanwhile, is 4 laps down in 7th. Overnight, McMurray was fiddling with knobs in the pit lane, lost concentration, and hit the wall.

In GT, the #30 Porsche is leading, with 6 on the lead lap. Bowyer is currently in the #56, with is 7th in class one lap down. The TK/Rubens entry is out.

Edit: Make that 4 cars on the lead lap. The #2 car had to pit due to a flat tire, and while in the pits, switched drivers to Bourdais. That car falls to 6th. Shank up to 5th.

1/26/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

My body (and the wine I had at dinner) are telling me to call it night, but if you're fresher, head to SPEED.com for live streaming.

1/26/13   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

Melanie Snow and her son have made history. And not only that, but she's running 5th!

1/26/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

I'm back from dinner (and slightly inebriated, so I can't guarantee I'll be up all that late). Montoya is in the 01 and in the lead. Max Anglellli is in 2nd in the #10. The #43 car (currently driven by Junqueira) is stopped on the apron. No full course caution yet. The #63 Ferrari 458 continues to lead GT. Michael Waltrip is in his car now, 3 laps down and 16th in class. As Debi said though, it's still early (over 17 hours to go), so things aren't dire yet for anyone that hasn't had a real bad problem.

One negative is that the #70 MazdaSpeed in the GX class is done for the day, meaning that neither James Hinchcliffe nor Marino Franchitti (yes, Dario's brother) didn't get to race. James is supposed to be in the SPEED both at some point, because well, Hinch is awesome.

Edit: Caution now out for the #43, which was being driven by Tony Drissi, not Junqueria, whose mostly hard luck racing career continues with this.

1/26/13   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

I know it is still early going, but have to say I'm not surprised at the goings on up front.  I was hopeful that the MWR entry would have better luck from the outset, but it is a long race (DUH!) so here's hoping they can make up some of that time, and gain the lap back

1/26/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Make that McMurray into P1. He just blew right by Rojas. I believe this is the first time the 02 has led so far.

1/26/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Between working out and a shower, and now going out for dinner, I've been a bit occupied, sorry. The 01 is leading, currently driven by Memo Rojas. The 02 is second, currently driven by Jamie McMurray (but Joey Hand coming in soon). Everyone not running a BMW says they're not as fast as the BMW. Watch for Allen McNish though in the #2 car, currently the 3rd. 7 DP's are on the lead lap.

The #63 Scuderia Ferrari 458 is leading the GT class. Clint Bowyer is on the track right now, 12th in class a lap down. Boris Said is in 13th. Rubens Barrichello is in, but 3 laps down 22nd in class.

1/26/13   |   orangemen90   |   5785 respect

Sun is going down.. some good racing will occur now !!!! These cars are great in the dark,.....

1/26/13   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

Eric_ wrote:
He had a weird situation earlier where the car would not turn into the fastest corner in the infield. Looks like they're in the garage right now.

thanks Eric!

1/26/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Debi_L wrote:
Junquiera is back with AJ, but I missed what put him back there......

He had a weird situation earlier where the car would not turn into the fastest corner in the infield. Looks like they're in the garage right now.

1/26/13   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

Junquiera is back with AJ, but I missed what put him back there......

1/26/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The #00 Mazda 6 diesel (running in GX) appears to be done, which caused the caution. Most of the field pitted under caution, and there were a few driver changes. Notables taking the wheel are Franchitti, Bourdais, and Pagenaud. Pruett still leads in the 01, followed by Max Anglelli in the #10 car, and Chris Cumming in the #6 (that's Shank's 2nd car). Andy Lally continues to lead in GT.

1/26/13   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

An hour and a half in we have our first full course caution....

1/26/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Debi_L wrote:
I can't believe the problems everyone is having!! I know they just said Tommy Kendall predicted this, but I honestly thought we were past this kind of mechanical difficulties

It's like the olden days (before my time) when just making it the entire 24 hours was an accomplishment.

1/26/13   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

JenX63 wrote:
I usually just sing louder than them :)

I just find the mute button....

1/26/13   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

I can't believe the problems everyone is having!! I know they just said Tommy Kendall predicted this, but I honestly thought we were past this kind of mechanical difficulties

1/26/13   |   JenX63   |   32634 respect

Debi_L wrote:
ugh.  Why can't people just sing the National Anthem (any National Anthem) the way the melody goes?  Why do they have to put all those ridiculous trills into it? It isn't meant to be sung like that.

/end rant

I usually just sing louder than them :)

1/26/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

(Edited by Eric_)

Something is wrong with the #60 Michael Shank car, the defending champions. It hasn't been determined what it is yet.

Edit: The problem is a broken tie rod. Ford Racing on Twitter is saying it'll be a 5 minute pit. That hurts, but it's early enough that it's not fatal to their chances quite yet.

1/26/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

After a poor start dropped him back to 4th, Dixon in the 02 has gotten back into 2nd. Pruett leads by over 10 seconds in the 01.

1/26/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

The GT pole sitters, the #32 car, have a problem early. Look like a tire going down coupled with/cause of contact with the wall.

1/26/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

That DP start was IndyCar-like in its fugliness.

The heavy hitters starting out: Pruett, Dixon, Michael Valiente, Allmendinger, Dalziel, Fittipaldi in DP; Lally, Patrick Long, and Eliseo Salazar in GT.

1/26/13   |   texas_tornado4261   |   83986 respect

Debi_L wrote:
ugh.  Why can't people just sing the National Anthem (any National Anthem) the way the melody goes?  Why do they have to put all those ridiculous trills into it? It isn't meant to be sung like that.

/end rant

add to last comment...and it wasn't me...

1/26/13   |   texas_tornado4261   |   83986 respect

Debi_L wrote:
ugh.  Why can't people just sing the National Anthem (any National Anthem) the way the melody goes?  Why do they have to put all those ridiculous trills into it? It isn't meant to be sung like that.

/end rant

someone didn't want to hurt their feelings and told them they were good.....

1/26/13   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

As we get ready to start, here is a link to Timing and Scoring.

1/26/13   |   Debi_L   |   11848 respect

ugh.  Why can't people just sing the National Anthem (any National Anthem) the way the melody goes?  Why do they have to put all those ridiculous trills into it? It isn't meant to be sung like that.

/end rant