HOW THEY FARED, By Car Number (not finish)
(And, hey, it’s been a busy month in Daytona)
No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing w/ Félix (y José) Sabates BMW-Riley. Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Justin Wilson, Max Papis. Started 5th, finished 2nd/2nd - 52.303-seconds behind winning car. The Old Guy (Pruett) remains young in more ways than one, pegging the team’s fast lap at a 1:41.606 on Lap 694, only five laps into a full fuel load and fewer than two hours from race end. This team came into the race having only two wildcards: everyone else; and, the team’s new BMW engine. Not even Wilson would qualify as a wildcard after his second-place 2006 finish in Michael Shank Racing’s No. 60 Lexus-Riley. This car’s neck-and-neck duel for the race win all but ended in the 22nd hour on Lap 689 when leader Wilson climbed all over the brakes and headed onto pit road as the TELMEX car headed straight for the garage to diagnose an un-diagnosable hiccup experienced moments before while traversing the Moretti Chicane. Wilson heard “a pop” – “Give me a ping, Vasili; one ping only, please” – and made one of those split-second decisions that can go one of only two ways – hero or goat – but still must be made. However, “If you’re not on top it’s just not where you want to be,” insofar as the Ganassi organization is concerned, Pruett would later make clear.
No. 02 Target Chip Ganassi Racing w/Felix Sabates BMW-Riley. Drivers: Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Jamie McMurray; finished 37th overall, 15th in class after starting fourth overall. New Zealand’s Dixon qualified at 1:41.147; with JPM nailing the team fast lap (1:42.530) claimed in Lap 181, about 71 laps before breaking with JPM again at the wheel on Lap 250 – thus, with a 33-position fall from starting fourth on the grid, the No. 02 earned the race’s “Bottom Of The Barrel” award. Taking the wheel of this car were Indianapolis 500 winners and another driver who two weeks later would take stock car racing’s biggest title, the Daytona 500. The Ganassi team was fairly tight-lipped about the reason for the No. 02’s “stroke”-after-midnight failure but one of the team’s upper-echelon types did offer a clearly bummed-out, terse “blown engine.” While but two words, the unspoken spoke volumes to No. 01’s Justin Wilson when you consider Ganassi had long been fond of saying “We had only one engine failure in all our years with Lexus.” Given the All-Star team, could it be yet another apocalyptic 2012 sign!? (You know, “they” say the Columbians and Mayans never did get along.)
No. 2 Uberwurk/Battery Tender Beyer Racing Chevrolet-Crawford. Drivers: Romeo Kapudija, Jared Beyer, Dane Cameron, Jan-Dirk Lueders (listed incorrectly in too many places as “Jan Diek Lueders”) and Cort Wagner. Cameron started 13th without a qualifying time or, for that matter, very much seat time, given the team’s absence from early January Rolex 24 testing. The car finished 34th overall; 14th in class, in the process completing 319 laps; 436 laps down to the DP race winner. A team comprised of two talented up-and-coming young racers; one seasoned and a couple of cagey veterans came into a race for which this year they’d not previously practiced and, all things considered, did decently when one considers the Crawford DP03 to be a racer’s DP (those only “genteel” aren’t really allowed; at least graciously so). Cameron led three laps (20-22), followed not too long after (Lap 26) with popped right-rear tire while he was hauling the mail through the tri-oval. Such would all but end any hope whatsoever of this team’s members doing little more than getting some serious seat time. Two-time Rolex GT champion (2001, 2003) Wagner recorded the field’s sole Crawford DP’s fastest lap (1:45.631) on Lap 165.
No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford-Riley; Sponsor “The Pit Stop on Norris Lake.” Driving: Michael Valiante, Brian Frisselle, Mark Patterson, A.J. Allmendinger. Valiante (1:41.110) started third; team finished 7th/7th overall/DP. Completed 707 laps; 48 behind first. Allmendinger scored the team’s fastest lap (1:41.695) on Lap 685 at 1:32 p.m. Sunday, then 22-laps later flamed-out of the race when internal engine pressure started pushing oil between the valve-cover-to-manifold gaskets. Allmendinger led 24 laps; Valiante, 17; and, Frisselle, 2. After Valiante took ill late Saturday-early Sunday morning, Frisselle pulled four stints out of five, producing one worn-out driver who like Valiante, earlier, soon thereafter visited the DIS medical center. The third-consecutive Rolex 24 in which “Lady Luck” didn’t smile on MSR, it held the race lead for a third-consecutive Rolex 24 and was the second race in the last three Rolex 24’s in which this car has held the lead after the sun arose Sunday morning. Three of the team’s four drivers led overall race laps: Allmendinger (24); Valiante (17); Frisselle (2).
No. 7 Starworks South African Air BMW-Riley with Bill Lester, Dion Von Moltke, Ian James and Mike Forest driving, but not Ryan Dalziel (who will partner with Forest for the Mar. 6 Grand Prix of Miami in a second team car, the No. 8 BMW-Riley). Team finished 27th overall and 12th in class after Von Moltke qualified (1:43.322) 12/12 in class/overall. James turned a faster race lap than that of the car’s qualifying run (1:43.207 vs. 1:43.322). Two eerily occurring accidents: in the race’s fifth hour and again with five-hours remaining (perhaps yet another 2012 apocalyptic sign?) – would cause team-owner Peter Baron’s two greatest headaches. Baron’s team at least can take some consolation from team regular Ryan Dalziel’s winning drive in the No. 9 Action Express Racing Porsche V8-Riley. The Scottish ace is set for a Starworks Motorsport ride for the remainder of the season. NOTE: Information used herein (for all cars, teams and drivers) was derived from a variety of sources, not the least of which was a line-by-line rundown of the Rolex 24 At Daytona's official Lap Charts. Bill Lester, bless his pea-pickin' heart, diplomatically communicated: "When the fact is that Ian actually qualified the car, not Dion. So in actuality, Ian bettered his own qualifying lap in the race resulting from a car made better during the race than what it was in q-trim." Given that Lester was there, we'll presume some sort of transponder issue is at the heart of the discrepancy; yours truly not at all doubting James' ability to beat himself.
No. 9 Action Express Racing Porsche V8-Riley. Race-winning drivers Joao “You Can Call Me Joe” Barbosa, Terry Borcheller, Mike Rockenfeller and Ryan Dalziel completed 755 laps - the third-quickest Rolex 24 race since the 3.56-mile track conversion for 1985 race. In an old car wearing Gen-1 bodywork, Rockenfeller claimed the team’s fastest lap of a 1:41.722 in Lap 581 after Barbosa qualified with a 1:41.603. Leading the team and race in lead laps, Barbosa tallied 129; Rockenfeller, 113; Dalziel, 73 and Borcheller, 01. The No. 9 team was just six laps shy of equaling the second-longest Rolex 24 distance covered by the 1990 Rolex 24 by winners Davy Jones, Jan Lammers and Andy Wallace (No. 61 TWR Jaguar XJR-12; fast race lap, Frank Jelinski/Porsche 962, 1:41.794 - look closely) and was seven-laps down to the 3.56-mile road course lap/distance kings, 1992 winners Masahiro Hasemi, Kazuyoshi “You Can Call Me Yo” Hoshino and Toshio Suzuki (No. 23 Nissan R91CP; fast race lap, Juan Fangio II/Toyota Eagle MkIII, 1:40.943). Interestingly, the 1990 and 1992 races respectively started 55 and 49 cars – both among the top-five “smaller-field” Rolex 24 races. A lot of good stories come out of the No. 9’s fielding Riley DP chassis No. 018, including a grueling race win using few new parts (six-year-old electronics among the “used parts”) and with drivers and “winning” pit crew who hit their marks - many of whom came from the 2009 Brumos No. 58 Rolex 24 winning team.
No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara, finished sixth from the race pole (1:41.101, Angelelli); driven by Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli, Ricky Taylor and Pedro Lamy. The car completed 711 laps, 44 behind winner; Angelelli clocked the team’s and race’s best lap (1:41:101) at Lap 441 (7:15 a.m. Sunday) but was absolutely snakebit from the get-go, as indicated by the car’s radio antenna falling from the roof, dangling in front of Angelelli shortly after the race began Saturday. The only SunTrust driver to lead the race, Angelelli compiled 07 laps at the point. While Ricky Taylor settled in for a season-long haul with the team, father Wayne Taylor took all of four laps driving the car to Sunday’s checkered flag.
No. 55 Crown Royal/NPN Racing Level 5 Motorsports BMW-Riley DP; started 6th, finished 23rd overall and 9th in DP. Scott Tucker, Emmanuel Collard, Christophe Bouchut and Sascha Massen. Completed 619 laps, 136 behind leader, scored its best lap on No. 488 at a 1:42.161 after qualifying at 1:41.463. How many cars can one, no, make that two drivers drive? Collard, who won the 2005 Rolex 24 with Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli, took off some bodywork in the Moretti Chicane. Shortly after, or so the story goes, Bouchut was in the No. 55 when it “drilled” a lead-contending No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford-Lola. The BMW powerplant that still later flamed out and ended the car’s Rolex 24 later became representative of an owner evidently doing the same thing in one professional race series, heading for another in which he might actually win.
No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche-Riley. David Donohue, Darren Law, Hurley Haywood, Butch Leitzinger and Raphael Matos. Defending Rolex 24 At Daytona driver Law qualified 7th in DP/overall (1:41.513); finished 26th/11th overall/DP. So poorly gifted in his driving skills at age 61, in his first 2010 Rolex 24 shift Haywood set the race’s fast-lap at 1:43.844 (Lap 100). Matos would later eclipse it with the race’s overall second-quickest lap on Lap 379 (1:41.394) in the 13th hour. In Hour 19, Haywood finished his professional driving career on Lap 580 by stepping from the Brumos car and handing it off to Matos. A little over two laps later an absolutely crestfallen Matos rolled straight into the garage, the Porsche trailing smoke. It, too, was finished. “It waited for you, Hurley,” longtime Brumos teammate (and Brumos Museum “curator”) Don Leatherwood said. Unsurprisingly the team would not repeat its 2009 Rolex 24 win, underscoring the difficulty of the accomplishment of those who had – including Brumos in the mid-to-late 1970’s – in repeating one of the world’s toughest motorsports’ events.
No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford-Riley. Driving were Ozz Negri, John Pew, Burt Frisselle, Mark Wilkins. About the biggest team problem was its inability to co-exist with its front body clip. The team was so short of front clips by Sunday morning it turned to DP-constructor Riley’s parts truck for a carbon-black spare, on which a contrasting white “60” was taped - though it wouldn’t be mounted. It’s hard to look into the eyes of Ozz Negri when you know he knows that you know that he knows that you know, aw, heck . . . he didn’t win yet another Rolex 24 after coming so tantalizingly close in 2006. Between Negri, Shank and each of the team’s dedicated members one tends to wonder who in the paddock is more deserving of a 24 win. Clearly, the garage felt at least one of the two MSR teams would stand on top of the podium come 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Also as clearly, fate played a different hand yet again.
No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford-Lola. Drivers: Tracy Krohn, Nic Johnson, Ricardo Zonta, Colin Braun. Finishing fourth overall after starting ninth, it completed 735 laps to the winner’s 755, a difference of 20 laps – 15 to body damage and five to replace a transmission – which those at Krohn Racing tend to squarely lay at the feet of the No. 55 Crown Royal/ NPN Racing BMW-Riley and driver Christophe Bouchut, some 40-laps down at roughly the race’s halfway point. Just before the “punt” made on Jonsson in Lap 308 by an officially unidentified second DP, Zonta led the race for 30 laps (in what became a sixth-best count, overall) turning the car’s quickest lap on Lap 295 (1:42.814). The team was especially bummed because it had worked only to ready the Lola for the Rolex 24 and not a flashy qualification run – at which it did respectfully well with a 1:42.060, nonetheless. Out-of-the-ordinary pit stops for the team were out of the ordinary, having only one double-digit pit stop (24 min 57 sec; Lap 308; bodywork) and one nearly 10-min stop (9:26; Lap 602; gearbox), the latter being especially attributable to a car having been rear-ended (the gearbox input shaft was visibly bent). Eliminate just those two stops and this car might’ve won by about half-as-many laps as those by which it lost.
No. 77 McDonald’s Doran Racing Ford-Dallara. Memo Gidley, Brag Jaeger, Fabrizio Gollin, Derek Johnston. Finished 24th/10th overall/DP; started 11/11. Gidley qualified with a 1:42.606; turned the team’s fast lap (1:43.018) on lap 509 (12:26 p.m.) following a combined two-hours worth of gears work on the car occurring at 8:30 a.m. (36 min) and again at 9:18 a.m. (1 hr 30 min), but took the checkered flag after completing 612 laps (143 behind DP winner). Gidley led Laps 12-19 (8 laps) after having used his noggin to test lines through each turn during the race’s initial rain yellow. “I picked my spots before we went green, learning where I could press an attack as we traveled through each turn under caution,” Gidley said afterward. “It was nice to have done it again; it’s been awhile,” team-owner Kevin Doran said after a thinking Gidley (not to imply the driver doesn’t ever do otherwise ;-]) vaulted to the Rolex 24’s front. Johnston got the seat by virtue of winning the United Kingdom’s inaugural 2010 Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge.
No. 90 Menard’s Spirit of Daytona Porsche V8-Coyote. Drivers: Antonio Garcia, Buddy Rice, Darren Manning and Paul Menard. Qualified 10th overall/class; finished 32/13. Rice scored the fastest of the team’s 346 laps (409 laps down to the race winner) with a 1:43.699 on Lap 266. Want a real kick in the teeth? Be the sole team that developed the winning Porsche V8 and not score that engine’s first race win. Four things took the car out: engine oil pump went sour (final blow); it’s too heavy (no, no more weight can be lost; others need to come up); it’s too heavy (it has no ballast to move; as did the winning No. 9 to differentiate itself from the No. 58); and, Kevin Buckler clearly demonstrated “the Pros from Dover,” for whatever reason, seem to be on a slightly steeper learning curve and different, wrong, mindset.
No. 95 Crown Royal/NPN Racing BMW-Riley. Drivers: Scott Tucker, Christophe Bouchut, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Lucas Luhr, Richard Westbrook. Started 14th, finished third overall; four laps behind second-place, after starting absent of a qualifying time. Hunter-Reay scored team’s fast lap (1:42.161, Lap 568). Also known as Level 5 Motorsports, the team’s dedication to excellence fell short of the mark due a recalcitrant seatbelt, of all things. “It’s not the end of the world” but “to have something as trivial as that happening is frustrating,” Westbrook said after being the stuckee and the car falling from the lead lap as a result. One wonders how much he would’ve been bummed had the car been seriously alight. Hunter-Reay, up for two days by race end, with Westbrook cited the car’s inability to carry speed on the straight as the car’s biggest deficiency. While Hunter-Reay cited the team’s lack of addressing aerodynamic adjustments, Westbrook instead cited “horsepower” – something not cited by any of the four other BMW-engined teams. Being a Frenchman having already claimed a Rolex 24 (1995), Bouchut didn’t really feel a need of again demonstrating his superiority over Americans, anyway.
No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet-Riley. Driving were Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty, Jimmie Johnson and Jimmy Vasser who as a team started dead last among the DPs but, more or less rallied to finish eighth in class and 21st overall in the wake of a Thursday morning crash that pretty well set the team’s tone – if not the biggest drama – of the race weekend. Following Johnson’s 150.8 mph racing-surface departure, a subsequent chassis-repair thrash lasted well beyond Thursday afternoon’s qualifying (about 4 a.m. Friday, actually, and putting ‘em at field’s rear for race start), Johnson followed up with a race-day Lap 106 “stuck throttle” and yielded the team’s first couple of lost laps to the race leaders. Still more laps were lost when a gearbox gave out on Lap 388 with (who else?) Johnson at the wheel. Gurney cut the team’s quickest lap (1:42.584, Lap 365) while Johnson, for the sake or comparison, recorded the team’s third-fastest (1:42.778, Lap 432). Fogarty drove only two of his intended three driving shifts before the GAINSCO Auto insurance team packed it in following Lap 630 after the engine’s oil pump gave up (thus the engine, too) with (who else?) Vasser at the wheel (got ya). It’d be nice to see Johnson get mad, practice like crazy for the 2011 Rolex 24 and make a true go of it. However, with a first child at this time next year expected to be tugging parental hearts (if not pants) don’t expect it. Still, this seems one race Johnson can’t win – and he probably knows it; just like Tony Stewart.
Once told by Enzo Ferrari that he couldn’t use “GTO,” Big Bill France said, “Go tell that to Pontiac.”
No. 07 Texas Heart Institute/Fisk Electric/Goldstone Ranch/Team MBR driven by Paul Edwards, Davy Jones, John McCutchen and Scott Russell. Finished 37/23 overall/GT after starting 19/4 overall/GT. Completed 201 laps, 506/554 laps down to GT/overall winners. Fast lap (1:51.217; Lap 199) scored by (who else?) Edwards during a seven-lap run that ended just before 1 a.m. Starting on the GT-class’ second row was about as good as it was going to get for the car, which was adversely impacted just after 7 p.m. Saturday (race-leader Lap 98) when an axle broke during Russell’s first-stint out lap. Edwards, 2008 Rolex GT driving champion, will team with Russell - dubbed “Mr. Daytona” after being the first of only two motorcycle racers to claim at least five Daytona 200 motorcycle titles – for the remainder of the 2010 season under owner Leighton Reese’s Banner Racing LRPG name.
No. 08 Interush Sigalsport Ferrari F430. Drivers: Gene Sigal, Rusty Wheat, Fred Poordad, Roger Yasukawa. The reality is this car was a non-starter, its silver color being brighter than its prospect for spending more time on the track than in the garage under repair – before even seeing the Rolex 24, for which it failed to even qualify. It’s something owners of similarly expensive or similarly capable sportycars happily point out as being de rigueur for the make. Oh well, it’s nonetheless nice to have seen Sigal back in the paddock as an owner. Insofar as “Poordad,” this scribe has been there; done that; and, indeed, am that (sorry Fred, just couldn’t resist; not like you haven’t heard that one before, eh?).
No. 14 Racing 4 Research-Children’s Tumor Foundation Autometrics Motorsports. Drivers: Seth Thomas, Daniel Graeff, Ron Yarab Jr. and Glen Gatlin. Finished 25th/15th after starting 44th/29th overall/GT. Finished 96 laps behind GT winner. Thomas’ fastest race lap (1:52.448) on Lap 445 bettered his own qualifying time (1:52.580). About four things went wrong in this effort: a one-hour and three 25 to 30-minute pit stops; the longest stop occurring immediately following Thomas’ fast lap and next-lap crash into a Turn 3 (East Horseshoe) tire barrier. But one thing went really right. Formerly allied with Farnbacher Loles, The Children’s Tumor Foundation was all but actually on the way to its fourth Rolex 24 at Daytona – having high expectations and already settled travel plans for CTF kids and families from across the U.S. – when Greg Loles was arrested. Out of the blue, CTF contacted Autometrics, whose Gordon Friedman said, "I was on board before the phone call was over. Seeing these kids here, having the time of their lives and knowing that we've helped raise funds on their behalf has made this one of the great racing experiences of my career." And probably a great way to put life into perspective.
No. 18 Guardian Angel Motorsports TRG Porsche GT. Drivers: Bruce Ledoux III, Dave Quinlan, Tom Sheehan, Bob Doyle, Dan Watkins. Finished 31 overall after starting 43; finished 19th in GT after starting 28th. Down 321 laps to GT winners at race end, were almost as many laps in arrears as completed in race (386). The team’s best race time (1:56.893, Ledoux, Lap 380) would actually better the team’s qualifying time (1:58.932, Watkins) by more than two seconds. Amateur drivers all, the five came from New England to raise $100k (after hitting the $70k mark in the team’s 2008 debut) for New England children charitable groups. If not on the track, the amateur group certainly found some stiff competition in the fundraising paddock given this year’s record turnout of racing-for-dollars teams. Indeed, after only one year of “retirement,” The King of Racing-and-Giving, Don Kitch (No. 41), revived his comparatively successful effort (actually, over $3.4 million since inception), on this go raising about $400,000 for Seattle Children’s Hospital.
No. 19 Mitra/MCM/Black Flag Racing Corvette. Driving: Sean Breslin, Sean Paul Breslin, Diego Romanini, Ricardo Romagnoli and Jason Vinkemulder. Finished 35th/21 after starting 42/27 overall and in GT, respectively. Completed 316 laps; 439/391 laps behind overall/GT winner. Sean Paul Breslin was the team’s Fast Guy, first qualifying with a 1:57.357 but besting it in the race by two seconds with a fast lap (1:55.327) on Lap 182. The No. 19 Corvette GT was among at least five cars which danced into Turn 3 (East Horseshoe) but from which it did not shortly afterward emerge. Towed in for repairs, later on-track incidents ranged from blowing the chicane to overnight contacts with various barriers. A host of problems eventually overwhelmed the team, which altogether exited the race shortly before 11:40 a.m. Sunday.
No. 20 OFI Asset Management /Bischoff & Scheck Service/AVAR Towage/Voskamp Group/North Sea Petroleum Matt Connolly Motorsports Porsche GT3. Drivers: Oskar Slingerland, Jos Menten, Markus Palttala and Christophe LaPierre finished 36th/22nd overall/GT; qualified at 34th/19th. Completed 276 laps, 479/431 laps behind overall and GT winners. Fastest lap (1:53.920) was set by Finland’s Palttala on Lap 199 after Menten qualified with a 1:52.235. By Hour 9 the No. 20 had pretty well just marched upward on the scoreboard, reaching 22nd/11th overall/GT before succumbing to the effects of several off-track excursions and (likely) resultant mechanical woes just after 5 a.m. Sunday.
No. 21 ROFINCO/P1Groupe.com/AIS Media/A2Zracegear.com/Pacific Teaze Matt Connolly Motorsports Pontiac GTO.R. Gabrio Rosa, Spencer Trenery, Thomas Steuer and Jim Briody finished 39/24 overall/GT after starting 41/26 overall/GT; completed 153 laps, 602 laps behind leader. Fastest team lap (1:54.822) set by Steuer on Lap 107 but not before the team started backpedaling in the race’s third hour. After a nearly 3-hour break between roughly 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday after Steuer’s first shift, Jim Briody climbed in and within four laps started the clock on another five-some-odd-hour pit stop (of about 17-hours, total in the pits), after which Briody would drive No. 21 back out of the pits, too. No word as to whether Briody “camped” in the driver’s seat – though his tenacity already proven after having scored 26 Rolex 24 starts. Putting its head down to the bitter end, the No. 21 took the checkered flag while passing over the start-finish line.
No. 22 Bullet Racing Porsche GT3. Drivers Ross Bentley, Sean McIntosh, Daryl O’Young and Kees Nierop finished 20th/13th; started 31st/16th overall/GT after completing 632 laps; 75-laps down to GT winner. O’Young scored the qualifying lap (1:51.199) while the team’s fastest race lap (1:52.582) on Lap 354 was claimed by McIntosh. Running as high as fifth-place in GT, frontal and radiator damage combined to twice take the car from the track for than 2 ½-hours in repairs. The Vancouver-based team raised contributions totaling close to $160k for BC (British Columbia) Children's Hospital - the province's only full-service acute care hospital that serves the one million children living in BC and the Yukon (a land area roughly the size of a combined Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and West Virginia).
No. 23 Alex Job Racing’s Foametix, Battery Tender, Uberwurx, “The Chicago Boys” Porsche GT3. Drivers Claudio Burtin, Jack Baldwin, Mitch Pagerey, Martin Ragginger and Dominik Farnbacher. Completed 656 laps; 51 laps behind the GT race winner. Finished 12/19 (class/GT) after qualifying 21/36 (GT/overall). Out of Alex Job ’s shop in once-beautiful Tavares, Fla. - its proximity to Daytona International Speedway proving handy following a Thursday practice miscue that caused heavy enough damage to necessitate a two-hour roundtrip drive to AJR’s shop for a fix. Ragginger’s qualifying time (1:50.298) was nipped in-race by Farnbacher’s fastest lap (1:50.296) on Lap 564. Baldwin, who’s worked somewhere around his 30th Rolex 24, still cut some darn decent laps, putting down a personal best lap of 1:53.145 at 3:02 a.m. Sunday (about eight hours after he’d normally go to bed and about one-hour before normally arising. Not bad, Jack).
No. 30 Cobalt Friction/IDEMITSU/3Dimensional.com Racer’s Edge Mazda RX-8. Drivers: Jordan Taylor, Todd Lamb, Glenn Bocchino, Jade Buford and John Edwards. After putting the red Mazda on the GT’s outside pole (1:49.371), the “other” Taylor kid ran at the front of the GT class (2 laps) before turning the car over to Lamb on Lap 40, who on Lap 69 turned what would be the car’s fastest (1:55.409) but final lap after its invincible Mazda rotary engine became vincible (if there’s an “invincible,” there should be an opposite and equal “vincible.”)
No. 32 Corsa Car Care BMW M6 Finished 10th in class, drivers Rob Finlay, Max Hyatt, Jeff Westphal, Thomas Merrill. The team just couldn’t catch a break. Two garage visits and a few pit-box repairs very early in the race right away set up the team’s fight with an unbeatable foe: a too-large time deficit way too soon. Setting fast lap for the car (150.491) and sixth-quickest for the race in GT, Merrill did it on Lap 626 - some 31 laps before the race ended for the team. “. . . a case of the would haves, should haves and could haves,” team owner Bobby Oregel said.
No. 40 Patrick Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8. Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster, Charles Espenlaub and Scotty “Beam Me Up” Maxwell, who teams with Forster in a Multimatic Mustang Boss 302R for Continental Tires Sports Car Series events. Completed 683 laps, 72 laps behind the race’s overall winner, after starting 30th and finishing 13th overall; qualified 15th and finished sixth in class. After the last couple of Rolex 24s where race-ending, sometimes self-inflicted trouble hung over the group, Dempsey Racing (the team) was able to finish the Rolex 24 despite, for some odd reason, Dempsey’s (the human) propensity to combine racing and rain. You be the judge: mere coincidence or Mayan 2012 apocalypse puzzle piece? The team was one of a handful that went faster during the race than qualifying, though not by much (150.616 vs. 151.122). The really neat part: Dempsey is credited with team’s fastest race lap on Lap 569. Now that truly is apocalyptic stuff.
No. 41 Dempsey Racing/Team Seattle Mazda RX-8. Drivers: James Gue, Leh Keen, Don Kitch Jr., Dave Lacey. Qualified ninth in GT class, 24th overall; finished 22nd overall, 14th in GT, 135 laps behind overall leader. Despite stumbling a bit the team still raised $400k for the pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Keen qualified with a 1:49.971, set fast lap (1:50.299; Lap 436) and was at the wheel for the team’s largest hiccup just after 8 p.m.; variously described hassles (radiator, alternator) and in the repair of such pretty well ate up the better part of two hours but proved to be the team’s only major gremlins. Still, given the looming GT-class championship battle it’s going to now be an uphill, season-long climb of which Gue and defending GT champ Keen are capable - but during which no other serious errors should be committed.
No. 42 Team Sahlen Mazda RX-8 driven by Joe Sahlen, Will Nonnamaker, Wayne Nonnamaker, Joe Nonnamaker. Qualified 40th and 25th overall/GT; finished 44/29 overall/GT. Sponsored by theracesite.com, the car was retired after, well, 22 laps (728 laps in arrears to the overall race winner), and gave the car the sole distinction of pulling a double – the last car in class and overall. Nevertheless, the Team Sahlen gang would cheer on . . .
No. 43 Team Sahlen Mazda RX-8. Drivers Joe Sahlen, Will Nonnamaker, Wayne Nonnamaker, Joe Nonnamaker. Sponsored by theracesite.com, it finished 14th overall, seventh in GT, after starting 29th/14th overall/GT. Picking up the RX-8 from SpeedSource’s used-car lot, the “Meatheads” completed 682 laps and at 14th overall finished less than one-second out of a “Lucky 13.” Fast lap (1:52.621) was recorded just five laps from the finish by Wayne Nonnamaker. These guys haven’t before finished as high on the Rolex 24 scoreboard and pit-box bystanders were left thinking the No. 43 won the race when it took the checkered flag, given the whoopin’ and hollerin’. One of the paddock’s more popular race achievements, “justice” surely would fall short should this team not become the principal Mazda “little guy” flag-bearer because it speaks volumes about what can be achieved with “The Right Stuff” – now not just found in Sahlen’s food products.
No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche GT3, drivers John Potter, Craig Stanton, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Richard Leitz (150.523 vs. 150.722) finished 12th overall and 5th in GT after starting 37th/22th overall/GT, thus winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona’s “Most Improved” award by improving 25 spots overall, 17 places in GT. Leitz scored the team’s fast lap (1:50.523 on No. 526). After completing 683 laps the team finished fewer than 30-seconds behind GT’s 4th-place car - a not-too-shabby start for one of the newest full-season teams on the Rolex Series’ GT block, especially given its race start. Stanton is about the second oldest-looking 21-year-old on pit road and who possesses an ability to mash gas and turn efficiently. Yet, a partially unseated rear window will generally ruin anyone’s day, netting Stanton and the Porsche a meatball flag on (race-leader’s) Lap 25 for repairs but without which the team would’ve certainly finished at least one position higher during an otherwise stellar effort.
No. 46 Autohaus Motorsports/ZMG Construction/Rincent BTP/Forge Captial Partners Autohaus Pontiac GAXP.R. Drivers: Shane Lewis, Richard Zahn, Romain Iannetta, Peter Collins. Finished 40/25 overall/GT; Qualified 33/18. Scored 125 laps - 582/630 down to GT/DP winners, respectively. Lewis qualified with a 151.816 whereas Iannetta scored the team’s (fast Lap 1:54.466) on Lap 97. From race start the No. 46 started leapfrogging up the hourly GT charts to 25th place by the fourth-hour charts but from whence it started retreating after Zahn impacted the Turn 5 (West Horseshoe) barricades on (race-leader) Lap 135.
No. 48 Marquis Jet/Dietz & Watson Meats/Grand Prix Racewear/JSI/IPC/TOTAL/Wheel Enhancement Miller Barrett Racing Porsche GT3. Drivers: Bryce Miller, Peter Ludwig and Kevin Roush. Qualified a race-ready 13th in class (28th overall) but finished 18th in class and 30th overall when it finished 296 laps down to the GT winner, compiling only 411. Yours truly says “only” because this team has been preparing for the 2010 Rolex 24 since last season; tweaking the team’s “internals” and readying itself. The really bad news about a race is that others are involved. Sometimes they’re really good “others” while other times the wrong guy gets in the way. It can be difficult to differentiate which, if nothing but from the disappointment that arises in the wake of something going awry that is completely out of the team’s hands. Such was the case when Miller captured a trifecta of sorts: qualifying at 1:50.662; nailing down his team’s fast lap of 1:51.284 on Lap 211; and, capturing an off-course, well, off-pit-exit Daytona Prototype, the cold tires of which being unable to contain that which the left side of the No. 48 would. "This is just a heart-breaking experience because the team was set to finish the race,” Miller noted afterward, adding that his pit crew had already capably overcome a plethora of early race gremlins.
No 52. Wilton Partners/XlawX/Bizrate.com/P1Groupe.com/Dorsal Friends/Ecotech Roofing/Stoll Law WilMar Racing Ferrari F430. (Whew3!) Entry form drivers: Bob Michaelian, Jim Michaelian, Jay Wilton, Filippo Marchino and Giuseppe Castellano. Showing up to drive the No. 52 were Max Schmidt, Castellano and Bob Michaelian, though Jim Michaelian was seen lurking about. Completed 112 laps; 595 laps behind the GT winner. Bob Michaelian set the team’s fastest lap of 1:55.373 shortly after midnight on Lap 64. That would be the car’s 64th lap; not the race’s. Between bodywork being peeled from the car and whatever else plagued the team, it spent more time in the garage than on the track, retiring about 30-min. before the race’s 12-hour mark. Such would unleash Jim Michaelian on an unsuspecting DIS media center, though his efforts at staying awake through the wee hours would prove to be excellent entertainment . . . silently so, of course.
No. 57 Bryan Mark Financial/Vin Solutions Camaro GT.R. The Stevenson Motorsports’ drivers - Robin Liddell, Andrew Davis and Jan Magnussen - finished 11th overall, fourth in class after starting 27th/12th overall/class. The team didn’t win yet still dominated the race, recording the most GT lead laps (217; 71-more than any other GT leader) with drivers Liddell (143 laps) and Davis (72 laps) also individually leading more race laps than any other GT driver – Liddell spending more time at the front of the GT class than did the DP leader (Barbosa/129) in front of that car class. Suffering from CC (cracked coccyx) and all, Magnussen nevertheless posted the team’s quickest lap time (1:50.540) in Lap 638. Davis and Liddell and the Stevenson Motorsports team – though understandably bummed by their late-race transmission failure – enter the rest of the 2010 Rolex 24 better positioned for a season-long GT championship run than in any previous season.
No. 63 Team Polizei/Remington/Future/Electronics/Freescale/Semiconductors/M3LRacing TRG Porsche GT (whew!) of Henri Richard, Zak Brown, Rene Villeneuve, Mark Thomas and Richard Dean might believe cross-country racing a tad easier after completing just 335 laps (1193 miles) of the GT race-winner’s 707 (2517 miles). Dean captured fast team lap with a 1:52.171 (Lap 248) but only after Richard earlier claimed the distinction of causing (well, officially, the blame for) the 2010 Rolex 24’s first car crash-causing yellow after skating from a still-wet West Horseshoe (Turn 5) and into a guardrail stall that brought out the yellow on (race leader’s) Lap 19. Repaired nearly two hours later and rejoining the fray (for the sake of seat time, one supposes) the team was dead last. Despite more stops (even of the hour kind) the team would soldier on to a far-better-than-last 33rd place overall (20th in class) by race end, after starting 38/23 overall/class.
No. 64 Siemens Gigaset JLowe Racing Porsche GT3. Driving were Jim Lowe, Jim Pace, Tim Sugden, Eric Lux and James Walker. Started 25th and 40th in class and overall; actually finished worse with a 29/44. Sugden copped the team’s lowest lap time at 1:54.559 on Lap 87; 13 laps before “kaput.” Born at TRG before moving to Farnbacher Loles and now an independent effort, the No. 64 was on jackstands and looking fairly prim at the rear of its hauler after completing all of 100 laps; a bunch (607) behind the GT winner. The car did the ol’ in-and-out as a result of yet another blown Porsche motor. (Though hardly having a scorebook, the 2010 Rolex 24 seems to have had more sour Porsche powertrains than at any time in recent memory). Owner/driver Lowe and his No. 1, Pace (1996 overall Rolex 24 winner), didn’t even get seat time.
No. 66 AXA TRG Porsche GT3, driven by Ted Ballou, Kelly Collins, Patrick Flanagan, Wolf Henzler and Andy Lally. Finishing third in GT, 10th overall, it started 5th and 20th in class/overall, respectively. The team’s flagship “66” number, Henzler led 28 laps and Lally led one while the team completed 691 total laps, trailing the GT winner by 12. Henzler pulled the team’s fastest lap (1:50.225) late-Saturday evening on Lap 532.Though Flanagan for the most part before the race looked like a worried man with a worried mind, he needn’t have been inasmuch as he was in the The Racers Group’s top-finishing car arising from a fleet of five Rolex 24 competitors. AXA signed for the 2010 season run, pairing Ballou and Lally.
No. 67 Flying Lizards TRG Porsche GT3, drivers Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Seth Neiman and Johannes van Overbeek finished ninth overall, second-in-class after qualifying 22nd/seventh overall/GT. Bergmeister (who with Long and some other guys won the 2009 Rolex 24 GT-class title) turned the team’s fastest lap (1:49.975) on Lap 680 of the car’s 703 total laps, 52/04 laps in arrears to the race/class winner. Compiling the race’s fourth-best race overall lead-lap count (112), van Overbeek led 64; Bergmeister led 42 and Long led 6. Winners of the race’s “Strange Bedfellows” award, the two Porsche GT powerhouses combined to take on the Rolex 24. The No. 67 sparred primarily with the No. 71 TRG Porsche GT3 and the Stevenson Camaros but twice fell from the scoreboard’s top when a broken shock spring and a recalcitrant throttle linkage started the car’s downhill slide from the top GT spot.
No. 69 FXDD SpeedSource Mazda RX-8. Drivers Emil Assentato, Jeff Segal, Nick Longhi, Anthony Lazzaro finished 28 overall and 16th in GT. Segal qualified (1:49.282) first in GT, led GT-class race’s first 6 laps of the team’s 488-lap total; 219 laps behind No. 70 sister car, GT-class winner. A SuperSegal also scored the team’s fast lap of 1:50.989 on Lap 214. Perhaps most famously remembered for barrel-rolling down NASCAR Turn-3 banking in 2008, SpeedSource’s sister car would kiss the tire barrier during the race’s first quarter (that’s six hours – longer than two “standard” sprint races) and then with Lazzaro at the wheel Sunday morning (8:28 a.m.) blow an engine (wait, a second Mazda rotary blowing? Surely a Mayan apocalypse type-of-thing).
No. 70 Castrol Syntec SpeedSource Mazda RX-8. Drivers: David Haskell, Sylvain Tremblay; Nick Ham, Jonathan Bomarito. Finished 8th overall; first in GT after starting 3rd in class; 18th overall. Completed 707 laps, finished 48 behind overall race winner; fastest lap was pegged by Bomarito on lap 546 (1:49.462). The No. 70 led 145 total laps, of which Ham compiled the greater (58), followed by Tremblay (51) and Bomarito (36), who brought the car to the checkered flag. In one of the few recent times Haskell took orders from any race engineer (Bill Riley), the No. 70 at one point was as many as seven laps down to the GT leader – time mostly lost earlier in the race due to an unspecified “vibration” fix. Strange but true: No. 40 Mazda RX-8 also had race-pausing vibration issue (another 2012 Mayan apocalyptic prophecy?) This Sunrise, Fla.-based SpeedSource race team is part of Mazda’s “ladder” system which Bomarito is climbing and, as of race end, Ham no longer is climbing – whether a desired leap or otherwise. The resultant PR blowup probably wasn’t expected, but that’s the deal with minefields. However, one thinks Tremblay will be able to power through this relatively minor matter when all things in life, especially his, are considered.
No. 71 Buoniconti Fund/University of Miami TRG Porsche GT3 with drivers Tim George Jr., Spencer Pumpelly, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Bobby Labonte. Qualified by Pumpelly (1:50.271) and starting 11th in GT the team ran 146 laps up front before fading to finish 16th overall, 9th in GT after turning 675 total laps - 32 laps down to eventual GT winner. Each of the team’s drivers contributed to the race’s second-highest lead lap total of 146 (Bernhard led 53 laps; Labonte 33; Pumpelly 27; Dumas 23; George Jr. 09). The team’s quickest lap belonged to Dumas’ on Lap 392 at a 1:50.519. Weeks before the race TRG owner Kevin Buckler said, “If anything bizarre can go wrong and will go wrong it’ll happen in the Rolex 24.” Prophetic words, those, because the race-leading No. 71 with Labonte at the wheel surrendered the GT lead by running out of gas. The car’s dashboard being unfamiliar to Labonte, he inherited an already activated reserve fuel switch that left the driver with no clue the fuel was exhausted until gone. Still more incredulous: neither Bernhard nor Dumas were penalized for jumping a race restart (the surest proof yet of the 2012 Mayan apocalypse being at hand).
No. 88 Orbit Racing Porsche GT3, qualified 6th/finished 17th in GT and 29th/21st overall. Five drivers Lance Willsey, Tom Papadopoulos, John Baker, Johnny Mowlem and Guy Cosmo fought for driving time in the Elixis/Autosport Design car as much they did the competition. Completing 444 laps, 263 in arrears to GT winner; fastest lap occurred on Lap 250 at 151.284 in the hands of Mowlem. Virtually owning the race’s 20-22 overall (GT top-10/11) spot through much of the competition Baker managed to complete all of four laps before the Orbit car trailed the plume of an engine oil-fire and retired on Lap 445 at 7:35 a.m. Sunday.
No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW M6. Drivers: Bill Auberlen, Paul Dalla Lana, Boris Said and Joey Hand. Completed 675 laps (-32 to GT-class winner), finishing 15th overall/eighth in class after starting 25/10 overall/class. Auberlen scored the team’s fastest lap (1:50.760) on Lap 622 (1:43 p.m. Sunday) and led four GT-class laps, while longtime BMW teammate Hand led six laps. In a kind-of-strange turn of events, the heat from the BMW M6 had a greater effect upon its drivers than the rest of the GT field, who after the December and January tests were all but certain the new Turner Motorsport car was going to be the hottest Rolex 24 GT car at the race. An East Horseshoe (Turn 3) clip of Auberlen’s nose by another car and an inadequately insulated floorboard and/or accelerator pedal caused a case of driver hot foot which tended toward drivers being reluctant to keep their feet in it.
No. 97 Stevenson Auto/LaLa Racing Camaro GT.R Driving were Gunter Schaldach, Mike Borkowski, Matt Bell and Brady Refenning. The Camaro finished 17th and 10th (overall/GT) after qualifying 35/20. In its debut Rolex Series GT-class outing the No. 97 compiled 661 laps (46-down to GT winner), with the team’s fast lap coming in at 1:53.351 (Bell) on Lap 346 after Borkowski threw down a 1:52.321 while qualifying (damn tight there, Bork) who’ll be teaming with Schaldach for the season’s remainder. Named the SPEED GT Rookie of the Year, Schaldach is the team principal and, no, “LaLa” doesn’t at all refer to some faraway land Bork’s been known to visit (or was that the Playboy Mansion? Then again, mere mortals don’t pass through those portals, either). “LaLa” is Schaldach’s daughter’s name, and she got it after Gunter took Holiday (or something like that). Schaldach generally is a fairly quiet fellow but apparently uses a decent stick (as in “shifter,” Bork). Nevertheless, Schaldach isn’t your everyday “sportsman” driver, not when he can lap inside of 7/10 of either fast guy.
We got us a real GT driving championship fight on our hands, boys and girls!