The three main protagonists in this year's Rolex Series each showed their hand in the early going at Daytona, although it was Lexus that held the six-hour advantage over rivals Pontiac and Porsche.

Six-time Rolex 24 winner Scott Pruett led the field into the second quarter of the race, as the #01 Telmex-Target Riley-Lexus maintained the position it had held for much of the previous few hours. The #01, shared by Salvador Duran and Juan Montoya, led a stretch of 91 consecutive laps before giving up the lead to the #58 Porsche-powered Brumos/Red Bull entry during a scheduled pit-stop.

With the #02 Ganassi entry of Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon and Memo Rojas shadowing the #01 for much of the opening five hours, and the #6 Michael Shank Racing shared by AJ Allmendinger, Paul Tracy, Henri Zogaib and Ian James also taking turns in the lead, Lexus-powered cars led much of the opening stint, taking 145 of the first 185 laps in 2007, having also headed the final 168 laps a year ago.

"We had a great start and managed to move up quite a bit in the early going, which was nice," Dixon commented, "The car is performing perfectly right now and it was solid through the first stint and midway through the second. Unfortunately, I locked up the left front tire and flat-spotted it down to the cords. We lost a few seconds but, other than that, it's just been the usual wear and tear of this race."

Team owner Chip Ganassi wasn't getting carried away, despite seeing his two cars run at the head of the field from the opening hour.

"You know, this is a long race, and I think, to this point, it's about the same as it's been in years past," he said, "But the point is, when you've been in this many races in your life, it's almost like you don't feel anything really. You've done this so many times, you know how racing works and the amount of patience required to be successful."

Pontiac-powered cars led the 69-entry field to the green flag, and continued to have a strong presence in the top ten after six hours - just not with the car most had been expecting. Sadly, after Alex Gurney had led the first four laps, contact with a stricken GT car left the polesitter to limp around to the pits for extensive repairs, dropping the #99 GAINSCO Riley-Pontiac well down the order.

In its place, however, came a handful of other Pontiac-powered machines, led by the #91 Lowe's-backed entry, which led early on and continued to be a thorn in Ganassi's side until the sixth hour.

"I had a good run," reigning NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson said of his stint behind the wheel, "I was trying to keep pace with Montoya - on some laps, I would gain and, on some others, I would lose, but the gap was pretty close. The traffic with all of these cars really keeps you focused, as I am used to running around with here with guys going about the same speed.

"The track, off the line, is pretty dirty and that will make it hard to pass as the night goes on, and there is the possibility of rain, but I am looking forward to it. The last time I raced in the 24 it rained most of the night. The team has a good set-up in the rain and we should be strong."

As the sixth hour ticked past, it was Porsche giving the Ganassi team the hardest time, with David Donohue and Darren Law - the first two drivers in the #58 Red Bull Brumos Riley-Porsche - having pushed the car into second position overall after three hours, and team-mates Scott Sharp and Buddy Rice helping to keep it there, enjoying spells in the lead when Pruett and co pitted.

The #59 sister car, started by Hurley Haywood and currently being driven by Joao Barbosa, was up to fifth overall, having taken up the mantle once held by the similarly-powered #39 Cheever Racing Crawford shared by Eddie Cheever, Christian Fittipaldi, Sascha Maassen and Emmanuel Collard.

It hasn't all been plain sailing for the various Porsche Daytona Prototypes, however, with the Ruby Tuesday/Alex Job Racing Crawford - which made such a strong debut by leading for almost 15 hours this time last year - suffering electrical problems early in the event, leading to an alternator replacement and a lowly 19th position after six hours.

The #47 TruSpeed Motorsport Riley-Porsche had a transmission oil leak and fell back to 32nd place after three hours, while the #00 Vision Racing Crawford also lost an alternator, and is currently running in 38th, having dropped as low as 66th.

Porsche is enjoying better fortune in the GT class, however, with the #74 Tafel Racing and #85 Farnbacher Loles 911 GT3 Cup model running ahead of five other
Porsches in the top six positions. Tafel's Wolf Henzler took the lead on the first lap and the team has maintained his advantage, except for pit-stop position shuffles, for much of the race.

Tafel Racing also occupies third position in class with its #72 entry, with the first non-Porsche runner being the #07 Banner Racing Pontiac GPX. Banner is enjoying a largely trouble-free run, with both the #06 and #07 cars lapping consistently in the top ten.

"I had a little trouble exiting the pits when I got in for my first stint," admitted Leighton Reese, "but we managed to move up and the cars are really running well. It is tough when you get a good lap going and you have to yield to a DP car, and there is a long way to go."

Newly-signed GM factory driver Lawson Aschenbach started the #30 Racers Edge GXP.R from the back of the grid after technical issues suffered in practice, but was up to 54th overall, and 27th in class, by the six-hour mark.

"We had a driveshaft break in the first practice session of the weekend and then again just nine laps into the race," Aschenbach revealed, "It is a tough way to start a 24-hour race, spending nearly 45 minutes in the garage. I was just getting into a rhythm on the track, letting the early jitters and traffic sort itself out, and was about to start picking off the guys in front of me when the driveshaft went."