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Grand-Am: Lexus vs Pontiac.

Both Pontiac and Lexus are on the cusp of the Rolex 24 at Daytona victory spoils, with the two manufacturers evenly poised as the 56 competitors left head into the second half of the race.

Benefiting from strength in numbers, both Lexus and Pontiac hold six of the top ten positions at the 15 hour mark with all six of those featuring inside the top seven.

Indeed, having seen Pontiac look strong at the halfway mark, Lexus have struck back thanks largely to the performance of the two Chip Ganassi cars that hold first and fifth, the former car of Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Pruett and Salvador Duran leading comfortably, with the latter car of Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon and Memo Rojas on the trail of a comeback after being delayed when Rojas spun in third.

It has been a strong day for the comparatively out-numbered Lexus, who have entered six cars this year compared to Pontiac's nine, suffering only a single retirement for the Southard car on lap 214.

The third Lexus to appear inside the top ten, AIM Autosport are having an impressive race, holding onto seventh place with Mark Wilkins, Brian Frisselle, Burt Frisselle and David Empringham, the team being one of only a few not to hit any major problems.

Still, it could have looked a lot better for Lexus had the Michael Shank Racing car been able to maintain their early lead. Instead, the vehicle piloted by AJ Allmendinger, Paul Tracy, Ian James and Henri Zogaib fell back outside the top 30 after hitting problems before the quarter mark.

Nonetheless, the second Michael Shank car of Oswaldo Negri Jr, Mark Patterson, Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish Jr have had a better time and currently battling their way back into the top twenty in search of a top ten finish once they have regained positions ahead of the GT cars.

As for Pontiac, their challenge has been spearheaded by SAMAX, who held second and sixth places at 15 hours, while SunTrust were also representing the GM brand in third at that point.

Elsewhere the results have been more patchy, with the Lowe's Riley that led early on now outside the top ten, while both Krohn Racing cars, the Robinson Racing car and GAINSCO have all hit problems to drop them out of contention.

Nonetheless, the overall victory looks as though it will fall either way of the Japanese or American brand, with Ganassi and SAMAX currently leading the respective offensives.

Still, victory could yet come Porsche's way, having persevered with the second Brumos Racing entry of Hurley Haywood, JC France, Joao Barbosa, Roberto Moreno and David Donohue, the team taking up the mantle dropped by the leading car after it was pushed out of the race. They are currently disputing third place and could capitalise should others hit problems.

Ford too are involved inside the top ten, albeit at the lower end, with Finlay and Doran currently eighth and tenth.


Related Pictures

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Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. GRAND-AM Championship Weekend Presented by BMW at Lime Rock Park. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. Continental Tire Sports Car Festival. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Action. VisitFlorida.com Sports Car 250 at Road America. Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series [Pic credit: Grand AM]
Starworks Motorsport BMW/Riley duo Brendon Hartley and Scott Mayer celebrate their first Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series victory at Road America [Pic credit: Grand AM]
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype (left) to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Alex Gurney and Jo Fogarty, drivers of the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP (right) finish in second place. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
John Edwards and Robin Liddell, drivers of the # 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R., race to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the Grand Touring (GT) class of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Juan Pablo Montoya, Memo Rojas, Scott Pruett and Charlie Kimball, co-drivers of the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates TELMEX/Target Ford BMW Riley celebrate their win in victory lane at the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 27, 2013 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
Rolex Series action [Pic credit: Grand-Am]
Alex Popow and Sebastian Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Ford Riley, celebrate in Victory Lane after wininng the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Alex Popow and Sebastien Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Soloson Ford Riley, celebrate after winning the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The winning #60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley car is brought into victory lane after a gruelling 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona. [Picture Credit: Daytona International Speedway]
Action Express win the Rolex 24 [Pic credit: Grand Am]
Derek Johnston [Pic credit: Grand Am]
Vic Elford, the 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona Grand Marshal (Photo credit: Motorsports Images and Archives)
The No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Porsche Coyote that will be tested by 2009 Radical European Masters Champion Derek Johnston at Virginia International Raceway
Max Angelelli and Brian Friselle win at Daytona [Pic credit: Grand Am Media]
Alex Gurney/Jon Fogarty - GAINSCO Bob Stallings Racing Riley-Pontiac   [pic credit: Grand-Am]

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