Grand AM » 28 January 2007
Grand-Am: Pontiacs lead at mid-race.
Despite the race being placed under red flag conditions approaching the half-way point, Pontiac could justifiably claim to have been dominating at the twelve-hour mark.
Although its rivals had no chance to redress the balance, the Pontiac-powered SAMAX/CITGO Daytona Prototype was leading the race overall at half-distance, while the #07 Pontiac GXP.R of Banner Racing headed the GT class.
Having worked its way up the order, the #11 SAMAX Riley took the fight to the #01 Ganassi Racing entry, swapping the lead back and forth in the twelfth hour. Ryan Dalziel was at the wheel when the race was neutralised, having shred driving responsibilities with Darren Manning, Patrick Carpentier and Milka Duno in a near-flawless performance.
“My stints have been okay,” Duno reported, “The car is good, although I had a little contact with some slower traffic my first time out. The team and the drivers are all working very hard and we are running well up toward the front. There is a long time to go and we hope that we can keep our good luck for the rest of the race.”
Four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon, together with SunTrust team-mates Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli and Jan Magnussen were also running in the top five, after fighting back from early race gremlins.
"The race started and Max got the lead, but Wayne got in and then the car had some concerns so we had to pit to fix it," Gordon explained, "We lost some positions - in NASCAR, you would have been out of it, but we have a long way to go. We need to hang in there and not have any other problems.
“I had a great dice with Juan Pablo Montoya and the #23 car, and there are slower cars that are fighting just as hard as those guys that are battling for position, so it's a blast out there so far. It will get even more exciting when the rain comes."
Trying to get into the top ten is the #84 74 Ranch Resort Pontiac Riley of Wally Dallenbach, Katherine Legge, George Robinson and Paul Dallenbach.
“We had a tough start, and lost a nose in the Bus Stop and had to come in and put on a new one, so that put us down a little,” Paul Dallenbach said, “We are able to run 1m 47s pretty consistently, but the car is a little unstable under braking. We are coming back, but we need to make it to the morning and then start racing.”
Also heading into the top ten was the #76 of Tracy Krohn, Boris Said and Nic Jonsson.
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