Grand AM »

Pruett, Ganassi lead through 18 hours at Daytona.


The 46th Rolex 24 at Daytona moved into its final quarter with a familiar face out front, as Scott Pruett, Juan Montoya, Dario Franchitti and Memo Rojas kept the defending champion #01 Chip Ganassi Racing entry at the head of a still closely-matched field.

The Telmex-backed machine had been towards the front when the race went through half-distance, Montoya only giving up the advantage when he made a scheduled stop just before the twelve-hour mark, but continued to run laps anything up to half-a-second faster than the race-leading #99 GAINSCO Riley of Alex Gurney when he resumed. Running in second place, quickly cut the #99's lead to just over a couple of seconds, but only moved back into P1 when Gurney pitted.

With the reigning series champion resuming in fifth, Montoya's closest challenge came from the #6 Michael Shank Racing car of Burt Frisselle, with Johnny O'Connell - making his debut in the #91 Riley-Matthews 'works' entry - and Penske-Taylor's Kurt Busch as the race moved into its 360th lap. Further back, the recovering SunTrust car - which had had the mystery electrical problem which stranded Michael Valiante at the end of pit-road solved by a deft push of the screen wiper button(!) - was running ninth pending its next scheduled stop, one ahead of the #60 MSR entry, which was mounting its own comeback in the hands of Graham Rahal.

Cars continued to come and go from behind the wall throughout the 13th hour, with Fabrizio Gollin returning the #77 Doran entry to the fray, while Tracy Krohn went the opposite way following a crunching spin - and clash with the #07 Banner Racing Pontiac that had led GT - in the #75 Riley bearing his name. Ed Carpenter also spun, but the #03 Vision machine emerged unscathed.

Despite encountering heavy traffic from time to time, Montoya managed to keep his nose clean and only ceded the lead when making his next pit-stop. That promoted Frisselle and MSR to top spot, but the #6's advantage lasted just four minutes before JPM was able to reclaim P1 when the blue-and-black machine pitted. With O'Connell and Busch also pitting that allowed Gurney to move back into second spot, with Frisselle, Ryan Hunter-Reay (in for O'Connell) and Busch sorting themselves into the top five.

The second Ganassi car, however, had been on the receiving end of a whack from Edwards' Banner Pontiac, having come to a halt to avoid collecting a spun Krohn Riley. The Pontiac was then rear-ended by Krohn, leaving both ends of the #07 damage and the bonnet up across the windscreen. Remarkably, strong work by the Banner crew had Kelly Collins back on track as the hour ended, even if the #07's bid for victory appeared over.

Also in the wars, the GT pace-setting #70 Mazda was reported with broken tail lights, while the #21 Matt Connolly Porsche returned to pit-lane dragging bodywork and #43 Team Sahlen equivalent followed with front-end damage. The #72 Autohaus Pontiac was also a visitor to the garage area after Craig Stanton clipped the wall and left the car with spooky handling that required a couple of trips to correct, while Farnbacher was shorn of one of its cars when Giacomo Petrobelli suffered a blow-out and badly damaged the front of the #89 Porsche.

The rival TRG line-up continued to lead, with the #67, being handled by Bryan Sellers and Romain Dumas, out front from its #66 sister car, with Richard Westbrook and Andy Lally at the wheel, once the #70 pitted to fix its light problem.

Among the DP's the #3 Southard Riley-Lexus was a major casualty after Ted Christopher hit the wall, shredding a tyre in the process and requiring a spell behind the wall before resuming. While the #3 required a second spell of inactivity, however, the #58 Brumos Riley returned to the fray with David Donohue at the wheel hoping that its fuel issues had been cured.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Pruett/Franchitti/Montoya/Rojas - Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Lexus   [pic credit: grand-am.com]
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]

Start the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.




© 1999 - 2014 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.