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DATE News (chronologically)
01/31/10
gaRolex
Rolex 24: 18 Hour Report  
Leading No. Michael Shank Racing Riley Ford
Of all 24-hour motorsport races, night is longest for the Rolex 24 At Daytona which, unlike the other endurance races that are scheduled during summer, is run in winter when daylight is shortest. As dawn arrived close to the 17-hour mark of the race, a little more than 13 hours of driving had taken place under the lights and the atmosphere on the track was buoyed by the sunlight filtering through the cloud cover.

As the cars appeared in the emerging daylight, it was satisfying to see how many were still running strong. It was hour 16 when Joao Barbosa led the race in the #9 Action Express Racing Porsche/Riley, followed by Max Papis in the #01 Telmex BMW/Riley, and Brian Frisselle driving the #6 Michael Shank Racing Ford/Riley in third place. By that point there had been 45 lead changes within the 1,765 miles driven. Spencer Pumpelly in the #71 TRG Porsche GT3 led the GT category, with Jorg Bergmeister in the #67 Shore Tel/Openwave Porsche GT3 in second and Sylvan Tremblay in the #70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 in third place.

The Rolex 24 At Daytona is never uneventful - racing incidents and mechanical failures are to be expected. Around midnight the #77 McDonald's Ford/Dallara had transmission problems and was in the garage for over two hours before it rejoined the fray, while at that hour the top-four Daytona Prototypes were all within five seconds of each other. Driver changes and pit work became routine for most teams, while those cars that spun or had contact with moving or stationary objects of course lost precious time in the pits making repairs. The crew members who persevered in the pits servicing the cars - during routine stops or in performing Herculean repairs in the least possible amount of time - rarely get the share of praise and admiration which they deserve for putting aside their exhaustion to work through the night to maintain their machines.

NASCAR veteran Dario Franchitti, driving the #02 Target BMW/Riley, detailed his approach to getting rest between stints at the wheel: "It's a catch-22 situation. I want to watch the race, because it's exciting - I'm a race fan and I want to see what's happening. On the other hand you've got to distance yourself and just focus on your job. So I'll watch for a little while and sleep. I've got six hours until I get back into the car. I'll probably eat, watch some TV and sleep, then get ready for another go in the middle of the night."

Jimmie Johnson, another NASCAR veteran, expressed a similar sentiment: "I would sit there all night and watch -- the only thing that helps me is when the telecast goes off.I have to do my part to rest."

At 5:30 a.m. the dense air was full with the sound of screaming engines along the front straight and the melodic and rhythmic sound of up shifting and downshifting cars as they negotiated the infield turns. Action was as intense at this hour as it would be at any point during the race. All awaited the dawn to see in detail what condition the field would be in after a torturous night. Max Papis in the #01 Telmex BMW/Riley was leading Joao Barbosa in the #09 Action Express Racing Porsche Riley followed by Mark Patterson in the #6 Michael Shank Racing Ford/Riley. Andrew Davis was leading in the #57 Stevenson Automotive Group/BryanMark Camaro GT.R with Spencer Pumpelly chasing him in the #71 TRG Porsche GT3 and Seth Neiman in the #67 Shore Tel/Openwave Porsche GT3 running in third.

At this point in the race the signs of wear and tear were showing on both machines and men: electrical issues had affected the #10 Sun Trust Ford/Dallara which was running on its fourth gearbox and replaced halfshaft; the #75 Krohn Racing Ford/Lola was running in the top five when it pitted to replace brake pads and repair the right front upright; and on lap 497 the front cowling of Burt Frisselle's #60 Crown Royal XR Ford/Riley flew off the car causing a full course yellow. Teams were concentrating on holding their positions for the later hours when they would begin their major push in the closing hours in hopes of a podium finish.

It was AJ Allmendinger leading at 8:30 a.m. in the #6 Michael Shank Racing Ford /Riley. Second was Mike Rockenfeller in the #9 Action Express Racing Porsche/Riley, which, after 528 laps, led its 140th lap -- more laps than any other car at that point. Three-time champion Scott Pruett in the #1 Telmex BMW/Riley was running third. In the GT category Spencer Pumpelly in the #71 TRG Porsche GT3 led. with Jorg Bergmeister in the Shore Tel/Openwave Porsche GT3 in second and Sylvan Tremblay in the #70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 in third.

As the clock counts down to the 3:30 p.m. finish, teams begin planning their strategy for the closing hours of the race. Preservation of the machines is paramount, but the drivers are in it to win it so patience and aggression have to find a fine balance.

Hour 18 Standings

Pos

No. CP Current Driver Laps Behind Gap Team/Car
1 6 1 AJ Allmendinger 552 0.000 0.000 Michael Shank Racing Ford / Riley
2 9 2 Mike Rockenfeller 552 13.509 13.509 Action Express Racing Porsche / Riley
3 01 3 Scott Pruett 552 29.315 15.806 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW / Riley
4 95 4 Ryan Hunter-Reay 549 3 LAPS 3 LAPS Crown Royal/NPN Racing BMW / Riley
5 60 5 Burt Frisselle 547 5 LAPS 2 LAPS Michael Shank Racing Ford / Riley
6 99 6 Jon Fogarty 545 7 LAPS 2 LAPS GAINSCO/ Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet / Riley
7 75 7 Nic Jonsson 538 14 LAPS 7 LAPS Krohn Racing Ford / Lola
8 71 1 Timo Bernhard 523 29 LAPS 15 LAPS TRG Porsche GT3
9 59 8 David Donohue 522 30 LAPS 1 LAP Brumos Racing Porsche / Riley
10 67 2 Johannes van Overbeek 519 33 LAPS 3 LAPS TRG/ Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche GT3
11 70 3 Nick Ham 518 34 LAPS 1 LAP SpeedSource Mazda RX-8
12 7 9 Ian James 516 36 LAPS 2 LAPS Starworks Motorsport BMW / Riley
13 97 4 Brady Refenning 514 38 LAPS 2 LAPS Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R
14 66 5 Patrick Flanagan 512 40 LAPS 2 LAPS TRG Porsche GT3
15 10 10 Ricky Taylor 508 44 LAPS 4 LAPS SunTrust Racing Ford / Dallara
16 55 11 Tucker/ Collard/ Bouchut/ Maassen/ Bourdais 500 52 LAPS 8 LAPS Crown Royal/NPN Racing BMW / Riley
17 43 6 Joe Nonnamaker 500 52 LAPS 1:09.476 Team Sahlen Mazda RX-8
18 40 7 Scott Maxwell 499 53 LAPS 1 LAP Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8
19 94 8 Bill Auberlen 498 54 LAPS 1 LAP Turner Motorsport BMW M6 / Riley
20 44 9 Jeroen Bleekemolen 497 55 LAPS 1 LAP Magnus Racing Porsche GT3
21 57 10 Jan Magnussen 494 58 LAPS 3 LAPS Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R
22 69 11 Anthony Lazzaro 488 64 LAPS 6 LAPS SpeedSource Mazda RX-8
23 23 12 Claudio Burtin 480 72 LAPS 8 LAPS Alex Job Racing Porsche GT3
24 32 13 Rob Finlay 469 83 LAPS 11 LAPS Corsa Team PR1 BMW M6
25 22 14 Kees Nierop 469 83 LAPS 1:46.587 Bullet Racing Porsche GT3
26 41 15 Leh Keen 457 95 LAPS 12 LAPS Dempsey Racing/Team Seattle Mazda RX-8
27 77 12 Derek Johnston 455 97 LAPS 2 LAPS Doran Racing Ford / Dallara
28 14 16 Seth Thomas 450 102 LAPS 5 LAPS Autometrics Motorsports Porsche GT3
29 88 17 John Baker 444 108 LAPS 6 LAPS Orbit Racing Porsche GT3
30 18 18 Bruce Ledoux III 386 166 LAPS 58 LAPS TRG/ Guardian Angel Porsche GT3
31 48 19 Bryce Miller 380 172 LAPS 6 LAPS Miller Barrett Racing Porsche GT3
32 90 13 Darren Manning 346 206 LAPS 34 LAPS Spirit of Daytona Racing Porsche / Coyote
33 2 14 Dane Cameron 319 233 LAPS 27 LAPS Beyer Racing Chevrolet / Crawford
34 19 20 Sean Paul Breslin 291 261 LAPS 28 LAPS MCM/Black Flag Racing Corvette
35 20 21 Markus Palttala 276 276 LAPS 15 LAPS Matt Connolly Motorsports Porsche GT3
36 02 15 Juan Pablo Montoya 249 303 LAPS 27 LAPS Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW / Riley
37 07 22 Paul Edwards 201 351 LAPS 48 LAPS Godstone Ranch Motorsports/Team MBR Corvette
38 63 23 Henri Richard 163 389 LAPS 38 LAPS TRG Porsche GT3
39 21 24 Gabrio Rosa 148 404 LAPS 15 LAPS Matt Connolly Motorsports Pontiac GTO.R
40 46 25 Richard Zahn 125 427 LAPS 23 LAPS Autohaus Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R
41 52 26 Giuseppe Castellano 112 440 LAPS 13 LAPS Wil Mar Racing Ferrari 430 Challenge
42 64 27 James Walker 100 452 LAPS 12 LAPS JLowe Racing Porsche GT3
43 30 28 Todd Lamb 69 483 LAPS 31 LAPS Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda RX-8
44 42 29 Joe Sahlen 27 525 LAPS 42 LAPS Team Sahlen Mazda RX-8
0 08 30 Poordad / Sigal / West / Yasukawa 0 Sigalsport Ferrari 430 Challenge

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