Rolex 24 updates
Clock-Stoppers: Significant Delays in Rolex 24 History (Updated Sunday at 8:25 a.m.)
Sunday morning's caution-extended fog for two hours, 47 minutes was not the longest delay in Rolex 24 history. Here are a few of the previous Rolex 24s that had significant delays:
1976: The race was stopped for two hours, 40 minutes, 37 seconds due to contaminated fuel. Red flag waved at 10:10 a.m., shortly after the 19 hour mark. The race was restarted using the scoring from the 18 hour mark, making the official time of the red flag 3:54:05.
1983: The race was red-flagged for 53 minutes due to heavy rain.
1989: the race was red-flagged for three hours, 58 minutes due to fog.
2004: After running under caution for three hours, the race was red-flagged for an additional two hours, 52 minutes due to heavy rain.
'Wave'by' Enhances Rolex Series Competition (Updated Sunday at 8:20 a.m.)
GRAND-AM's yellow flag procedure has included elements such as a wave-by to pick up the overall leader. In addition, and a class split separates the DP cars from the GT cars before restarts. In the past, that procedure has created opportunities for some GT cars under certain conditions to make up a lap on their class leader. Throughout 2010 suggestions from DP class teams and drivers for an enhancement that would allow them to gain a lap back. GRAND-AM not want to change these rules during the 2010 race season, for reasons of fairness and consistency.
For 2011, GRAND-AM made a single change to the yellow procedure - allowing the cars involved in the final wave-by to pit regardless of class. Cars that are waved by can now gain track position quickly, then pit, and in most cases rejoin the race ahead of the pack and close up again. This gives them the required service late in the cycle, and gives them a lap back on the leader. It is not always available at all times. It depends on the actions of the leader, the positioning in the queue, and the strategic plans of the teams.
The stability of the Daytona Prototype rules -- and the excellence of the teams -- has created cars that are durable for 24 hours. Now adding this strategic element enhances even further the number of cars racing on the lead lap. GRAND-AM's core principle is to deliver the best racing for the fans, to deliver on the promise of that ticket purchase which includes close, nose-to-tail and side by side racing.
Sunoco Challenge Winner on Sidelines (Updated Sunday at 7 a.m.)
Ross Kaiser was waiting behind the pits Sunday, hoping that the Doran team is able to repair the No. 77 Office Depot Ford/Riley to return to the race.
"It's a seriously tough race," said Kaiser, who won the coveted Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge by outpointing competitors in four major Sunoco-fueled British racing championships. "In my first stint, I ran wide at the chicane. These cars are not great in the grass and it dug in and it ripped the nose off, so they had to do some work. That lost us a load of laps. That's a shame. The guys did a great job. They fixed the car and got it back out on the track, and it was running good. I was getting some rest in the motor home, trying to get an hour of sleep, and they had a problem with the car. They fixed it and got it back out and had another problem with the suspension. The car is in the garage, and they're going to look at it this morning and try to get it back out."
Extended Fog Leads to Extended Caution Period (Updated Sunday at 6:55 a.m.)
Caution waved for the 16th time shortly before the end of the 14th hour Sunday morning near 5:30 a.m. During what was expected to be a short yellow, fog settled in and the caution continued through the 15th hour. With the sun coming up near 7 a.m., GRAND-AM competition director Mark Raffauf explained that before going back to green, there will be a wave-by and the DP and GT fields will be split.
During the caution, GRAND-AM switched pace cars so that the primary BMW could be refueled.
Broken Gear Sets Turner Motorsport Back (Updated Sunday at 6:30 a.m.)
Turner Motorsport set the early pace in the GT class at the Rolex 24 before falling out of contention.
"A tooth broke off a gear in the transaxle," said team owner Will Turner. "We went back and rebuilt it, and put the car back out there.
Long Leads First Laps at Daytona (Updated Sunday at 6:20 a.m.)
Tom Long took over Dempsey Racing's No. 40 Fresh From Florida Mazda RX-8 leading in GT, and kept the car in front throughout his stint before turning the car over to Charles Espenlaub - who also exited the pits running first in the class.
"It was fantastic to lead my first laps in the Rolex Series at Daytona," Long said. "The Dempsey organization has put together a great car. It's such a joy to be out there with these guys. It was getting slippery near the end with the dew settling in. I'm speechless - leading the Rolex 24 at Daytona. It's mind-blowing to think of the talent of drivers out there, the talent of the teams, and to think that we are competing for this thing. I just hope we're there at the end."
Long led his first Rolex Series laps last June in the Sahlen's Six Hours of Watkins Glen, when he ran with the No. 68 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8.