Chevy gets egg on face in Rolex 24
It wasn't supposed to play out this way at the Daytona 24 Hour (sponsored by Rolex), of course. After all, GM Racing cut a sweetheart of a deal with Grand-Am honcho Jim France to raise Chevrolet's visibility in the series by "assisting" the denizens of Daytona Beach in rewriting the rule book to accommodate trick "Corvette" bodywork in the premier Daytona Prototype class. So it was a fait accompli that the DP "Corvettes" would run away with the event, right? Wrong.
|GM managed to convince the France family to make their Daytona Prototypes look like fake Corvettes but they ended up getting egg on their face because Ford destroyed them in the race track finishing 1-2-3. So how many Corvettes did they sell on the Monday after? Maybe fans went and bought Fords instead.|
Instead, Michael Shank - in his ninth try at winning the Daytona 24 Hour - won the race with road race ace and now Penske NASCAR Sprint Cup driver A.J. Allmendinger leading the charge in the team's No. 60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford/Riley Daytona Prototype, along with co-drivers Ozz Negri, John Pew and a very on-form Justin Wilson.
And to give GM Racing operatives an even bigger headache, the second-place finisher was the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford-powered Riley driven by Ryan Dalziel, Enzo Potolicchio, Alex Popow, and endurance standouts Alan McNish and Lucas Luhr. And the third-place finisher was the No. 6 Michael Shank Team car driven by Jorge Goncalvez, Michael McDowell, Felipe Nasr and Gustavo Yacaman, giving Ford-powered entries a clean sweep of the Daytona 24 Hour podium, the 50th Anniversary of the race.
Allmendinger drove brilliantly in his race-ending stint, but his day got a little hairy at times. In the "I'm not backing down for your resume" moment of the race, Allmendinger rubbed fenders with Alan McNish in a very entertaining gut/balls check.
"I'm so worn out," Allmendinger said afterward. "We wanted to win this for Shank. The motor was so fast. I am so drained. I knew those last three hours I was going to have to go flat out. It was fun. When Dalziel got in the car... I knew I was going to have to drive my ass off. I pushed really hard to build up a gap and take those last 10 laps to manage that gap."
Juan Pablo Montoya ended-up fourth overall, one lap down, in the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Target/TELMEX BMW/Riley, marking the first time since 2005 that a Ganassi car was not on the podium. Montoya shared the drive with IndyCar's Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti, and NASCAR's Jamie McMurray.
And the much-touted "Corvette" DPs? The No. 5 Action Express Racing DP driven by Darren Law, Christian Fittipaldi and David Donohue lost a cylinder on the opening lap but clawed their way back to 5th overall. But the No. 10 Sun Trust Racing entry with Max Angelelli, Ricky Taylor and Ryan Briscoe blew-up real good on lap 14. Chalk it all up to a giant Not Good for GM Racing, especially after the hype and all of the "wink-wink" machinations that went on behind the scenes. Autoextremist.com