RAINY START!

Pole Sitter No.10 DP under wraps on Pre-Grid. Photo by Lynne Huntting

Pole Sitter No.10 DP under wraps on Pre-Grid. Photo by Lynne Huntting

The rain came down on the Pre-Grid at Daytona International Speedway for the Pre-Race activities surrounding the Rolex 24 at Daytona. All but one of the Daytona Prototypes were covered.

The sole brave DP was 2009 champion, No.99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley which started last in a field of 15 DP’s.

No.99 DP braving the rainy Pre-Grid. Photo by Lynne Huntting

No.99 DP braving the rainy Pre-Grid. Photo by Lynne Huntting

With the majority of the field under wraps and drivers staying dry and hidden or buried under rain gear, it was difficult to have the pageantry which normally precedes what is considered to be the premiere American endurance sports car race.

Pirelli, the official tire of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16, brought 10,000 tires. Three thousand are rain tires. I’ve been assured by TOM GRAVALOS, Pirelli Vice President Marketing, Motorsports and OE Sales, that even if there was a steady rain for the entire 24-hour race, there would be sufficient tires for the field. A set of rain tires can last at least a couple of hours: the water cools the tires, drivers are racing at slower speeds, and are more careful.

Despite the rain, the race started on time, with the first six laps under caution.

At the end of Hour One, DANE CAMERON/No.2 Beyer Chevrolet Crawford DP was leading the race overall, with MARTIN RAGGINGER/No.23 Alex Job Racing Porsche GT3 Cup leading GT class, in fifteenth place. There were six lead changes overall/DP during the first hour: Pole Sitter MAX ANGELELLI/No.10 Sun Trust Racing Ford Dallara-under caution; SCOTT PRUETT/No.01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Racing BMW Riley-Lap 7; OSWALDO NEGRI Jr/No.60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley Laps 8-11; MEMO GIDLEY/No.77 Doran Racing Ford Dallara Laps 12-19; and Cameron, Laps 20-22.

Unfortunately the live Timing and Scoring isn’t set up to show the lead changes in the GT category.

JOHNNY MOWLEM/No.88 Orbit Racing Porsche GT3 Cup GT blew a right rear tire early in the race. Gravalos said initial inspection by the Pirelli tire engineers indicated the cause was debris on track. Sounds like tire forensics.

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