It’s warmed up to 67 degrees F, with some clouds. Fans are milling around everywhere except the grandstands, which show no signs of life.
The Grand-Am Rolex 24 at Daytona has been a near-sprint race for hours, and it appears it will be a three-hour dash for cash…or Rolex watch.
After leading for four straight hours, the No.58 Brumos Porsche Riley Daytona Prototype team was passed by charging No.01 Lexus Riley of the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. The lead wasn’t held long, and with a driver change, another different leader emerged – Antonio Garcia in No.58. Third in DP is the sister Brumos Porsche.
In GT, the race was not much less of a tight battle, with the TRG and Farnbacher Loles Racing teams battling it out with each other. TRG has prevailed most recently, having the top two GT Porsches in eighth and ninth positions overall. Farnbacher Loles Racing No.87 Porsche GT3 Cup car fell back three laps after suffering a broken drive shaft. Third in GT is now Wright Motorsports Porsche GT3.
The stats continue to stagger. At the end of Hour 21, there has been 48 lead changes among 22 drivers in nine cars. The cautions continue to pile on, with 22 for 90 laps, out of 644.
The SpeedSource No.70 Mazda RX-8 team was fast all weekend leading up to the race, was on the GT pole and led the first 21 minutes and for the first 21 minutes with pole sitter SYLVAIN TREMBLAY. He pitted for tire change, but crew checked the engine and found a ruptured fuel cell. This put them back 41 laps in the garage, with Tremblay and team engineer/driver DAVID HASKELL, hands on with the fabrication and installation of a new fuel cell.
During the night the team battled back, gaining six laps. Then the car began experiencing more problems, diagnosed as header, half shaft and now they think it could be the differential. The car, which doesn’t have a scratch on it, is behind the wall. JONATHAN BOMARITO, one of the other drivers, said once the team fell so far behind, they decided to just go out and have fun. The goal now is to take the checkered flag, but Bomarito is being realistic about those chances.
Bomarito, who comes from a successful run in the Atlantic Series, is making the transition into sports cars. “It’s some of the best racing I’ve ever done.” He said he’s learned a lot how to prepare himself for next year’s Rolex 24. “It’s a whole different mind set.