DARIO FRANCHITTI/No.02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley Daytona Prototype pipped A.J. ALLMENDINGER/No.6 Michael Racing Ford Riley DP in the waning laps of Night Practice for the Rolex 24 at Daytona. MSR has been dominant in all the practice sessions for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16, missing the DP pole position on the last lap by 0.419 seconds. Third overall in the dark was Franchitti’s sister car, No.01. As soon as each session is complete, the Grand-Am live timing and scoring instantly reverts from individual driver transponder information to team listing.

Thirteen of the 15 DP’s took to the track for at least one lap. Besides No.99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley, there was another DP in the garage, but for a better reason. Brumos Racing sat out the two-hour session to do an engine change for the race, and to get into race trim. This car won the race last year. No.9 Action Express Racing Porsche Riley, a sort of sister car to Brumos, ran a lap and came in to perform routine engine and drive train change for the race.

SpeedSource marches on! The No.70 Mazda RX-8 was again fastest in Night Practice, thirteenth overall of the 41 cars on course. TRG/Flying Lizards Porsche GT3 was second fastest, in P14, followed by Corsa Team PR1 BMW M6.

Twenty-eight of 30 GT cars were on course. No.23 Alex Job Racing Porsche GT3 Cup is still working on repairs after a huge hit in morning practice while MARTIN RAGGINGER was driving. No.08 Sigalsport Ferrari F430 CH hasn’t been on track at all this weekend.

No.2 Beyer Racing Chevrolet Crawford DP missed Qualifying. It had been hit by a GT car in morning practice and was being repaired, but did get out for Night Practice, finishing eleventh overall. No.95 Crown Royal/NPN BMW Riley had a similar story, being hit in the nose in the first practice. Owner SCOTT TUCKER said it was cosmetic with some internal damage. The team beavered away and finally got out near the end of Night Practice, sixth fastest overall.

No.7 Starworks Motorsports BMW Riley DP in Night Practice, edging No.40 Mazda RX-8 GT. Photo by Mark Weber

BILL LESTER/No.7 Starworks Motorsport BMW Riley DP didn’t plan on causing a black flag, but did. An axle broke and the car had a small fire. It was towed in, the damage wasn’t too bad and Lester was unhurt.

Friday’s schedule calls for Rolex 24 practice at 9 am EST, with the last Qualifying round at 11 am, and final practice at noon. The rest of the afternoon is devoted to Grand-Am activities and the 2.5 hour-long race for the race for the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge. There is a fair number of Rolex Series drivers doing double duty in that race.