Rolex 24 Minute By Minute (Or So) – Part One

I?d like to thank ESPN?s Bill Simmons as well as Bill Zahren of for their inspiration to do a live ?blog/diary? of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

1:00pm Central time: Hey, FOX Sports is showing something other than the NFL, Baseball or NASCAR, it?s Grand-Am road racing. Cue Bob Varsha to wax poetically about what you need to do to win the 24.

1:01pm: Looks like cloudy weather, but the drivers have their sunglasses on. Bob V. is sitting in Chris Meyers? seat in the on-track studio.

1:03: Highlights of last years finale in which Scott Pruett explains why he is in Grand-Am and not Indy Car, CART or NASCAR.

1:04: Pruett and Montoya stand-up with Calvin ?Mate? Fish. You know every time Montoya looks at Pruett he?s thinking, ? I own you.?

1:06: Brian Till stand-up, this guy drove Indy cars? It?s amazing that Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty share a car, is there about a foot difference in height?

1:07: Varsha informs the confused NASCAR viewers, ?hey we can race in the rain.? Cool!

1:12: Oswaldo? Michael Shank racing on the front row. A.J. Allmendinger will see the front at Daytona for the only time this month.

1:13: Helio! Helio Castroneves makes a pre-race appearance, Calvin doesn?t ask him where Julianne is.

1:14: Love any flashback of ?The Captain? Roger Penske with Mark Donohue.

1:20: Hey Daytona for the start command, why don?t we explain to race legend Dan Gurney what?s going on. That was bush-league.

1:22: Leigh Diffey play-by-play announcer makes his first appearance. What?s a Maaa-zda?

1:23: David Hobbs, Dorsey Schroeder show enormous self-control by ignoring the fly-by. I?d be twisting around trying to catch a glimpse. That?s why I?m in Wisconsin and they?re in Florida.

1:29: Cars are on the track. I?m ignoring the Pirelli keys to the race.

1:30: Eleven Prototype cars are caught on pit road trying to squeeze in for tires, officials are holding them.

1:31: Green Flag, we have a start, where?s Arie Luyendyk in the Nissan?

1:32: Hobbs says carnage for the first time. All cars continue. Great replays.

1:35 GT Porsche all ready off in oval turn three. If I?m one of the three co-drivers, I?m really pissed.

1:36: Is it just me or if the on track noise level higher that the play-byplay level? That?s fine with Rusty, but not Hobbo.

1:44: Tonis Kasemets gets a mention as a former Champ Car driver, there?s a lot of those around.

1:51: Hobbs informs us the Prototypes lapping cars, says the leader passes the GT cars about every twenty minutes. Good stuff.

1:53: Michael McDowell interview. Talented marketable American driver #657, that was ignored by the open wheel series? and snatched up by NASCAR.

1:58: First caution. Helio Castroneves (by the way he won Dancing With The Stars) has a flat right front tire. Limping to the pits.

2:05: Caution flag means lots of commercials on FOX. I suppose better than during green flag racing. Grab a sandwich, make a sandwich, bake the bread.

2:12: We?re back green.

2:13: 66 cars (or is it 65) cars on this track means lots of action.

2:14: I would love to see Max Angelelli in an Indy Car or NASCAR. He?s fast.

2:19: Is it just me or does the #7 car with Matt Plumb driving look like the old Bob Akin car?

2:20: Derek Bell interview. Class act. Last race (with the exception of vintage racing). Tells Hobbs to lose weight?kinda.

2:23: Dan Gurney highlights. Won as driver in 1962, team-owner in 1993.

2:29: We?re switching over to SPEED. Those without cable, enjoy American Idol Rewind.

2:30: SPEED is doing an intro, hey we?re were all watching on FOX, lets go.

2:31: 29 laps in.

2:33: Jimmie Johnson interview, he has to get eyebrows waxed, eh? Joan Crawford would had killed for those. Wait, I think she did.

2:34: Brian Till brings up the golf cart ?incident? that happened over a year ago. People wonder why NASCAR drivers have no personality?

2:39: #61 Prototype entry are the ?Young Turks? no driver over 24 years old. Mark Wilkins behind the wheel now.

22:44 to go: OK SPEED has the countdown clock on, so we?re switching over from central standard time.

22:44: Diffey reports that the #99 may have a fluid leak. Bob Stallings needs to throw on a cowboy hat and tell the officials that the oil tank is crack but it?s a horizontal crack, it?ll be OK just like Agajanian did at Indy in ?63. Crew says it?s fine. My feeling is that a corner worker had too much Red Bull.

22:41: We have a wheel on the loose, Diffey says it?s on the front stretch. It?s the #09 prototype. The tire heads down the backstretch, or is it the Superstretch? Tire came from Guy Cosmo?s car. Somewhere, there?s a very nervous crew member.

22:27: Dan Gurney is in ?da house. Diffey and Schroeder interview one the great American racecar drivers. Gurney mentions that he coasted across the finish to win the Daytona-Continental in 1962. Contrary to people who believe he used the starter to propel the car.

22:24: Cars are stopping all over the track. The McDreamy car #40 (not Patrick Dempsey driving) loses a left-front wheel tire and the #51Cheever Racing Coyote is stopped on course. Track stays green.

22:10: Roger Penske interview, the Captain explains how they lost a lap, thanks Roger, I don?t remember our telecast crew doing. However kudos to Schroeder explaining that the timing and scoring unit is between road course turns one and two. When Castroneves alertly took the oval around to save the car from damage he wasn?t scored for that lap.

21:58: Third full-course yellow. Matthew March in the #56 GT spread debris on the backstretch. The ?A? crew, Varsha and Hobbs are at the commentator helm. This event is half-daylight, half night per Bob.

21:45: We?ve had nine different leaders. Good race so far. Cars are ugly, but the racing is great. How come there aren?t photographers in the grass between the track and the pits like in the early 1960?s? Justin Bell is driving through the grass. Unknown what?s wrong.

21:39: Former USAC Stock Car driver and Milwaukee Mile winner, Dave Watson gets face time as Team Manager for the #12 GT entry. Watson explains that Justin Bell cut a tire. Working on getting the car back on track.

21:35: The #03 GT Vision entry of Tony George is pushed behind the wall (gearbox). Vitor Meira was driving. Could he be Scheckter?s replacement in the IndyCar Series?

21:30: We get to hear Andrew Marriot interview Bill Riley. Doesn?t Andrew sound like someone if you cornered at a pub, and got a few Guinness in him, he?d tell you all about the who?s a jerk, etc. in racing? Andrew tells us that pizza has arrived in the pits, Hobbs tells him to leave it alone. Love those funny Brits.

21:28: Alex Gurney has a close call with those crazy bright green Krohn entries.

21:17: Chris Neville interviews driver, Mike Rockenfeller. Meanwhile a photographer behind them pretends to a be panning the cars. He?s not shooting, I?ve done that.

21:01: It?s refreshing to hear a pit reporter asking ?actual? questions. Great job by Andrew Marriot asking Emmanuel Collard some serious question, including if he has any regrets not making it to F-1. Kudos to Collard being honest and actually saying he did. Good stuff. Are you listening, Marty Snider? Just under 21 hrs to go.

20:52: I will always listen to Tony Stewart, A.J. Foyt, Dan Wheldon and Eddie Cheever interviews because they?re brutally honest. Eddie explains that the #51 DP entry detonated an engine therefore out for the race, and the #16 DP entry lost 14 laps due to an alternator wire.

20:50: ?Mad? Max Papis explains that he considers Daytona his home track.

20:46: The #9 DP Penske entry takes the lead after being a lap down. I think that team manager Tim Cindric has a bright future in racing.

20:43: Driver, Kelly Collins does a ?first.? Mentions Chinese water torture during an interview.

20:40: Second-generation driver Ricky Taylor is interviewed, loses all chance of a Champ Car or Chip Ganassi ride when he didn?t cultivate dad?s (Wayne) English accent

20:00: Twenty hours to go,

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