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

Once again, I?d like to thank ESPN?s Page 2 writer Bill Simmons as well as Bill Zahren of for their inspiration to do a live ?blog/diary? of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

07:30 to go: SPEED returns to the air at 5:00am. The ?A? Team of Bob Varsha and David Hobbs are in the booth with Andrew Marriott in the pits. Two witty Brits and the American as the straight guy, we?re ready to go. Track is damp, we?re 90 minutes away from daylight. 5:11am Grand-Am runs a promo commercial of it?s self. I just thought that was amusing.

7:18: We get a rundown of who is out of the race, five Daytona Prototypes (DP) and nine Gran Touring (GT) cars, both SAMAX and Cheever cars are out. In DP, the Ganassi #01 with Scott Pruett leads (going for three straight wins), Michael Shank Racing #6 with Ian James aboard is second. Defending overall Grand-Am Champion, the GAINSCO #99 is third with Jon Fogarty piloting (No cheap CCR jokes for me). In GT it?s the Speedsource Mazda #70 in first with David Haskell driving. The TRG Porsche #66 is second with Bryce Miller aboard. Another TRG Porsche #67 is in third with Emmanuel Collard driving.

7:14: Andy Wallace is wrapped up like a mummy. Varsha correctly points out that as an Englishman he should be relishing the damp cold weather. Hobbs agrees, it?s just like taking the family out in the car with the windows misting up. That?s why they?re the ?A? team.

7:06: Problems with the ?Young Turks? #61 DP, loses the R/R tire in the tri-oval. Driver, Andrew Ranger pulls off in the infield, tough break. Average age of 21 or so for that car, all four drivers led the race for a time. No truth to the rumor that they were going to cruise for ?chicks.?

7:07: Great in-car of Scott Pruett. Later, showed teammate Salvador Duran and Pruett hitting each other on the track. Duran is not looking forward to his post-race briefing.

6:55: Spirit of Daytona #09 DP spins and plows dirt onto the bus-stop curve. Full-course caution. The GT Banner Racing Pontiac comes in the hood splayed on the windshield. Crew informs driver you can?t do that. 17 cautions for 69 laps.

6:30: Scott Pruett and Michael Valiente get together when Pruett shuts the door on Valiente in turn six. Somewhere Montoya is smiling.

6:22: Nice feature on Kevin Buckler?s TRG Racing. For the team to supply the seven GT cars and three KONI Challenge cars, they need to bring, 8 motor homes, 25 bags of coffee (hope they?re big), 33 fire suits, 60 hotel rooms (Do they get non-gouged rates?), 75 toothbrushes (who doesn?t bring their own?), 100 cases of water, 170 sets of tires, 200 Advil tablets (OK that?s just one jar), 700 gallons of fuel.

6:12: Calamity reigns at Daytona as Ian James and Salvador Duren goes around. James also takes out the GT car of Gunnar Jeannette. Duran is lucky there isn?t a two spin rule in Grand-Am. 18th caution, we?re getting into NASCAR Dover/Bristol territory.

5:54: Duran spins the #02 again. Methinks Wheldon and the rest of the team has refused to drive the car and Duran is stuck driving it to the end.

5:41: #09 GT is running (slow) on three tires. The #99 GAINSCO car with Jimmy Vasser aboard is in the garage. Gearbox problems.

5:30: Leigh Diffey and Dorsey Schroeder take over. Varsha and Hobbs go to breakfast.

5:02: Highlights of the Salvador Duran thrills and spills show. Ends with the Alex Lloyd tow-in, rough race for the #02 Ganassi car. Lloyd is the new guy, he had to take over the car. Wheldon and Dixon are on their way home.

4:55: The Brumos #59 is in the lead. It?s 1973 all over again. Holy cow! The #59 incredibly spins out of NASCAR turn four, pieces of the bodywork go all over as the car hit?s the inside wall. Apparently the car had a R/R suspension failure. The uninjured driver, Joao Barbosa is checking his driver suit for wetness. Full course caution.

4:50: The #01 Ganassi car is back in the lead.

4:30: Problems for Justin Wilson and the #60 Michael Shank Racing DP. Apparently Wilson hit the curb and broke the R/R suspension. The time of the race is taking it?s toll on the machinery.

3:59: Joey Hand of the Ruby Tuesday team informs the viewing public that there may be multiple problems and the car is in the garage. Cue the Joey Hand flip (2006 Mid-Ohio).

3:52: The #3 Southard Racing DP is in a heap of trouble. The nose is face skyward, not a good sign. Driver Shane Lewis is out of the car. No replay. Full-course caution. Montoya leads in the #01 DP.

3:00: Chip Ganassi interview. Ganassi is not thrilled being interviewed, tells Calvin Fish to ask team manager Mike Hull about winning three straight Daytona wins. It?s a good thing because Chip was not the most coherent. It?s a long race. Calvin, love the chrome sunglasses mate.

2:03: Montoya and the #01 Ganassi team has a four-lap lead. It?s turning into a kinky spanking. However the spanked are not enjoying it.

2:00: Where?s Christian Fittipaldi?

1:59: The suns is out, it?s sunny in Wisconsin too, but there?s a 50 degree difference.

1:57: The #59 Brumos DP is back on the track, nice job guys, looked like it was over.

1:41: A record 23 full-course caution flags. Top-3 in DP #01 Ganassi (Pruett), #99 GAINSCO (Gurney) and the #9 Penske (Castroneves). Top-3 in GT #70 Speedsource Mazda (Matos), #66 TRG Porsche (Lally) and the #67 TRG Porsche (Pumpelly).

1:36 Ganassi Racing over the last three years has led 1069 of 2045 laps 52%. Nice shot of Brian Till running down pit road, thankfully it wasn?t Andrew Marriott.

1:30: We find out that in past races, Derek Bell and Wayne Taylor have pee?ed in the racecar and smelled like a polecat. Oh yea, and Kurt Busch has gas. (this spot was a re-run from yesterday).

1:25: The A-Team returns to the booth, Leigh goes get breakfast alone as Schroeder stays in the booth with Varsha and Hobbs.

1:15: The first mention of ?clag? is made by Varsha with credit to Hobbs. Clag is a English racing term of debris that gets built up on the side of the track during a race.

1:00: One hour to go, the front runners remain the same.

0:59: Where?s Dieter Questor?

0:54: With the sun out, temperatures are rising, teams are worried about overheating.

0:43: Patrick Dempsey gets some screen time in the #40 Mazda GT.

0:30: We?re basically running out the clock, both DP and GT leaders (Ganassi #01 and the Speedsource #70) are comfortably ahead. Only mechanical problems or an act of God can stop them.

0:24: 680 laps are in.

0:20: Cue the Tony Stewart heartbreak from 2005. I felt bad for Tony, but worse for Max Crawford.

0:05: Tick, tick, tick, tick?

0:00: It?s over, whew.

1. Scott Pruett, Ganassi Racing #01

2. Alex Gurney, GAINSCO/Lowe?s #99,

3. Ryan Briscoe, Penske Racing #9,

4. Nic Jonsson, Krohn Racing #76,

5. Max Angelelli, SunTrust #10.

In GT,

1. Sylvain Tremblay (9th overall) Speedsource Mazda #70,

2. Andy Lally, TRG Porsche #66,

3. Emanuel Collard, TRG Porsche #67,

4. Tim Sugden TRG Porsche #64,

5. Lonnie Pechnik, Speedsource Mazda #69.

Pruett ran 695 laps, finished three laps over second place, seven laps over third place.

Congratulations to Dario Franchitti (this guy is winning everything), Memo Rojas, Juan-Pablo Montoya and Pruett. Defending Rolex Series champions Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty came home third. Joining the duo was two-time defending NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and 1996 CART champ Jimmy Vasser in the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Lowe’s Pontiac Riley. 2004 NASCAR Cup champion Kurt Busch, two-time Indy 500 champion Helio Castroneves and new Penske IndyCar star Ryan Briscoe came home third in Roger Penske?s return to the 24.

The GT winners are Raphael Matos, Nick Ham, David Haskell and Sylvain Tremblay in the Speedsource #70 Mazda RX-8. The Mazda victory shut out Porsche at Daytona for the first time since 1993. Two TRG Porsches did finish second and third, rounding out the podium. Andy Lally, Bryce Miller, Ted Ballou, and Richard Westbrook in the #66 Porsche GT3 five laps behind Speedsource Mazda #70. The #67 TRG Porsche GT 3 of Tim George, Jr., Spencer Pumpelly, Bryan Sellers, Romain Dumas and Emanuel Collard was third.

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