Crawford on top after eight hours at Daytona

Crawford on top after eight hours at Daytona

The Howard-Boss Motorsports Chevrolet Crawford driven by three-time winner Andy Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart was leading after eight hours at the rain drenched 42nd Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. ...

The Howard-Boss Motorsports Chevrolet Crawford driven by three-time winner Andy Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Tony Stewart was leading after eight hours at the rain drenched 42nd Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

#2 Howard - Boss Motorsports Chevrolet Crawford: Andy Wallace, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
"It was fun,"” Stewart said after handing the Citgo-liveried Crawford over to Wallace in the lead. “"I didn't know what to expect. I knew Dale was running good times and I knew the car was capable of going fast, I just didn’t know what to expect. I ran a little bit in the rain in the Corvette here a couple years ago, but I just didn’t really honestly know what to expect. It is actually more fun in the rain than it is in the dry because you can get it loose, you can get it tight and really manhandle the car around in the rain."”

The polesitting Chip Ganassi Racing Riley Lexus of Max Papis, Scott Pruett, Scott Dixon and Jimmy Morales was running second, less than one minute behind the leading Crawford.

Third, one lap behind the leaders, lay the Bell Motorsports Doran Pontiac of Terry Borcheller, Andy Pilgrim, Christian Fittipaldi and Forest Barber.

"I’m not very happy running in the wet,"” Fittipaldi said. “"There’s very little grip. I guess conditions are the same for everyone out there so we just have to make the best of what we’ve got. The car is running beautiful. Hopefully, it’s going to stay like, this but there’s still a lot of time to go and a lot of stuff can happen."

A long pit stop late in the eighth hour to fix an electrical problem dropped the SunTrust Riley Pontiac shared by Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli and Emmanuel Collard to fourth, one lap behind the leaders.

The second Howard-Boss Motorsports Chevrolet Crawford rounded out the top five. The top five teams were separated by a mere three laps.

#72 Jack Lewis Enterprises Porsche GT3 Cup: Jack Lewis, Edison Lluch, Tom McGlynn, Manuel Matos, and #74 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup: Johannes van Overbeek, Seth Neiman, Lonnie Pechnik, Peter Cunningham, Mike Rockenfeller.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.

Seventh overall and first in GT was the Orbit Racing Porsche GT3 RS of Mike Fitzgerald, Robin Liddell, Johnny Mowlem, Joe Policastro and Jay Policastro, who held a three-lap lead over the second place Flying Lizard Porsche GT3 driven by Johannes van Overbeek, Seth Neiman, Lonnie Pechnik, Peter Cunningham and Mike Rockenfeller.

"It was very, very slippery out there, especially off-line, so it was quite difficult keeping out of trouble,"” stated Johnny Mowlem. "Also, the windshield was getting very wet on the inside with water coming in, so visibility through the left was really, really tough. Following other cars, the visibility was the biggest issue. The car itself is turning like clockwork. If we keep going like this, we should be alright."”

The No. 91 Doncaster Racing Porsche GT3 with Jean Francois Dumoulin, Robert Julien, Greg Pootmans and Porsche factory driver Marc Lieb sharing the driving duties led the SGS class.

Thus far, the race has featured 22 lead changes among nine cars and six cautions, many due to a spate of exploding tires and loose wheel nuts, for 20 laps. Only three cars are officially out of the race.

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Series GRANDAM