Rolex 24 12-Hour Report: ...
Rolex 24 12-Hour Report: #65 GTO.R Takes the Lead
#65 Pontiac GTO.R leads the field in the GT class; #2 Howard-Boss Motorsports Daytona Prototype Retires From the Race
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - At the half-way point of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, one Pontiac has taken the lead in its class while another has retired from the race.
After suffering damages due to an earlier spin, the #65 Pontiac GTO.R of Andy Lally, Marc Bunting, R.J. Valentine and Johnny O'Connell has quickly rebounded and taken over the lead in the GT class. Its sister TRG vehicle, the #64 Pontiac GTO.R, spun out on lap 320 and went behind the wall for a steering rack replacement. With Kelly Collins behind the wheel, the #64 Pontiac GTO.R returned to the field at approximately 11 p.m. and is quickly getting back up to speed.
"The engines for the #64 and #65 GTO.R are running strong," said Norman Peralta, engine project manager for Pontiac in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. "We're monitoring their performances every pit stop, and we're confident going into the next 12 hours."
In the DP class, two Pontiacs were running in the top 10 at the 12-hour mark. The #75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley comprised of Tracy Krohn, Nic Jonsson, Jorg Bergmeister was running five laps behind the leader in the seventh position. The second highest running Pontiac was the #09 Spirit of Daytona Racing Pontiac Crawford driven by Doug Goad, Bobby Labonte, Harold Primat and Larry Oberto in ninth.
After the earlier withdrawl of the #10 Suntrust Pontiac Riley, the #2 Howard Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford is also out of competition. After 10 and a half hours into the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Pontiac Crawford driven by Danica Patrick, Rusty Wallace, Jan Lammers and Alan McNish retired from the race due to a blown head gasket.
"We had a really good race car," said Steve Nelson, crew chief for the #2 Pontiac Crawford. "Jan got out of the car and said 'man this car is really good.' We were just trying to buy our time. We knew we had a problem. It stabilized for about three hours and we thought we'd be all right. "
"We got out of sync early," Nelson continued. "Half of the cars were about a half of fuel load ahead of us on pit stops. We'd get back up to about fifth or sixth and then they would pit and we'd take the lead. We kept see-sawing back and forth because the track stayed green for about three hours. We kept trying things to see if we could get it to live to the end of the race and it just got worse and worse. We couldn't keep water in the car so we were done unfortunately."