Daytona 24: GM Racing hour 18 notes

Pontiac GXP.R Fights for Lead - Rainey Sunrise at World Center of Racing SunTrust Making a Come Back in DP DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Jan. 28, 2007 - The No. 7 Pontiac GXP.R led the GT race in the early morning hours as the remaining 50 cars reach ...

Pontiac GXP.R Fights for Lead - Rainey Sunrise at World Center of Racing
SunTrust Making a Come Back in DP

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Jan. 28, 2007 - The No. 7 Pontiac GXP.R led the GT race in the early morning hours as the remaining 50 cars reach the 18-hour mark at the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve season opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The rain came with the sunrise as the Pontiac Daytona Prototype (DP) and GT cars head to the finish at 1:30 p.m.

The No. 7 GXP.R of Kelly Collins, Paul Edwards and Andy Pilgrim led the GT class at the Rolex 24. Once the pit stops cycled through just prior to the red flag period at 1 a.m., the No. 07, with Collins at the wheel, was being shown as the overall GT leader. The trio of GM factory drivers swapped the lead with two other GT competitors through the rain and into the morning. Currently, the Banner Racing No. 7 GXP.R is running in second.

"We went from 13th to second," Edwards said. "We were able to benefit from a caution in the middle of the night and move up a few places. Also other teams mistakes are playing into our hands as well. We are running laps in the low 1:55s consistently. There are about 10 cars below us that are running faster times. We are struggling with our speed around the bank."

"Our race is going good," Tim Lewis said about their current seventh place position in the No.6 Banner GXP.R. "I am focusing on keeping it clean, off of the curbs and doing consistent laps. It is nice to get a good long stint in the car and feel how the car uses up tires and the handling changes as the fuel load lightens. The rain came just after midnight and this morning, so I experienced all of the elements behind the wheel."

The top running Daytona Prototype (DP) car remains the No. 11 CITGO Pontiac. The Florida based team sits second overall with just six-hours remaining. Milka Duno, Patrick Carpentier, Darren Manning and Ryan Dalziel are hitting on all eight-cylinders in second place in DP.

"The rain has been lingering most of the night," Dalziel commented. "We have been running pretty much fault free and are making up time. We need to keep our focus and try to finish this race as high possible."

The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley DP car is continuing its come back after early electrical trouble. Drivers Jeff Gordon, Max Angelelli, Jan Magnussen and Wayne Taylor have managed to get the car back up to fifth position.

"We are coming back," exclaimed Taylor. "We had some early electrical problems and the SunTrust crew overcame that issue. We have no clutch, which is no problem when we are out there running, but the crew has to push start the car when we pit, we are working them pretty hard this morning."

The Krohn Racing cars have experienced their share of difficulty in the first 18-hours. Drivers Max Papis, JJ Lehto and Colin Braun are determined to make the best of a tough race. At the 75-percent complete mark, the No. 75 Krohn entry is 26th and the 76 is 30th.

"We ran good at the beginning, moving up into the top five," Braun said. We had our electrical issue, resolved that and now have to come back from 30 laps down. It turned into a points race for us pretty early, so we are thinking about the end of the season already 18-hours into the first race."

The No. 91 Lowe's Pontiac Riley of Marc Goosens, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Jim Mathews has slipped back to 11th at three-quarter distance after running toward the top most of the early going.

"I started out with a bang, literally," Mathews exclaimed. "I went out and the team was barking at me on the radio to catch up to the pack and I hit the number 20. We have a few vibrations in the car and things like that, but that happens when you are 16-hours into a 24-hour race."

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Milka Duno , Jeff Gordon , Paul Edwards , Darren Manning , Max Papis , Patrick Carpentier , Andy Pilgrim , Wayne Taylor , Colin Braun , Jimmie Johnson , Kelly Collins , Max Angelelli , Tim Lewis , JJ Lehto
Teams Krohn Racing