Daytona 24: Goodyear Racing final report

Goodyear wins wettest Rolex 24 at Daytona race. DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 1, 2004) -- Forest Barber drove his Pontiac Doran across the finish line to give Goodyear its 29th victory in the wettest running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona race, part of...

Goodyear wins wettest Rolex 24 at Daytona race.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 1, 2004) -- Forest Barber drove his Pontiac Doran across the finish line to give Goodyear its 29th victory in the wettest running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona race, part of the Rolex Sports Car Series.

Barber and co-drivers Terry Borcheller, Andy Pilgrim and Christian Fittipaldi drove their Daytona Prototype-class racer through approximately 21 hours of rain and outlasted a star-studded field of cars and drivers.

The rainy conditions forced Rolex Series officials to slow the field with an early morning caution period that lasted three hours, 20 minutes and stop the field with a red flag that that waived for two hours, 52 minutes. Most of the green flag portion of the race was run under wet conditions.

Goodyear is the exclusive tire supplier for the Daytona Prototype class and, according to Bob Shaffer, marketing manager for sports car racing, the Eagle racing rain tire performed flawlessly.

"The race went through the full variety of wet conditions from misty and almost drying to near monsoon conditions," said Shaffer. "Our rain tire lived up to its reputation for superior grip."

Dale Earnhardt Jr. co-drove a Chevrolet Crawford with fellow Nextel Cup star Tony Stewart and Andy Wallace. The team very nearly won the race and Earnhardt praised the performance of the Goodyear rain tire.

"It's a great, great rain tire by Goodyear," said Earnhardt. "It's awesome. It's almost as good as the slick they've got here."

Earnhardt and his team led by several laps in the final half hour before a series of mechanical woes relegated them to a fifth place finish overall and third place in class.

The Lexus Doran campaigned by Didier Theys, Fredy Lienhard, Jan Lammers and Marc Goossens finished second in the Daytona Prototype class and fourth overall.

The constant rain and large field of prototype cars generated a larger than normal use of Goodyear rain tires, nearly draining Goodyear's entire compliment of wet condition tires at the event.

"We used more rain tires at this 24 hour race than any 24 hour race I am aware of," Shaffer said.

Greg Stucker, Goodyear's director of race tire sales and marketing, said, "The dry tire we recommended was good as well. It was effective when the conditions were dry."

Goodyear leads all tiremakers in victories in the Rolex 24 at Daytona series. Four of those victories came when the race was contested at a shorter distance, so Goodyear has 25 wins at the 24-hour distance at Daytona. Added to the 14 wins Goodyear has in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the company now has 39 wins in the world's major 24 hour races.

-goodyear-

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Wallace , Jan Lammers , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Tony Stewart , Didier Theys , Andy Pilgrim , Marc Goossens , Fredy Lienhard , Terry Borcheller , Forest Barber