One second separates two leading Pontiacs Daytona Beach, Fla. - With only four hours left to go in the 24 Hours of Daytona, Pontiac leads and holds three of the top five spots in the race. The ...
One second separates two leading Pontiacs
Daytona Beach, Fla. - With only four hours left to go in the 24 Hours of Daytona, Pontiac leads and holds three of the top five spots in the race. The #20 Pontiac Crawford of Andy Wallace, Jan Lammers and Tony Stewart and the #10 Pontiac Riley driven by Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli and Emmanuel Collard have just one second separating them, a remarkable feat after 20 hours of racing. The #10 car currently leads.
"From what I've learned from doing so many 24-hour races, especially after last year, you can never expect a win until you see the flag," said Wallace. "Anything can get you -- even a two dollar part can get you -- and so you can't get too complacent."
Emmanuel Collard lost the lead after suffering body damage as a result of contact but regained three laps. The #2 Pontiac Crawford driven by Duno, Wheldon and the Franchitti brothers also suffered damage but was not as fortunate as the #10 car. It was knocked out of the race after colliding with a GT class Porsche.
"They would have had a good podium finish," said Andy Scriven, chief designer for Crawford. "It's pretty upsetting. They were coming back so strongly, I would expect them to be in third place right now had this not have happened. Milka feels the Porsche moved up on her when he hit a bump coming into pit lane, and they collided."
Last year's Rolex 24 winners, the #54 Pontiac Doran driven by Paul Tracy, Terry Borcheller, Christian Fittipaldi, Forest Barber and Ralf Kelleners, withdrew from the race due to mechanical problems.
The #66 Pontiac Riley, having been in the top five earlier, has marched back to 13th from 20th place. The car was set back significantly after breaking a halfshaft, necessitating a full replacement of the transaxle in the garage.
"We knew we were having issues with the left halfshaft so we band-aided it up earlier," said Oliver Gavin. "I went back out and did about 15 laps and then, coming out of NASCAR turn four, we got a big vibration from the left rear. I went straight to the pits and they looked at it; they didn't really see anything so I went back out. I got up into NASCAR turn two, and it started vibrating really badly and then went 'bang!' The left rear halfshaft just blew up. We were having problems with the right rear shaft as well so we changed the whole rear end. It's pretty much taken us out of contention right now, but we're still working hard and will be fighting for position and championship points for Jorg."