Daytona 24: Pontiac halfway report

Hard Racing Through the Night Daytona Beach, Fla. - Halfway through the 24 Hours of Daytona, Pontiac continues to lead the race with seven out of the top 10 cars running under Pontiac power. The ...

Hard Racing Through the Night

Daytona Beach, Fla. - Halfway through the 24 Hours of Daytona, Pontiac continues to lead the race with seven out of the top 10 cars running under Pontiac power. The #10 Pontiac Riley of Max Angelelli, Wayne Taylor and Emanuel Collard leads the field with 353 laps completed. The top four cars in the race are all running on the same lap, showing just how close the racing has been through the night.

"The racing was great out there," said Oliver Gavin, driver of the #66 Pontiac Riley. "I enjoyed the racing with #10, #44 and #4 cars. There's just a lot of traffic and you have to learn how to manage it. The best thing about this is that it is fantastic racing. You never know who is in the lead or who is in which position. Each person you catch, you just try to pass. Our Pontiac has been a great race car."

The racing has been tough up until this point, with little for teams to do but continue to drive at an accelerated pace.

"I was running faster than our plan was," said Butch Leitzinger, driver of the #44 Pontiac Crawford. "The car just wanted to fly. We were thinking of holding back a little more, but if the horse wants to run, you might as well let it. To batter this hard, this early, hasn't ever happened as long as I've been coming here."

Attrition and fatigue will play a part over the course of the following nighttime hours, yet up until this point the top four cars are all running on the same lap.

Jimmie Johnson looked forward to getting back in the #4 Pontiac Crawford after his first stint brought back memories of his 2004 drive with the Crawford team.

"I didn't want to get out of the car," said Johnson. "The cars are so much fun and I'm still learning the limit of them and where I can find the speed. Right at the end of that two-hour stint, I was getting into my groove and understanding what the car can do. We're in the thick of this -- we're hanging with all the leaders, we've led at times so we're in good shape.

"For being dry, it's surprising with me how aggressive you can be in a 24-hour race. With the competition being as strong as is, it's a sprint race form pit stop to pit stop and that's amazing for me to see."

-gm racing-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Wayne Taylor , Jimmie Johnson , Oliver Gavin , Max Angelelli