Daytona24: Series race report

Brumos Racing Takes Closest Rolex 24 At Daytona in History to Kick Off 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Series Season; Donohue celebrates 40th anniversary of father's triumph by edging Ganassi team in Rolex 24 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2008) - David ...

Brumos Racing Takes Closest Rolex 24 At Daytona in History to Kick Off 2009 Grand-Am Rolex Series Season; Donohue celebrates 40th anniversary of father's triumph by edging Ganassi team in Rolex 24

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 25, 2008) - David Donohue passed Juan Pablo Montoya with 39 minutes remaining and held on to win the 47th Rolex 24 At Daytona - on the 40th anniversary of his father, Mark Donohue's, victory in the 1969 event.

Donohue joined Darren Law, Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia to give Brumos Racing its first Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 victory since 2003, denying TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates its fourth consecutive triumph in America's premier sports car event by .167 seconds, the closest finish in event history.

"These guys have put a lot of effort into this," Donohue said. "I'm glad to be able to carry the flag. The Brumos team is just a tenacious bunch of guys, they never give up and today proves the point. We came here ready to run and we ran hard the whole time."

Montoya pressured Donohue throughout the final 39 minutes, but the No. 01 Lexus Riley could not overcome the power of the Brumos Porsche on the Daytona banking.

"Every corner it was 110 percent everywhere," said Montoya, who drove for Ganassi in the team's 2007 and 2008 victories. "And it was fun, because we drove like that the last two hours. And we didn't make any mistakes. I gave it 110 percent, and I know I couldn't go any faster if I had done anything different."

Joao Barbosa finished third in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley shared by JC France, Hurley Haywood and Terry Borcheller - 5.504 seconds back -- while Max Angelelli took fourth in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara co-driven by Wayne Taylor, Pedro Lamy and Brian Frisselle, 10.589 seconds behind.

Scott Dixon, the 2006 event winner, took fifth in the No. 02 Target/TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley shared by Dario Franchitti and Alex Lloyd.

The record-breaking event had the closest margin of victory, most finishers on the lead lap and most cautions, 25 for 117 laps. The top four finishers covered 735 laps - most in the Daytona Prototype era. The previous record for the closest Rolex 24 finish was 2000, 30.879 seconds. The 53 lead changes among 22 drivers and nine cars were the second-highest total in event history.

The final hour was run under green flag conditions, with the top four running nose to tail part of the way.

The GT race came down to a one-two finish for TRG Porsche, with Andy Lally and Justin Marks joined by Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long and RJ Valentine in the winning No. 67 Porsche GT3. Second, one lap behind, was the TRG No. 66 of Spencer Pumpelly, Tim George Jr., Richard Leitz and Emmanuel Collard.

The opening two hours and 45 minutes of the race were run under green flag conditions, with Penske Racing joining the Brumos and Penske teams in setting a torrid pace.

Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Ryan Briscoe combined to lead 191 laps in the debut of the Penske Racing Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Porsche Riley before the team lost 15 laps in the early morning hours to replace the rear-end assembly, dropping out of contention. The team went on to finish sixth, 18 laps down.

The GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley of Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty - joined by three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson and Jimmy Vasser - rebounded from early mechanical problems to take seventh. Another team coming back after a slow start was the No. 2 Childress-Howard Motorsports Gentlemen Jack Pontiac Crawford of three-time Rolex 24 winner Andy Wallace, Rob Finlay, Casey Mears and Danica Patrick, which finished eighth.

The No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing/Boy Scouts of America Porsche Coyote of motorcycle standouts Scott Russell, Jeff Ward and Jason Pridmore - joined by Guy Cosmo - rebounded from two spins and a pit fire to take 11th in the Daytona Prototype class.

Heavy attrition struck the Ford-powered teams, with a mechanical problem - traced to a wheel on the crankshaft - sidelining six of the seven teams. This included the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Riley, which suddenly slowed with AJ Allmendinger at the wheel near the five-hour mark. Only 10 minutes later, Darren Turner coasted to a stop while running third in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Riley. Similar problems would sideline the contending No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Westfield Insurance Riley, the No. 61 AIM Autosport Riley and the No. 77 Doran Racing McDonald's Dallara, which led four laps with Brad Jaeger at the wheel.

Also failing to finish was the new No. 45 Victory Junction - Orbit Racing BMW Riley of Kyle Petty, Bill Lester, Darren Manning and Leo Hendry, which exited after 216 laps with engine problems.

Brumos Porsche fielded winning entries in the Rolex 24 in 1973, 1975 (as Peter Gregg Racing), 1976 and 1978, and also sponsored the winning Joest Porsche in 1991. The team also won its class in 1962, 1968 and 1972. Porsche's last overall victory in the Rolex 24 was in 2003, when TRG put a GT entry in victory lane.

The Donohues became the third father-son combination to win overall in the history of the event, three days after the pair joined Dan and Alex Gurney as the race's lone father-son pole winners. Mark Donohue won the 1969 race in a Lola-Chevrolet T70, joined by Chuck Parsons. Al Unser and Al Unser Jr., and John Paul and John Paul Jr. also were overall winners of the Rolex 24.

TRG Takes 1-2 Finish in Rolex Series GT Class

With arguably one of its best driver lineups ever, TRG earned the top two positions in the Rolex 24 in the Rolex Series GT class, with Andy Lally anchoring a team which included Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Justin Marks and RJ Valentine to the GT victory and a ninth-place finish overall in the No. 67 TRG Construct Corps/CRG Porsche GT3. It marked the second straight season two GT cars finished in the top 10 in the overall standings.

Lally earned his second class victory in the Rolex 24, finishing a dominating weekend for TRG, which led 301 of the 695 laps. In fact, TRG drivers never looked back after Andy Lally inherited the lead from Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 driver Kevin Roush, who pulled off the course on Lap 553 with a broken driveshaft.

Porsche clearly made a statement from the beginning, as Lally traded the lead with defending race winner and 2009 polesitter Sylvain Tremblay in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 early in the 2009 race. But when Tremblay pulled the Mazda off the track with a ruptured fuel cell in the race's first hour, the Porsches dominated. Of the 695 laps, Porsche led all but 72 of them, and at the 24 one-hour intervals, only three times did a Porsche not lead.

It was a battle between TRG and Farnbacher Loles Racing thereafter. Dominik Farnbacher, Matthew Marsh and Kevin Roush put the No. 86 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 up front a race-high 268 laps, and during the late-night and mid-morning hours, the No. 86 and Nos. 66 and 67 TRG Porsche GT3s swapped the lead multiple times.

But when Roush pulled off the track - in nearly the same fashion as Farnbacher Loles Racing's No. 87 Porsche GT3 hours earlier - during the final four hours, it gave TRG all it needed to earn the team's first Rolex 24 victory since 2003, when Bergmeister and team owner Kevin Buckler won overall and in the GT class with Michael Schrom and Timo Bernhard.

The victory was the third in Rolex 24 competition for Bergmeister, and the first for Long, Marks and Valentine, a 62-year-old Massachusetts native who became the oldest Rolex 24 class winner since Joe Policastro won at 62 years, 10 months and 13 days.

Spencer Pumpelly - who shared the No. 66 TRG AXA/Mitchell Rubber Porsche GT3 with Ted Ballou, Tim George Jr., Emmanuel Collard and Richard Lietz - gave his team a second-place finish, one lap behind the No. 67. The car actually led 152 laps - three more than the No. 66 - and as late as the final three hours.

Not only did TRG sweep the top two positions, but Porsche swept the podium. B.J. Zacharias, Phillip Martien and Porsche factory drivers Sascha Maassen and Patrick Pilet took the No. 33 Wright Motorsports Phillips Way Racing Porsche GT3 to third. The quartet never led, but ran among the top five for more than half the race.

Others led but trailed off at the finish. Defending Rolex Series GT champions Paul Edwards and Kelly Collins, who shared the No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R with Jan Magnussen, paced 66 circuits in the only to finish fourth.

Roush, Farnbacher, Marsh and Eric Lux didn't go away completely empty-handed, however. The crew made the changes and took the checkered flag fifth, seven laps behind the GT winners. Two other Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3s also finished in the top 10.

For their efforts, the No. 70 SpeedSource team finished 17th in class, breaking a three-race Rolex Series winning streak at the 3.56-mile track.

The next action for the Grand-Am Rolex Series will be April 26, with the Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway.

POST-RACE NEWS & NOTES

- This is the first overall Rolex Series victory for Darren Law, Antonio Garcia and Buddy Rice and the fourth career Rolex Series victory for David Donohue.

- This is the first Porsche overall victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona since 2003, when TRG took overall and GT honors. The Porsche overall victory also broke a three- race winning streak in the Rolex 24 by Lexus.

- David Donohue became the third second- generation driver to join his father, Mark, as a Rolex 24 overall winner. Other father- son winners were Al Unser Sr. and Al Unser Jr., and John Paul Sr. and John Paul Jr.

- The winning margin by Donohue over Juan Pablo Montoya was 0.167 seconds, the closest 1- 2 finish in Rolex 24 history, and the top four cars were separated by only 10.589 seconds. Both marks bested the previous best margin of victory of 30.879 seconds, set in 2000. The 0.167- second margin of victory was also the fourth closest in Rolex Series history. Ironically, Law, Donohue and Garcia were all involved in the closest finish in Rolex Series history in 2008 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.

- The margin of victory made the Rolex 24 not only the 1- 2 closest finish in race history, but also the closest 1- 2- 3 and 1- 2- 3- 4 finish.

- Five of the top six closest finishes in Rolex Series history have included Scott Pruett.

- The victory by Brumos Racing was the team's first since 2003 at Le Circuit de Mont- Tremblant.

- Buddy Rice became the 12th driver in history to win the Indianapolis 500 and the Rolex 24 At Daytona, joining Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Arie Luyendyk, Al Unser Jr., Al Unser, A.J. Foyt, Bobby Rahal, Dan Wheldon, Mario Andretti and Mark Donohue.

- Antonio Garcia became the first driver from Spain ever to win the Rolex 24 overall.

- The 52 car lead changes in the Rolex 24 were the second most in Rolex Series and Rolex 24 history (64, 2008).

- The last time three drivers from the U.S. were involved in the overall winning team in the Rolex 24 was 2004.

- The victory extended a four- year streak in which at least one driver from the U.S. was part of the overall Rolex 24 winning team.

- The 735 laps completed by the winning drivers were the fourth most in Rolex 24 history, despite setting Rolex Series and Rolex 24 records for most cautions (25) and laps run under caution (116). The Rolex 24 lap record stands at 762 in 1992.

- The 2009 victory for Donohue came in the 40th anniversary of his father Mark's win (1969) and the 40th anniversary of Lola's one and only win in the Rolex 24. Ironically, Mark's victory came with Roger Penske, whose team David battled for the lead for much of the first 18 hours.

- The podium was the third straight for No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley drivers Scott Pruett and Juan Pablo Montoya in the Rolex 24 and second consecutive for Memo Rojas. The trio won the 2008 Rolex 24 overall with Dario Franchitti.

- Brumos Racing also claimed third overall in the Rolex 24, with drivers JC France, Joao Barbosa, Terry Borcheller and Hurley Haywood.

- The 1- 2 finish by TRG in GT was the first 1- 2 finish in the Rolex 24 At Daytona since 2000 (GTO class, Viper Team Oreca).

- The Rolex 24 victory was the first for TRG drivers RJ Valentine, Justin Marks and Patrick Long, while Andy Lally and Jorg Bergmeister both own multiple victories. All five drivers had previously won Rolex Series GT class races.

- The victory was the first for Porsche in the GT portion of the Rolex 24 since 2003, when TRG also won overall.

- Porsche dominated the top 10 in the GT class, taking four of the top five and seven of the top 10.

POST-RACE DRIVER QUOTES

DAVID DONOHUE (No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley): "I'm not sure how to begin after all what I just heard. We tested for like 3,000 miles here. "We" being the team. And Darren ‑‑ I wasn't doing much of the testing, and came up with a real efficient package, if anyone notices. Yes, we got them on the straight. Ever noticed how he closed up in the breaking and the chicane and so forth. I'll leave it at that. It's ridiculous at this point.

"Emotions run high mostly for our team. We've been at the bottom of the barrel for a while through '04 and '05. And these guys just, I've said in the past pretty much racing has got a lot of tenacity there. Just a tenacious bunch of guys, never give up and today proves the point. We came here ready to run hard and we ran hard the whole time.

"There were a lot of tears out there. Harris Snodgrass was in victory lane. Bob Snodgrass, our late boss, and he was kind of Brumos, and the passion and spirit behind Brumos, passed away two years ago."

ANTONIO GARCIA (No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley): "It's incredible. I thought Leman last year was really tight. It was different, and here it was tight. Awesome. I could not see the last hour.

"A lot of things came in my mind. Also the Montreal race, because they were involved in that as well. I mean, I cannot describe it. I just want to thank Brumos, these guys, Porsche, everybody."

DARREN LAW (No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley): "I don't know if anyone knows, we rolled off that trailer this weekend and never touched the car. Setup was spot on. We did a lot of homework. The car is really, really good. Porsche gave us a great motor. The team did a great job. All the drivers did good. So we're really happy.

"Honestly, it's just sour grapes on their part.  We have the
smallest motor.  Two fewer cylinders than everybody.  Porsche just built
a good motor.  Like David said, we've done our homework.  The car was
hooked up, trimmed out.  And as David mentioned, look, they crossed the
line 50 feet behind us.  It was a fight the whole way through."

BUDDY RICE (No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley): "I'm still shocked by it. To think my face is on the Borg‑Warner trophy. That was an elite group. But now to also have all the people who have won the 24 hours at Daytona, and also for me to be able to do both, it's unbelievable. It's hard to believe. I'm just really happy to be coming in with Brumos Racing for the last three, four years, running on both the bookends of the series. I run here and run with Miller with them and it's a great thing.

"Darren and I have known each other for years since I was in high school and started working with them, and it's just really cool. It's awesome. I can't be any happier. I'm grateful to see that Brumos, like David said, the last two years we've been quite strong.

"We had a self‑inflicted wound two years ago, we had a car that was capable of winning. Last year we had a bit of a mechanical issue. It's not like a big shock that we're running up front. But this year we made sure we had all of the Is dotted and the Ts crossed and we came here and executed. That's what Penske does. That's what Ganassi and Wayne Taylor does. There's guys that win races. They execute. You could see how close the qualifying was. You can see how close all times are, but it comes down to execution and not making mistakes. That's what it takes to win these 24‑hour races and Brumos did it the best this weekend."

JOAO BARBOSA (No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley): "It was a great race, everybody was 100 percent, sprint race all the way through the race and no one wants to lose laps. No one wants to lose touch with the first car. We all pushed really hard, and sometimes traffic played a big part of it.

"Personally I got held up in traffic in the bus stop, like 15 minutes ago and that was it. But that was really tough to fight for any other position. But we were really pushing and the car was great. So I probably could have got a shot at 2nd place. It's tough to say, but we just had a great race and we're really pleased with 3rd place at this point."

TERRY BORCHELLER (No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley): "I started with them last year and it was just awesome. I really enjoyed the team. The friendship with the drivers and with all the boys on both cars. Darren and I, I've known Darren for probably almost 20 years and Buddy Rice. And it's just a great, it's a great definition of a team to be with Brumos. And I hate not winning.

"But today, when Joe got caught in the traffic, I knew it was over for us. And I was, up until that point I was still pulling for our car and our lineup. But as soon as that happened, I couldn't be happier for the 58 car and what they accomplished. And they really deserve it. They did a heck of a job, all of them."

JC FRANCE (No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley): "I was pretty much overcome with emotion there at the finish, see my teammates in the 58 car to get a well‑deserved victory and for us to have a great finish right behind them is everything we could ask for. It's a great start to the season. I'm proud of all my co‑drivers here. They really stepped up and carried the load last night and today and just an overall great team effort on Brumos.

"I don't know. The 58 car was pretty strong. Both our cars were working real well. To try to say ifs and buts and what would have happened out there in racing conditions, when you come across traffic and stuff. But the track position is definitely a key factor. It's easier to block than it is to pass. That had some impact on it."

HURLEY HAYWOOD (No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley): "We've got to remember that Brumos is a team with two cars, and the success of the 58 car is shared by everybody on the 59 car and all the drivers and all the crew members, because it is a team.

"And our team worked very, very hard. We had a setback. We were the first team to come on board with the Daytona prototype when it was first introduced, it came with the fab car.

"We had some issues with that chassis. But we stuck to it. We changed over to the Riley. Bob Snodgrass was our spearhead. He led us and gave us encouragement and made it all possible for us to compete in this great series"

"I think the trophy will probably go back to Jacksonville to add to our trophy case that's in our Porsche dealership. It's got quite a few of our trophies from the 24‑hour races. So I think it will end up there. It might move back and forth because the guys deserve to share that."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No. 01 TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley): "I don't think I ever made any attempts to go back by it. I tried, but the amount of power they have on the straights. I'm actually surprised we finished second. I think everybody at Chip Ganassi were making jokes. They drove their ass off well and we stayed in the lead most of the race. And it's one of those deals.

"I was actually surprised we even fought for the win, to be honest. Everything ‑‑ the rumors and the Penske would drive away from us easily. I drove my butt off. I knew if I would get any traffic in the backstop I was done. And I did. And I did, and I was done. And it didn't matter how many times they made mistakes. And they just kept driving off and driving off for me, even when I was in the draft.

"But it's what it is. And they're going to have a fun year."

SCOTT PRUETT (No. 01 TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley): "I couldn't be more prouder for the whole Ganassi operation, with TELMEX and Lexus. And, of course, the job that Juan Pablo and Memo did. We gave it 110 percent. It was actually a little bit better than what we expected. And congratulations to the Brumos guys for finally getting their first victory. I know they've been chasing after that.

"But it is a little frustrating. I mean, when guys just drive by you, it just never seems right, no matter what you do. Everything will get evened out. I can't say enough about the whole Ganassi organization, with Lexus and TELMEX to come back here and run as strong as we did the whole time and never miss a beat. Again, the car never had a problem at all. The car didn't have a problem."

MEMO ROJAS (No. 01 TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley): "I agree with Scott and Juan. I just want to congratulate my team. They did an awesome job all weekend. We have the car to win. We didn't have the power to win, but I mean Juan and Scott, literally, it was a very difficult race. We had to drive 10, 10 through most of the race. Although there wasn't much rain, there was few yellow flags as compared to previous years. And you could see how it came up for a 24‑hour race to be that tight in the end with Juan driving like a qualifying, like in a one‑hour qualifying session. That was pretty impressive.

"So congratulations to Brumos again; and, well, they have won the season."

JORG BERGMEISTER (No. 67 TRG Porsche GT3): "It's been a while since 2003. Back again with TRG, winning again is just awesome. Kevin put together a great program. Great driver lineup. And I'm just excited to have another watch."

PATRICK LONG (No. 67 TRG Porsche GT3): "Stellar. Just has been an unbelievable month. Being here with Jorg, a teammate for a long time. Kevin gave me my first run here at the Rolex back in 2004.

"I said it time and time again, I thought this was the one race that would elude me for my whole career. Having some early success with thanks to Porsche and many other big endurance races, this Rolex has slipped away from me a few times. Personally this is really sweet. But just a really congrats and well done to the whole team. Thanks to Kevin and TRG."

ANDY LALLY (No. 67 TRG Porsche GT3): "I don't look at myself as team leader. I'm fortunate to be part of TRG five years and be a small part of an awesome program and it's an honor.

"This is ‑‑ Daytona for me is the pinnacle of the endurance racing. A lot of people look at Leman, but this place holds a special spot in my heart. And the 24 is the moment and the day that I think of when I'm looking for energy and inspiration during my workouts and how to keep going, and this is what I want and this is the drive. And to be able to win here at Daytona anytime, whether it's the summer race but especially this race, the Daytona 24, is the most amazing thing."

JUSTIN MARKS (No. 67 TRG Porsche GT3): "It's a great way to get back into sports car racing. I knew coming into it we would have a real legitimate shot at this. So much talent on the team and in the TRG organization.

"So it was just really excited to get the thing kicked off with this race and knew we were going to have a good run. And I've been lucky enough to win the summer sports car race here twice, the 250 twice. But this is just on a scale that's so far beyond that it's just awesome. To be able to do it in, do it for Kevin and do it with the team that I made my 24 hours debut with in 2001 is pretty special, too, because I spent the next couple years racing for BMW. To come back to Porsche TRG, winning the thing, it's awesome, great momentum for the season and for Andy."

RJ VALENTINE (No. 67 TRG Porsche GT3): "For me, this is my 23rd race, racing over 30 years. To win your Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona is a thrill beyond imagination for me.

"Having participated with some of the greatest drivers in the world is also a thrill for me. I don't mind telling you I'm 64 years old. I've been in this a long time. What happened for me today is a thrill beyond comprehension.

"There's not much more I can say. I'm still in shock. I still can't believe I was involved with a team that won it. And TRG and Deborah and Kevin and Porsche Motorsports did a tremendous job with our car."

TED BALLOU (No. 66 TRG Porsche GT3): "It is a great way to start. Spencer has done a great job of bringing me along this year. I'm looking forward to spending the whole year with him. We just signed a new sponsor in AXA. They're actually a French company. Nice to have Collard on the team. And obviously Richard did a great job in the middle of the night fighting with Farnbacher. And Spencer and obviously Tim. So it really was a great event for us."

EMMANUAL COLLARD (No. 66 TRG Porsche GT3): "The race was really exciting. We were fighting for the win, for the race. We had a problem at the end with the brakes. But overall the car was well prepared by the team, TRG. And I think it was a great weekend also for Porsche overall, because they won with the GT, with the GT also. Wonderful weekend for them."

TIM GEORGE JR. (No. 66 TRG Porsche GT3): "It was awesome to be a part of TRG again. With the 66, same colors, different number this year. Step up to the podium, with Collard and Pumpelly last year and as well this year, it's awesome. Welcome Richard and Ted on the team. And it's really good racing with everybody here. Speedweek is coming up, Arthur Remax Series for me. And February 7th is the race there. So being in that No. 2."

RICHARD LIETZ (No. 66 TRG Porsche GT3): "It was my first race with TRG. We finished second on the podium. They organized everything really well. When you go with five cars in a 24‑hour race, it's really, really difficult. And they did it well. And position 1 and 2 for a team says everything. And I'm happy that we finished on the podium and maybe we do it next year again and thank you very much."

SPENCER PUMPELLY (No. 66 TRG Porsche GT3): "I was actually in the car at the time when the 86 broke, and that was the first I'd heard of the deal. But we had a similar deal last year. And it's tough being in that situation knowing that when we pitted, they took the lead, and when we take the lead, there's a fifty/fifty shot that that happened.

"So we just kind of came out on the unlucky side of that deal. But at the same time you can't win the 24 without some luck, as anyone who has won it knows. And it was the right decision to be made. And we're part of a historic finish in 1‑2. And, again, it was not a big deal as far as when I look back on the race, what I look back is having the opportunity to run with these guys here and work with such a good group of people."

PHILLIP MARTIEN (No. 33 Wright Motorsports Porsche GT3): "It's the best birthday present ever! Third place in my first Rolex 24! It is the best day of my life. I still don't really comprehend what's going on. It's going to be tomorrow morning before I really realize what we did. I can't thank John Wright and the Wright Motorsports team for all their work that enabled us to bring the car to the podium. It's a total dream come true. I also want to thank Porsche Motorsports for giving us Sascha and Patrick. And of course Wright Motorsports' lead driver is B.J., who is wonderful.

"The best moment was to see us in P3 on TV. We had the good sense to not get rattled when we had problems in the last hour. We got a drive-through penalty, and then a potential flat tire, but we managed to hold onto third place. The last hour was so exciting. It's true what they say; it's never over until the fat lady sings. And what do I want for my next birthday? To come back here and win!"

SASHA MASSEN (No. 33 Wright Motorsports Porsche GT3): "I'm happy for Brumos of course, and for us as well. We had a plan. First, we wanted to finish the race, but I thought that wasn't going to be easy. Then we wanted to try to get on the podium, and I thought that was going to be hard too. Phillip hasn't even done a 24-hour race, but I'm happy with his performance because he made no mistakes. You can only finish a race in a good way if you do not make mistakes. Wright Motorsports is a great crew; they didn't make any mistakes either, and that's why we got on the podium. It was a great result!"

PATRICK PILET (No. 33 Wright Motorsports Porsche GT3): "This was only my second Rolex 24 and my first podium in this race, so the day was a great success. The team did a very good job. I knew John Wright had a good team. The car was very consistent. The pit stops were very quick. The podium finish was a very nice present for Phillip. We don't know why the throttle wasn't working correctly. It was only about 90 percent. Next time we'll come back with it 100 percent and maybe we can win! I don't know exactly what happened at the end; I don't think I was hit. There was a vibration in the rear and smoke came out of the left rear. We thought it was a puncture. We came in and tore off the rear bumper in case something was rubbing the tire, but luckily it was OK. I hope to be here next year with the same team, only next time we want to win!"

BJ ZACHARIAS (No. 33 Wright Motorsports Porsche GT3): "Of the six Rolex 24s I've done, this one was the biggest rollercoaster. We were second pretty early, and then we fell behind a bit. We didn't have full throttle all day, and of all the tracks where you need full throttle, Daytona is it. I'd say it was about 97 percent at best. The crew worked hard to make it handle better all day, and John Wright called a great race. We also had one problem when we changed a brake caliper; only one front caliper was working after that stop, so we had to make another stop to change the right front caliper again. That was at about the 15-hour mark.

"We're an independent team. There are some advantages to running a big, multicar team, and I think there are some disadvantages too. We're the little team that could. We had a great car and a great driver line-up and great support, and we want to thank everyone involved."

-credit: grand-am

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