Daytona notes (2 of 2)

RACE NOTES -- 10 HOURS DIDIER THEYS (No. 30 Momo Ferrari 333 SP) -- We had to replace the right-side muffler this time. I'm not sure why we had the problems with the mufflers. The car was in the pits for nearly 11 minutes so we are now six...

RACE NOTES -- 10 HOURS

DIDIER THEYS (No. 30 Momo Ferrari 333 SP) -- We had to replace the right-side muffler this time. I'm not sure why we had the problems with the mufflers. The car was in the pits for nearly 11 minutes so we are now six laps down (to No. 4). There is nearly 14 hours left. We have spare speed to use, but it's too early to use it now. (Theys will run his next shift in the car at 4 a.m.)

HURLEY HAYWOOD (No. 01 GTS-1 Rohr Corporation/American Signature Porsche 911 Turbo) -- We're finished. The engine broke.

DAVID MURRY (No. 01 GTS-1 Rohr Corporation Signature Porsche 911 Turbo) -- We had a spring or a mount break which caused the throttle to stick. We thought we had it fixed. It ran fine, but then it stuck up again and pop! Apparently, that was it, that broke the engine.

JIM PACE (No. 4 Danka/Konica Oldsmobile R&S Mk. 3) -- The race has been back and forth with problems for us and MOMO. We have a plan and we've stuck to it. If you do that, things will come back to you.

BILL RILEY (Team manager No. 4 Danka/Konica Oldsmobile R&S Mk. 3) -- We've had some problems, but we've fixed them. Now, we might have a small problem with the gearbox. We're having another gearbox built right now so that if we do have a major problem we'll be ready.

NOTE: At about 10:30 p.m. the No. 30 MOMO Ferrari 333 SP spent more than eight minutes in the pits for "routine maintenance" according to a team spokesperson. The team repaired a loose muffler, replaced brake pads, changed rear tires, added fuel and made an overall check of the car. Didier Theys remained in the car with Max Papis scheduled to replace Theys on the next pit stop.

RACE NOTES -- NINE HOURS

JIM DOWNING (No. 63 Downing/Atlanta Mazda Kudzu DLM) -- If we could have just got in one more test session we could have been a little better. We've just had a couple of niggly things that have gone wrong that have cost us two or three laps. Nothing real serious except for a brake line but we corrected that. But other than that the car drives nicely and the top speed is good.

DIDIER THEYS (No. 30 Momo Ferrari 333 SP) -- We had to replace the right-side muffler this time. I'm not sure why we had the problems with the mufflers. The car was in the pits for nearly 11 minutes so we are now six laps down (to No. 4). There is nearly 14 hours left. We have spare speed to use, but it's too early to use it now. (Theys will run his next shift in the car at 4 a.m.)

STEVE FOSSETT (No. 36 Wheel Works Racing Chevrolet Courage C-41) -- (On the incident shortly before 10 p.m. which damaged both the transmission and the right front suspension pick-up point. The team retired from competition.) I simply misjudged how slow the Porsche (No. 42) was going and ran underneath him. It was entirely my fault. I feel so bad for the team because the Courage is fantastic and the team did a terrific job preparing the car.

RACE NOTES -- EIGHT HOURS

MAURO BALDI (No. 3 Scandia/Simon Racing Ferrari 333 SP) -- (On car's early withdrawal after Fermin Velez's spin into the wall in the fifth hour, and his championship hopes.) I'm used to this level of competition so it doesn't frighten me. You know when you approach a 24-hour race you must always understand that the odds are against you to finish. So we weren't looking for a win but to score points here. But we have to take it the way it came and look forward to the next race. You can't win a championship with only one race. Now we must see which WSC drivers score points here and go after them. Nothing is impossible!

(On importance of 12 Hours of Sebring, which the team won last year.) Of course. Even though it's a 12-hour race, it's more of a sprint race. We must be sure not to have small errors like we did here. Our execution must be better. I'm really looking forward to Sebring.

MICHELE ALBORETO (No. 3 Scandia/Simon Racing Ferrari 333 SP) -- In that moment (his two stints) the car was really perfect. It was easy to run around a 1:45 and that was two or three seconds quicker than the leaders at that time. So we tried to catch up the time we lost. I'm very upset because the car was really working fantastically. It was really easy to run quickly.

No, there was no problem on slicks in the wet -- it was like in the dry. The tires worked very good because we worked hard to prepare for this race with Pirelli in testing and we found a really good compound that worked even in slippery conditions.

CRAIG T. NELSON (No. 2 WSC Maaco Ford R&S Mk. 3) -- We'll be out for awhile, but we'll get back in there. We have to replace the alternator and find out why we had a problem with the belt. This takes us out of a chance for the win, but we're still in it for the points.

JOHN O'STEEN (No. 01 GTS-1 Rohr Corporation/American Signature Porsche 911 Turbo) -- The car's obviously been running quite well. Right now we're dealing with a sticky throttle cable we're going to have to take care of. Other than that, the car's working fine. The Rohr team is doing a great job as usual and the car's just been motoring along. I had one close call, the first lap I went out on this last session. Unfortunately, the windshield was really smeared and I could hardly see anything. I hit a wet spot as Bill Adam was going around me on the outside. I bumped him and he went over. I hear he's all right, but I'm certainly sorry that that happened.

RACE NOTES -- SEVEN HOURS

P.J. JONES (No. 56 GTS-1 Porsche 911 Turbo) -- Our motor went. I was driving when it happened. The motor was going down, worse and worse every lap. We took it in and worked on it for awhile, but it got no better so we parked it. I'm disappointed. I was really looking forward to running at night and in the rain.

JOHN PAUL JR (No. 06 GTS-2 Valvoline BMW M3) -- (Paul out, Javier Quiros in) It was a basic stop, although we did add some oil to the engine. We're running according to plan and basically just putting in laps. We aren't racing anybody. It's a bit hard to see when you're running alone because of the grime and a film of oil that you pick up from the spray. If I'm running with other cars then it's much easier on the eyes.

BILL ADAM (No. 74 GTS-1 Champion/H.H.Brown/STP Porsche 911 Turbo) -- I've never been in a car that's even gone up on its side before (after flipping several times in the West Horseshoe Saturday evening). I've heard the expression that it seems to go on forever, and it did go on forever, apparently. The most maddening thing of all is that it was the No. 01 car that hit us in the right rear corner and did this. It was a preventable accident, and that just makes me so angry. I was going on the outside of him in turn five, and I don't understand why he would hit me when he was going slower than me. We had dropped back into almost noplace after an axle problem early in the race, and we worked back into the teens. The car was running beautifully. It's both very, very frustrating -- and heartbreaking, too -- because Dave Maraj, the owner of this team, is the nicest man I ever had the opportunity to race for in 16 years of pro driving. We really wanted to do something for him, and darn it, we get luck like this. That's terrible.

NEIL HANNEMAN (Viper GTS-R program manager and chief engineer) -- Vic (Sifton) was following close behind Shawn (Hendricks, No. 98 Viper) out of the bus stop (chicane) when they came onto a spun Porsche in the middle of the banking with its lights off. Shawn only just made it through on the high side in a wild slide, but Vic's view was obscured and he didn't make it and he hit the wall. I'm really sad we've lost one car, but Vic's OK and it could have been worse -- we could've lost both cars.

VIC SIFTON (No. 97 GTS-1 Canaska/Southwind Motorsports Dodge Viper GTS-R) -- Boy, that Viper's built like a battleship -- I must've hit that wall (exiting the chicane) at well over 100 mph and I'm fine. It's a pity one car's out, but No. 98 is still going well. We'll regroup and put all our efforts behind No. 98 and carry on learning what makes this new car tick.

TOMMY ARCHER (No. 98 GTS-1 Canaska/Southwind Motorsports Dodge Viper GTS-R) -- The weather is so unpredictable, which with all the traffic makes it really tricky. One lap I arrived at a corner and found nothing but headlights staring at me. There were about five cars spinning everywhere. People are also spinning or going off at the chicane and getting dirt on to the track which gets on to the windshield and instantly dries. Then you can't see whether it's wet or dry on the road ahead.

IRV HOERR (No. 1 GTS-1 Oldsmobile Aurora) -- It's hard to say exactly what happened. It looks like the exhaust system broke. We get a lot of over-run flames out of the exhaust on these cars, and we had just fueled the car, and somehow it got up into the back -- maybe there was a fuel residue up there or something, because by the time I realized I had a fire, another instant later it was a ball of flame. There was just nothing we could do. It seemed like it took me a half an hour (to get out of the car), but it couldn't have been too long. I'm fine. The fire's a very serious deal, because it burned all the wiring and a lot of the components on the right side and it burned the body off it. It's a lot of labor and a new body, but it's not as serious damage as you might think. It's just not repairable here tonight.

BOB WOLLEK (No. 30 MOMO Ferrari 333 SP) -- The track conditions are still not so good out there. There's still too many cars! We're running as fast as necessary. We have a small cushion on the other car (No. 4, actually four laps). It's a cushion, but there's a long way to go.

RACE NOTES SIX HOURS

IRV HOERR (No. 1 GTS-1 Oldsmobile Aurora) -- We had an alternator problem earlier in the race. We came in once to diagnose it and went back out while they got the parts to fix it. But then we came in rather than risk losing power out on the course. Everything's going fine now. Brian (Cunningham) and Mike (Borkowski) both did their shifts, Darin's (Brassfield) in now. I'm out next.

RACE NOTES -- FOUR HOURS

FERMIN VELEZ (No. 3 Scandia/Simon Racing Ferrari 333 SP) -- (On the incident which led to the retirement of the car) After coming out of the chicane I saw a puff of smoke from the rear of the car. I pitted the car right away and the team checked it over. They saw some oil and told me to keep the engine running to see what would happen as they worked on the car. I went back out during a yellow caution period and there were no problems running slow laps. On the restart the car was all right most of the lap. Coming out of the chicane in almost the same place as before the car felt like it was on ice. I spun and hit the outside wall sideways. I made it back to the pits, but after looking at the car the team decided to retire the car. It's unfortunate because our Ferrari and the Wayne Taylor car (No. 4) were running about two seconds faster than MOMO (No. 30) before the problem.

RICK SUTHERLAND (No. 36 Wheel Works Racing Chevrolet Courage C-41) -- We have solved the refueling problem and the car was working fine. Shortly after our driver change to Jean Paul Libert, the accelerator cable broke and he had to come in for lengthy repairs (20 minutes). A new cable had to be fed through the entire chassis. It's not something you want to have break in an endurance race, but this is a brand new car for us and we've only had one test session prior to Daytona. We're finding out the hard way where trouble might occur.

IRV HOERR (No. 1 GTS-1 Oldsmobile Aurora) -- (On his new job as team manager) I'm just standing here waiting (to do his driving shift) and worrying. It's definitely not the same, not as much fun now as it was when I was just being a driver.

ALBERT VANIERSCHOT (No. 54 GTS-2 Porsche 911) -- It is our first trip to Daytona. The track, the banking is very different. We have found the people very nice. Most of the drivers on the track are quite nice also. So far we have no real problems.

DON BELL (No. 7 NorthCoast Seal Oldsmobile Spice HC94) -- The mist can be a bit of a problem at times but overall it's been pretty uneventful for us so far. We do have a bit of a push (in the front end) at high speed which really only shows up when we exit the infield and the chicane.

LILIAN BRYNER (No. 55 GTS-2 Stadler Motorsport Porsche 911) -- I go in the car at about 5:30 to run for two driving periods -- about 90 minutes. It's night-time but it's no problem. We have a lot of competition for the class win so we must run as hard as we can. Last year, when we won our class, we had to push all the way and it paid off.

RACE NOTES -- THREE HOURS

PRICE COBB (No. 98 Canaska/Southwind Motorsports Dodge Viper GTS-R) -- (Cobb did three consecutive 50-minute driver stints from the start of the race.) The Viper GTS-R is working extremely well in the drizzle. The incredible torque of the V-10 engine makes it very easy to drive through the infield traffic, despite the slick track surface.

NEIL HANNEMAN (Chrysler Corp. program manager/chief engineer, Viper GTS-R Program) -- We're very pleased with the way both Canaska/Southwind Viper GTS-Rs are performing at Daytona. Besides routine pit stops for fuel and tires, the only attention either car has required was the removal of the rear underbody pan on car No. 97. This was due to damage from track debris earlier in the race. Both the No. 98 and No. 97 cars are running strongly.

CARL ROSENBLAD (No. 02 GTS-1 Rohr Corp. Porsche 911 Turbo) -- It's hard to say exactly what happened, because after a shunt it's hard to remember what happened. But slowly the memory comes back, and I think I went maybe a few meters to the right to let a quicker car pass in the very quick lefthander before turn one (trioval). The front wheels' grip went off and I went straight forward. I tried to steer it away from the wall, but I couldn't do it. I hit the wall pretty badly on the side, and that's it. (Any plans to get the car back out?) No, we should be happy if this car's ready in a week, working day and night.

STEPHANE ORTELLI (No. 79 GTS-1 New Hardware Porsche 911 Turbo) -- With the Porsche, the rain is perfect. You can brake in the same place as you do in the dry conditions. We have to be careful with the time between fuel stops. We have had no problems so far. (Ortelli pitted at the five-hour mark, running fifth overall and second in GTS-1. He turned the car over to Bill Farmer).

EVERYONE TALKS ABOUT THE WEATHER -- especially the drivers who are racing tonight in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The Aurora V8s continue to run strong in their first appearance at Daytona International Speedway, with Riley & Scott's Oldsmobile WSC leading the event and the Brix Racing Auroras currently second and fifth in the Exxon Supreme GTS-1 division.

CLOSE ENCOUNTER. Scott Sharp found a Monte Carlo roof panel lying in his path as he entered the pits. The resulting collision required the Doyle Racing crew to replace the nose on R&S Mk. 3. "I was coming into the pits at a pretty good clip when I saw something lying flat on the track. I didn't know whether it was a banner or a part of a car -- I had the choice of going to the right and into the grass or running over it. I nailed it good. The guys told me I made the right move, but I don't know!

"The car's got good torque, which is really helping us out. That's how I got by the Ferrari. The car's handling really well, so I could run a little tighter corner, use all the torque and blow right by him."

JIM PACE (No. 4 Doyle Racing Oldsmobile R&S Mk. 3) -- The car is great, but the track is slick from the drizzle. There are fewer cars and the mist has picked up, so the track is constantly changing. The racing line was still fairly dry, but if you got off the line you were definitely going into the grass. The motor's strong, the chassis felt great and the gearbox is all still there."

BRIAN CUNNINGHAM (No. 1 GTS-1 Brix Racing Mobilnet Aurora) -- It's hard work -- a lot harder than I thought it would be, mostly because of the traffic. Every time you get in the flow and develop momentum, you hit traffic and that breaks your rhythm and concentration. The car feels personable and very friendly, but the track changes every lap with the mist and debris from cars coming back onto the track.

MIKE BORKOWSKI (No. 1 GTS-1 Brix Racing Mobilnet Aurora) -- I was driving super cautiously. At first the groove wasn't bad, but if you had to go off line because of traffic, it was very slick. I waited until I got to the banking to pass; that adds five seconds to the lap time, but I didn't want to take any chances. I saw four or five cars spin off in front of me. My car was even getting loose going onto the banking.

DEREK HILL (#05 GTS-1 Bugatti EB 110) -- (After driver change in 7th overall) The car is running great -- I had no problems. When the track started getting wet I really started gaining coming out of the turns (Bugatti uses all-wheel drive). I noticed the Porsches were slipping and sliding and I started gobbling them up coming off the corners. The track conditions are really not that bad. (On being 7th overall.) I had no idea -- That's terrific!

ROB DYSON (#16 Rain-X Ford R&S Mk. 3) -- I was upshifting and it was apparent that we had an input shaft break. That's very unusual. It was a fairly new piece and it had been heat treated. There must have been something the matter with the heat treating or machine work on it, because it worked well. But these things either work forever or they fail, and this one failed. It's tragic, because the car was running very well. The performance was great, the brakes were terrific and in fact, the car was shifting quite well. The engine was running well and the guys did a super job preparing it. But there's no way you can test for a failure of a component like that. I had gone by the (start/finish) stripe once before it happened. Now, the #20 is the car, and I hope it keeps up and keeps going. It has some miles on the engine, so we'll just have to see and just run with it. On the other hand, we've got nothing to lose, so we can just go for broke and hopefully the components hold up. We've had to do this in this race in the past and it gets pretty exciting. (crew chief Pat Smith said Butch Leitzinger and James Weaver had already been out in the #20, and that the #16 would be repaired and would rejoin the race).

JOHN SCHNEIDER (#7 Northcoast Seal Oldsmobile Spice HC94) -- I felt pretty good about the car. This is a real race car and it runs like one. The track was dry even though it looked like it was wet. This is my first time in the car so this was like a practice session for me. You have to take care of the car and you have to get around the course -- then you work up to speed. The things I noticed about the car is that it has a little slow speed push in the short corners -- the second gear corners. You have to slow it down, really slow, but it comes off the corners well. It handles well in the high-speed corners. I understand we are going to race the car for a while and then we are going to put on a softer compound tire and that is going to help it a lot. The visibility is pretty good, misting a little but not too bad. I think if we can hold the pace that we are going now and we can keep it on the road and not hit anybody I think we will do fine. I feel good about it.

DAVID MURRY (#01 Rohr Corp./American Signature Porsche 911 Turbo) -- So far, everything's going real well (car was third overall at the time). The important thing is not to get us racing with anybody and continue to run our pace. We're a good team -- no heroes here. We're doing our job on the track and the crew is getting us out of the pits quickly. The American Signature people are real happy with the way the race is going so far.

CHARLIE SLATER (#26 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911) -- (Rejoined the race after IMSA's owner stopped on course with an ignition problem. Team repaired the car in the garage area.)

KENNETH ACHESON (#89 Newcastle United/Lister Rcg. Lister Storm) -- (Car had a lengthy pit stop to replace its nose piece after an off-course excursion.)

MEL BUTT (#64 GTS-1 Mobil 1 Chevrolet Camaro) -- We had an oil pressure problem. We were out (of the race) for about an hour. We changed both fuel pumps and we hope the car is okay now. You test and prepare and then you're ready to go race, and something happens that we've never had happen before. We think we've solved the problem and we'll go on from here.

WAYNE TAYLOR (#4 WSC Doyle Racing Oldsmobile R&S Mk. 3) -- (Overall leader at driver change to Scott Sharp.) Everything is fine! We're running really well. We're running a lot less grip than we can. Right now we're just nursing the car and everything seems to be going very well. But, the worsening track conditions (heavy fog) are really making it difficult.

RACE NOTES -- TWO HOURS

CRAIG T. NELSON (No. 2 MAACO Ford R&S Mk. 3) -- I did 40 minutes in the car. It feels good. We may not be the fastest on the straights because we're running a lot of downforce, but the car drives good.

JOHN PAUL JR. (No. 06 GTS-2 Valvoline BMW M3) -- I started the race. Our strategy was not to get stuck behind a slower car on the start. It didn't work and I got caught behind a Camaro. The race strategy is to run steady so we haven't really tried to keep up with the Porsches.

JIM DOWNING (No. 63 Downing/Atlanta Mazada Kudzu DLM) -- We had a problem on the grid when the car didn't start. We were aiming the headlights in the garage before the race and must have drained the battery. We're running as hard as we can without breaking the car. We're not saving anything. We can't bide our time because it's almost impossible to make up time unless somebody breaks. We want to win this race. We're not racing for points. We're not racing for second. If we can't win then we'll run as hard as we can as long as we can until something breaks.

NOTES: Among cars experiencing difficulties at the 2:30 mark: #43 Payne Racing R&S Mk. 3 pitted to replace a coil and the #89 Newcastle United/Lister Rcg. Lister Storm had a lengthy stop with transmission difficulties.

ERIC VAN DE POELE (#36 Wheel Works/Courage Competition Chevrolet Courage C-41) -- I was able to get a very good start and jumped by a couple of cars into third. The Courage Chevrolet is very strong but it does have a slight oversteering problem in the low speed turns.

RICK SUTHERLAND (#36 Wheel Works/Courage Competition Chevrolet Courage C-41) -- We were running strong in third about two hours into the race. On our second pit stop/driver change we discovered a transmission oil leak. We fixed it within one or two laps. We also disconnected the sway bar to correct the oversteer. We also have a miss in the engine, but I think we've figured it out. As far as on the track, it really looks like an L.A. freeway out there!

DORSEY SCHROEDER (#72 Champion/H.H.Brown/STP Porsche 911 Turbo) -- The cooling fan on top of the motor exploded! It's made of carbon fibre or something like that, and when it exploded it sent a lot of pieces into the intercooler and probably the engine. I was coming through the trioval in fifth gear and when it exploded I almost spun and the throttle hung over. It's probably terminal -- I think stuff got into the engine. I had to drive it all the way around to the pits without any cooling. It's a real shame -- the car was really very good.

AURORA V8s SET EARLY PACE

Oldsmobile's three-car team of Aurora V8s set the early pace in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, leading the Exxon World SportsCar class and running 1-2 in Exxon Supreme GTS-1.

WAYNE TAYLOR (No. 4 Doyle Racing Danka/Konica Oldsmobile R&S Mk. 3) -- The first stint was really easy. The car was just flawless; the engine is just so driveable. The Ferraris have got the legs on the straightaway, but we're running 1000 revs less than we can run -- we've just backed everything off because the car's running so well.

The weather's really a factor. Down the backstraight you can hardly see the track. On my last lap, one of the GTS-1 cars put me into the dirt, so the team had to replace the screen over the radiator inlet on the driver change (when Taylor was replaced by two-time SCCA Trans-Am champion Scott Sharp).

IRV HOERR (No. 1 GTS-1 Mobilnet Aurora) -- (GTS-1 leader) One of the real slow WSC cars came down on me; I got halfway by him, but he turned right into me when one of the fast WSC's passed him on the other side. The car didn't suffer any damage -- luckily it was one of those lightweight cars we can push around!

I thought I might have a power steering problem early on, but it was probably just some dirt in one of the steering shaft joints -- the steering loosened up and is working fine now. Fortunately it was a false alarm. (Brian Cunningham, grandson of road racing pioneer Briggs Cunningham, took over the No. 1 from Hoerr.)

CHARLES MORGAN (No. 5 GTS-1 Brix Racing Axciom Aurora) -- I just tried to stay out of trouble -- there's an enormous amount of traffic out there. Some of the GTS-2 cars are running 10 seconds slower than us (each lap), so it seems we're lapping them every seven or eight laps. It's very difficult to wedge your way through -- a lot of guys are weaving, and two cars spun in front of me. (Charles' son Rob is now driving the No. 5.

BUTCH LEITZINGER (#16 Rain-X R&S Mk. 3) -- The original plan was to start both cars and then evaluate which one was at a better position and concentrate on that car. But as the weekend wore on, we found ourselves a bit behind and decided to concentrate on the car that was doing better, the #16 car. Even though that car didn't qualify as well as the #20, we thought it was a better package to go the distance. The #20 is still in the garage, and we didn't scratch it. Theoretically, we can still take it out and race it if something happens to the #16. Andy Wallace is starting the car, then it will be Rob (Dyson), myself and James (Weaver). Now I can sit in the press room, eat a few cookies and watch the race on TV.

RACE NOTES -- ONE HOUR

GIANPIERO MORETTI (#30 MOMO Ferrari 333SP) -- It was a good first stint. I did have some very close calls with the Bugatti. I don't think he wanted me to pass him.

JOHNNY O'CONNELL (#2 MAACO Ford R&S Mk. 3) -- I started the race and turned the car over to Craig (team owner Craig T. Nelson). The car seems to be driving good and the gearbox is fine. We may have a problem with the fuel pickup. I'm not sure. I did come in a few laps earlier than planned because we had a stutter in the motor. We're running a high-downforce package which hurts us on top speed a bit. It does make the car easier to drive and very stable. We went with more downforce because we really had little time with the car on track and we wanted to make it as easy to drive as possible.

NOTE: Among the cars behind the wall or experiencing problems after one hour: #93 GTS-2 Nissan 240SX of Henry Taleb, broken fuel filler neck; #47 GTS-1 Porsche 911 Turbo of Jurgen Barth, turbocharger; and the #74 GTS-1 Porsche 911 Turbo of Hans Stuck, broken CV joint.

TOMMY RIGGINS (#90 GTS-1 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme) -- (The car shed the tread of a tire on course driven by Andy Petery.) Looks like we may have run over something on the track and by the time the tire got here (the pits) it was completely detroyed. It didn't hurt the car any, so that's good. Les Delano's in the car now.

MAURO BALDI (#3 Scandia/Simon Ferrari 333 SP) -- (Team lost 30 minutes in the pits after Baldi had an off-course excursion entering the chicane. Baldi was planning to pit on the following lap and had just radioed his team, "Tires great, car's great, I'm just cruising." The team replaced the nosepiece and found no broken parts -- but plenty of dirt and debris kicked up by the excursion.)

ANDY WALLACE -- (#16 Ford R&S Mk. 3) He (Rob Dyson) can't seem to get the car into gear. It was fine when I was in the car, so maybe the lever broke or something. The car was running okay but it was a bit slow on the straights. It was okay but now we're out -- that car will probably retire. We'll look at getting the other car (the #20 team car) in the race. (Butch Leitzinger will be driving when the #20 car returns).

JOHN SHAPIRO(#9 Jimmy Dean/Ball Park Cadillac Spice) -- We've got electronic gremlins, and can't get rid of them. (The car stopped on course at turn six at one point before it was able to continue after sitting on the edge of the road for several minutes.)

PRE-RACE NOTES

STARTING FIELD:The 78-car starting grid for the 34th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona contains the following division of engine makes: Porsche (33), Chevrolet (12), Oldsmobile (9), BMW (5), Dodge (3), Ford (3), Mazda (3), Nissan (2), Ferrari (2), Cadillac (1), Bugatti (1), Jaguar (1), Buick (1) and Pontiac (1).

The field is divided into 17 Exxon World SportsCars; 32 Exxon Supreme GTS-1 entries and 29 entries in Exxon Supreme GTS-2.

Three cars reportedly DID NOT start the event: The No. 20 Dyson Racing Ford R&S Mk. 3, the No. No. 44 Pontiac Firebird and the No. 37 Nature's Choice BMW Pegasus. The No. 20 joined the race shortly after the first hour.

A total of 14 cars broke the respective lap records for their classes in qualifying for the Rolex 24 At Daytona. In the World SportsCar class car nos. 30, 4, 3 and 31 broke the lap record of 1:43.326 set in 1995 by Mauro Baldi. The #31 was subsequently withdrawn from the race. In the GTS-1 class car nos. 1, 90, 74 and 5 broke the lap record of 1:51.447 set in '95 by Irv Hoerr. In the GTS-2 class car nos. 06, 07, 99, 67, 55 and 70 broke the lap record of 1:59.561 set in '95 by Dieter Quester.

DEFENDING WINNERS: Due to a rule change, the overall defending race winner, the Kremer Porsche K8 Spyder, is not eligible to compete in this year's Rolex 24. The two-time defending Rolex 24 World SportsCar champion Brix Racing team has been disbanded. In the three years WSC cars have competed in the Rolex 24, their best overall finish is second, in 1995. The defending GTS-1 titlist, Roush Racing, is doing an SCCA Trans-Am program and did not return. The #55 Stadler Motorsport Porsche 911 is defending its GTS-2 title, and Ulrich Richter is a two-time defending GTS-2 winner.

BILL AUBERLEN (#8 Support Net Chevrolet Hawk C-8) -- (On the withdrawal of #31 MOMO Ferrari 333 SP) It was a case of a lot of pieces coming together at the last moment. My big sponsor, Yokohama -- which is obviously producing the best tire in the WSC Series -- is really let down, as are my teammates Tim Hubman and John Morton. This was gonna be a fantastic team, but the final (sponsorship) pieces couldn't come together until Tuesday after the race. That's not the way the team wanted it, so that was it. It'll be finished and we'll be all set for (12 Hours of) Sebring (March 16). I'm jumping into the 8 car, the (Roger) Mandeville Hawk. I ran it a couple laps yesterday. It'll work, as long as it keeps doing laps as fast as it's going so far. It could do well. All I want to do is collect some points out of this mess. You never know, that Ferrari might be parked come 17 hours. Now I'm racing against it and I'm going to do everything I can to beat it.

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