The Rolex 24 presented by NASCAR

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What went on with the call at the end of the Rolex 24?

I described my emotion concerning the start of the 2014 racing season in North America earlier this week.

My feelings have turned however.

I am needing sleep, lunch, and to turn my tv off, but I watched almost all this year’s edition of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The race was great. It had everything. Great battles, close competition, attrition…what else can you ask for?

But as the race winded down, the battle on track for the overall win between the two Action Express cars and the Wayne Taylor Racing car was heating up, when all of a sudden the caution came out.

Now, I don’t know what exactly was happening at the track outside of what television was showing me, but something felt really fishy.

The Alex Job Racing Porsche found itself against the tire barriers at the International Horseshoe. The car quickly turned around and moved on after the contact. But yet, a full course caution came out.

Race action at night
Race action at night

Photo by: Trevor Horn

Cars touched walls, spun out and stalled for 23 hours and 40 minutes prior, with race officials never deciding to throw the caution, unless there was true danger. But with 20 minutes left they found it necessary to toss out the yellow laundry, for a routine "local" incident.

I suppose having two drivers in hospital after a very scary accident in the second hour, an incident caused by a slow(ing) car, maybe they thought something really bad might happen…but it never made them make the call at any point earlier in the race…

Either way, the move stacked up the field. Brought the Wayne Taylor and Action Express entries together for an 7 minute battle to the checkers.

I am all for close battles to the flag. That is one of the best parts of racing, that pure excitement that flows through your veins when your favorite driver is pushing for a win with only laps left. But not when it feels this artificial.

The real loser in the whole situation has to be the Level 5 Ferrari guys. They were battling extremely cleanly with the Flying Lizard number 45 entry. Coming through the kink on the final circuit, side by side was not going to work and the Audi took to the grass without any contact with the Ferrari team.

The officials immediately applied a 75-second penalty to the Level 5 team, despite them crossing the finish line first.

When Grand-Am (NASCAR) came together with ALMS. Much of the racing world was ecstatic. But in each one of our minds, knowing that there would be a big chunk of that NASCAR sanctioning body behind the new series we all had concerns.

Today we saw the first step the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship took in the NASCAR-ization of the series. Let’s hope it was a one off occurance…

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About this article
Series TUSC
Article type Commentary
Tags alex job, caution, chevrolet, corvette, crash, daytona prototype, fire, flying lizard, horseshoe, level 5, memo gidley, nascar, opinion, porsche, reaction, yellow

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