DC's post-Daytona - Still hung over

STILL HUNG OVER For those lacking calculators, a 24-hour race equals 8.73 or 9.6 (2.75-hour or 2.5-hour, respectively) "standard" races. The above exercise is meant to illustrate that a 24-hour race tends to produce a few more noteworthy ...


For those lacking calculators, a 24-hour race equals 8.73 or 9.6 (2.75-hour or 2.5-hour, respectively) "standard" races.

The above exercise is meant to illustrate that a 24-hour race tends to produce a few more noteworthy highlights than does your everyday sprint race. Therefore, if you're looking to "sprint" through this, it just ain't gonna happen . . . unless you speed read.

Some Historical Facts, Jack

The No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche-Riley's margin of victory (MOV) was less than one-second at 0.167. That works out to an average speed of 108.992 mph for the No. 58; 108.991 mph for the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing w/Felix (y Jose) Sabates Lexus-Riley.

Over Daytona International Speedway's 3.56-mile race course - in place beginning with the 1985 race - the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona winning No. 58 Brumos Porsche team compiled the fourth-highest number of total laps recorded in that specific course configuration.

Taken within context of the vaunted Daytona 24-hour race's complete history - encompassing track lengths of 3.87-miles (1984, only); 3.84-mile (1976-1983); 3.81-mile (1966-1975); and 3.56-mile (1985-Present) - the 58-car's David Donohue, Darren Law, Buddy Rice and interloping newcomer (estaba bromeando, mi amigo) Antonio Garcia racked-up 2,616.6 miles.

The compiled mileage ranks 11th highest of the 42 twice-around-the-clock DIS sportscar races.

Since 1984, only three cars went farther (miles/laps) and faster (average MPH) than the 2009-winning No. 58 Brumos Porsche-Riley, they were: Al Holbert Racing's No. 14 Porsche 962 in 1987; Tom Walkinshaw Racing's Jaguar XJR-12 in 1990; Nissan Motorsport's' Nissan R91CP in 1992.

Oh, and those above three "farther, faster" races? They compiled a combined nine full-course cautions. Compare 1987's 8 full yellows; 1990's 4 full yellows and 1992's 3 full yellows to the 2009 race's 25 full-course yellows and it's easy to extrapolate that one or more of the 2009 race's top-four finishers would've surpassed 1992's leading 762 total laps.

In 1984, drivers Mario and Michael Andretti paired to introduce Porsche's 962 GTP to the world. It DNF'd after 127 laps, yielding the race win to a Porsche-powered March 83G chassis (No. 00 Kreepy Krauley of Sarel van der Merwe, Graham Duxbury and Tony Martin).

Nine different Daytona Prototypes swapped the lead 51 times during the 2009 Rolex 24 (not to be confused with 22 drivers having swapped the lead 53 times).

GT-class first and second-place finishers (9th and 10th, overall), The Racers Group's No. 67 (Jorg Bergmeister, Andy Lally, Patrick Long, Justin Marks and R.J. Valentine) and No. 66 (Ted "Cat" Ballou, Emmanuel Collard, Tim George Jr., Spencer Pumpelly, Richard Lietz) Porsche GT3 cars each turned fast laps on their respective Lap 309.

A third-place GT (11th overall) finish for Wright Motorsports' No. 33 Porsche GT3 (drivers: Phillip Martien, BJ Zacharias, Sascha Maassen, Patrick Pilet) showed the new team's a force with which to be reckoned.


It appears Hurley Haywood has already booked his accommodations for next year's 48th Rolex 24 At Daytona and, maybe, each year through the 67th (2029) version as well.

"Paul Newman was still driving here when he was 80. Therefore I've got a good 20 years in me, at least," the six-time (one being a class victory; five overall wins) Daytona 24 winner said.


SunTrust Racing's Wayne Taylor was pretty laid back during the Rolex 24 and someone suggested the two-time Rolex 24 winner might well have tapped a little '75, '76 and '82 Lafitte Rothschild wine from his cellar.

Of course, Taylor wasn't actually imbibing.

"I just came to the conclusion that way too much negative energy was flowing last season," Taylor said soon after his SunTrust No. 10 Ford-Dallara finished fourth overall. "There's just no point to getting uptight about things out of our control."

With the SunTrust car falling short of winning its second Rolex 24 by fewer than 11 seconds, one might've expected Taylor to have been tied in knots - especially after living for 20 hours with the knowledge his car's Ford engine might grenade at any time.


Brian and Burt Frisselle, respectively in the SunTrust Racing No. 10 Ford-Dallara and AIM's No. 61 Ford-Riley, were pretty much on opposite ends of the Rolex 24 spectrum, with Brian's ride finishing fourth (on the winning lap) and Burt's car konking out after fewer than half-as-many laps (301 laps, 38th place).

While the brothers each led two race laps - setting their marks within 50-laps of each other - Burt The Older's came only after the No. 61 had clawed back from being down two laps a couple of hours into the race. Brian's No. 10, at about the same time, had been hanging with the lead pack.

About that time, too, Roush Yates Engines' John Maddox delivered some unwelcomed news to the Ford-powered teams.

". . . they had a suspected problem with the crankshaft position sensor and . . . ours could have the same problem," AIM's Ian Willis said he was told at the time.

The same news was received by Taylor, Mike Shank (Racing), Jeff Hazel (Krohn Racing) and Kevin Doran's No. 77 McDonald's Ford Dallara - though the latter was thought to perhaps be immune inasmuch as it was using a "refreshed" 2008 engine and not a brand-new 2009 unit, as were the others.


By Lap 262 - just over 100-laps after Shank's No. 6 Ford-Riley coasted to a stop, ending driver A.J. Allmendinger's 15-lap lead run - MSR's No. 60 exited stage right, too, joining Krohn Racing's No. 76 Ford-Lola.

AIM was gone after lap 301 and the second Krohn Lola would go out just beyond the race clock's halfway mark.

By daybreak Sunday the three teams' combined five cars would be out of the race and gone - lock, stock and transporter - from the Rolex Series paddock.

It wasn't a particularly pretty sight - unless a Porsche, Lexus, Dinan BMW or Pontiac supporter.

Yet, soldiering on were Doran Racing's No. 77 MacDonald's Ford-Dallara and the SunTrust car, both of which were well positioned in the race as dawn broke.

The otherwise well-preserved McDonald's car broke shortly after dawn and ironically at the same time SunTrust's Max Angelelli had the race lead.

>From that point the race would boil down to the Brumos Racing Porsches (Hurley Haywood, in the 59, would also lead) vs. the No. 01 TELMEX/Target Lexus.

Though the Rolex 24's prominence in the schedule can't be overstated, AIM's Willis put things in perspective.

"John Maddox and the Roush Yates guys are a key contributor to our success achieved last season and we have ultimate faith that they will figure out what happened and we will be on the podium together again this year," he said.

Other than the SunTrust team, though, it'll be a long, hard climb for the other Ford teams to scale the championship's topmost step - but one that's previously been accomplished.


For those outer-fringe types who seek that championship, the long odds got just a bit shorter with the No. 58 car having been docked five points across the board for failing a post-race weigh-in. The Boggy Creek Gang just got a couple of paid scholarships, too, with an accompanying $5,000 fine.

The "light" condition arose because the 58-car was, as one Rolex Series official delicately put it, "puking fluids" as it sat idled during post-race activities.

Such shouldn't be too great of a surprise when one considers earlier SPEEDtv shots of the team's "hot" pit stops, during which fluids were pushed into either end of the car.

Having recently been put through a grinder after having used "Porsche" in the same sentence as "blown," this writer will refrain from using "engine" to connect the dots to anything in proximity.

As clear as radiator fluids and oil can be, however, the car was underweight by the loss of such, in the opinion of Rolex Series officials.

Of course, various folks' underwear have since gotten a tad wadded in the aftermath of that discovery, insisting that the victory should've likewise been taken away.

Doing so would've been precedent-setting when the situation didn't warrant it, according to those involved in the decision-making process, who additionally insist that in the history of the series offending cars have yet to get a victory taken away.

The Rolex Series folks further said that had the 58's conduct been determined as malicious, pre-planned or nefarious, such would've been a different matter.


After winning the 2008 Rolex 24 and somehow pulling out a fast-lap pole qualifying run for the 2009 version, SpeedSource's No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 team easily was the GT-class favorite going into The Big Race.

Imagine the surprise in the pits when the No. 70 headed for the garage with a fuel-spilling gas tank (okay, "fuel cell") shortly after the Rolex 24's start.

Such was the effort to get Nick Hamm, David Haskell, Jonathan Bomarito and team leader Tremblay back into the race that even chassis-builder Bill Riley was cranking a speed wrench (among other things).

"I guess it was a fairy-tale ending that wasn't to be," a disappointed but philosophical Tremblay said after finishing 17th in class and 28th overall.

Such was Mazda's anti-luck that SpeedSource's No. 69 FXDD (Emil Assentato, Jeff Segal, Nick Longhi, Matt Plumb) was the best-in-class Mazda RX-8, finishing 9th in class and 17th overall.

Finishing 35th overall, 22nd in class and fourth in "Mazda," Patrick Dempsey Racing's Jep "Heavy" Thornton played the role his moniker suggests, but to which it doesn't usually apply (Thornton buys/sells 747, 767 and similar "heavy" aircraft, only) after heavy car damage twice visited him while at the wheel.

Early in his first shift Thornton smacked the No. 40 "Avon Walk for Breast Cancer" car into a tire barrier at the (Moretti) chicane.

"He took full responsibility and he readily admitted it," team manager/driver Joe Foster said. "But the (race-ending) second crash was someone else's fault, entirely," when Thornton was caught up in an early morning multi-car skirmish.

Bleary eyed from a lack of sleep in the darkest moments before Sunday's sunrise and acting nothing like a prima donna, Dempsey was making more like a tight-budgeted team owner as he helped break down and ferry the No. 40's pit equipment back to the transporter.

A reporter suggested that such a disappointing finish would be as likely to drive him out of the sport as anything.

"Are you kidding!?" a broadly smiling, laughing Dempsey said between pit-road runs. "I love this race series, man!"


After losing a bunch of DP teams to Ford between seasons, none of the GM Racing executives in attendance gloated (at least in front of this writer, who apparently remains on GM's "Enemy List") about Ford's engine hassles (more about that later). Surely, the "Pontiac" guys must've derived some measure of satisfaction that its engines ran and ran and ran, while most of Ford's didn't.

Whoever it may be, it hurts to see someone like Roush Yates' John Maddox get hit with something like an apparent crankshaft trigger wheel failure. A genuine nice guy who'd give someone-in-need the shirt off his back, Maddox was nothing less than stunned by late Saturday evening and numbed on Sunday morning.

    DC Williams for Motorsport.com

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About this article
Series General , Grand-Am
Drivers Antonio Garcia , Michael Andretti , Wayne Taylor , Nick Longhi , Sascha Maassen , David Haskell , Andy Lally , Hurley Haywood , Darren Law , David Donohue , Jörg Bergmeister , Paul Newman , Al Holbert , Max Angelelli , A.J. Allmendinger , Patrick Long , Buddy Rice , Justin Marks , Burt Frisselle , Spencer Pumpelly , BJ Zacharias , R.J. Valentine , Jonathan Bomarito , Chip Ganassi , Jeff Segal , Matt Plumb , Nick Ham , Kevin Doran , Sarel van der Merwe , Joe Foster , Tony Martin , Patrick Pilet , Graham Duxbury , Richard Lietz , Tim George Jr. , Phillip Martien , Tom Walkinshaw
Teams Williams , Krohn Racing , Wright Motorsports , Doran Racing , SpeedSource