DC's Roaring in Daytona Beach

DC here, at Daytona International Speedway's "Roar Before The 24" - or something like that. Hey, I like racing; the noise a car makes under hard acceleration; quick-shifts up and down through the gears; drivers' deft maneuverings; entertainment...

DC here, at Daytona International Speedway's "Roar Before The 24" - or something like that.

Hey, I like racing; the noise a car makes under hard acceleration; quick-shifts up and down through the gears; drivers' deft maneuverings; entertainment figures who, like the rest of us and in a manner best left for each to decide, finds renewal in the sounds, smells and camaraderie of racing; and, even, the hardworking souls at a track who facilitate the above.

However, poetry is something race-track marketing types really ought to leave to others, especially when at the "poet-and-don't-know-it" expertise level.

JUST WONDERING . . .

. . . if Danica Patrick - who on Saturday announced she'd again be plying the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway Rolex 24 course - is still a tad mad at fellow IRL IndyCar Series driver Ryan Briscoe, also on hand for the "Roar" and, presumably, the Rolex 24.

Whatever, Briscoe, Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard is the sole Penske Racing driver stable here for The Roar, though two such cars were "entered" for the Rolex 24

("Official" Note: one must enter and participate in The Roar if one also wishes to run the Rolex 24. Given the costs involved, it might've been a good idea to this year waive that requirement and allow teams, with requisite licenses, skill levels and all that, to enter the Rolex 24 as they had for most of the race's history: up to midnight of the day prior to the start of actual race festivities).

The No. 5 car - without Kurt Busch or Helio Castroneves or whoever else might've driven the car - appears headed only for backup duty.

The attending Penske driving trio is driving the No. 7 Porsche-Riley that, itself, won't even make it beyond Sunday's second day of Roaring.

At 9:30 a.m. Monday, it'll morph into a purple-blue No. 16 Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Porsche-Riley, that's 50-lb. heavier and limited to 9,200 revolutions per minute.

No matter, Dumas still doesn't lift going through "Turn Four" (that would be in the infield; a DIS-course qualification that consistently eats up far too much space).

THE NEW WEIGHT AND REV LIMITATIONS ON PORSCHE POWER ...

... came just before The Roar and left most Porsche teams saying something along the lines of "Doggoneit" and "Oh, woe is me!"

Brumos Racing's No. 58 Porsche-Riley driver Darren Law, who's still looking for a win as a DP driver - now eight seasons deep, complete - on Saturday wondered aloud if he shouldn't have eaten that extra helping of off-season, holiday dinner stuffing, opining that having done such might've complicated weight matters even more so. Frankly, not an ounce of fat appears to be found on Law's body, not that this writer has closely examined such.

Nevertheless, Law's co-driver, David Donohue (say "Happy Birthday" to him on Monday), suggested a lobotomy on Law likely would prove sufficient, intimating an amount equal to the new weight ballast would be found in fat excised alone from Law's prefrontal lobe.

Still, the Brumos Porsche team rolled up its sleeves, took to the track Saturday and promptly blew the car's newest Porsche engine - others reportedly having recently done the same during private tests.

(Though information on the above-noted Porsche engine failure was supplied by a person having firsthand knowledge in the matter, Porsche Motorsport North America acting technical director Nick Lester subsequently contacted yours truly in the wake of the just-finished Daytona test to state that the "Brumos engine did not blow up" but that the power-plant's failure was attributable to an unrelated electrical issue. Mr. Lester additionally stated that "Porsche-powered Grand Am cars have had zero engine failures during the off-season testing this winter.")

And Dumas has yet to lift while transiting The Kink (yep, same infield turn, just a kinkier name).

SPEAKING OF DANICA . . .

... to many, the biggest surprise thus far coming out of this test is Casey Mears' being named among Patrick's No. 2 Childress-Howard Pontiac-Crawford driver list, along with Andy Wallace and Rob Finlay.

Much of the pre-announcement speculation centered around Kevin Harvick or, at times, even Clint Bowyer, both of whom drive for Richard Childress Racing over on NASCAR's Sprint Cup side (and, remember, the Rolex Series is now officially on NASCAR's "sportscar" side - the Rolex Series staff even sporting "NASCAR" shirt-sleeve patches).

Mears, who teamed with onetime Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon to win the 2006 Rolex 24, will make his first appearance in the Childress-Howard car Sunday - even though the car took flight Saturday.

And, no, "taking flight" isn't considered an admirable trait for any car, even a Mercedes (or two, or three).

A right-rear tire "went from pressurized to zero faster than I just said it," car-constructor Max Crawford said while the car was undergoing relatively light repairs, especially considering the incident's negative potential.

"Andy was doing 194 mph (at the fastest point in the Daytona International Speedway's tri-oval) when the telemetry showed the tire went down," Crawford said. "Andy at first thought something broke."

It was right about that time, just when Wallace was a millisecond from a full-court brake press for his transition to the infield, when the car went airborne.

Other than accomplishing a broad, one-point landing on its aft section, that was about as spectacular as it got. Thank goodness.

All was well with Wallace and, other than superficially, the Childress-Howard car.

Like Mears, Richard Childress was to be at the track Sunday.

TIMING IS EVERYTHING ...

... and, by now, every red-blooded series devotee is already aware that Mike Shank Racing is picking up where it left off at last year's Rolex 24 - insofar as fast cars are concerned - with the No. 6 of John Pew, Michael Valiante, A.J. Allmendinger and Ian James having scored Saturday's fastest lap time. It's the only Daytona Prototype to have broken into the 41's with a 1:41.760.

Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas and Juan Pablo Montoya's No. 01 Telmex Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix (y Jose) Sabates Lexus-Riley was second fast.

Third-fast was the No. 58 Brumos Porsche-Riley of David Donohue, Darren Law, Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia.

In fourth was the No. 16 Penske Racing Porsche-Riley (and Dumas still hasn't lifted; anywhere, actually).

Rounding out the top-five of Saturday's fastest DP times was the first non-Riley, SunTrust's No. 10 Ford-Dallara from Wayne Taylor Racing.

There are more storylines, but the cars are now on the track for Sunday's first session and it's time to take a walk on pit road - that urge to smell castor oil and (better) hear gear shifts is just too powerful to resist.

Later.

DC Williams exclusively for Motorsport.com

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About this article
Series General , Grand-Am
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Williams , Chip Ganassi Racing , Richard Childress Racing , Team Penske , Wayne Taylor Racing