DC's Rolex 24 at Daytona, leftovers edition

Rolex 24 at Daytona, Leftovers Edition DOING THE ROLEX 24 Okay, in case anyone missed it before: Though just one race, the Rolex 24 At Daytona time-wise is roughly equivalent to 60-percent of the rest of the Rolex Series entire 2008 ...

Rolex 24 at Daytona, Leftovers Edition


Okay, in case anyone missed it before: Though just one race, the Rolex 24 At Daytona time-wise is roughly equivalent to 60-percent of the rest of the Rolex Series entire 2008 schedule.

That means about six- to seven-race's worth of materiel - tires, gas, oil, food, caffeine, antacids, antiperspirants and, for some, antidepressants - were expended in the pursuit of its victory.

Driving only one Rolex 24 shift, a team driver on average will equal or exceed the total time two drivers will expend in each of 11 races on this season's 14-race Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16's calendar.

Depending on total number of drivers per team - no fewer than three and no more than five - a Rolex-24 driver will average somewhere around five- to eight-hours of seat time.

Now, that's just the drivers.

Bob Stallings was up the entire race. Chip Ganassi got two hours' sleep in 36 and was in charge of worrying after handing-off race strategy to guys like CGRwFS director Mike Hull - who didn't even try faking two-hours sleep.

Crew members - from team engineers to tire runners - didn't sleep, either. Those who partook of it did so in conditions that would've left certain political types absolutely howling had Guantanamo Bay detainees (and similar others) been subjected to the same - even if only for the same period of time.

Though dedicated journalists had relatively dry and warm indoor accommodations during their 36- to 40-hour shifts, the food - if one got any during the not-really-very-convenient scheduled chow times - was at least Guantanamo-like quality.

Yet, most of those who endured the Rolex 24 - whether on or off the track - likely will be back for the 2009 version, "life" willing.

Oh, and the Rolex 24 also means a certain journalist will generate 60-percent more verbiage than for a "regular" race. You poor things.


Coming out of the 2008 Rolex 24 is a debate about whether Chip Ganassi Racing With Felix Sabates is the first team owner to score three-straight Rolex 24s.

Partially driving the debate is a question about for whom Peter Gregg raced in the 1976 race when he, as a driver, would win his third-consecutive Rolex 24 race.

A total non-issue herein is that there wasn't a 1974 race; attributable to the 1973-1974 gas crisis (during which I drove a 454 Monte Carlo having massive, rod-bending acceleration and got, oh, maybe 8-mpg even when balloon-footing. Rev limiters? You're so funny!).

Yes, 1974 existed. If nothing else, 37th U.S. President Richard Milhous Nixon became the first U.S. president to resign in August, 1974.

Yet, despite however much the world might otherwise crave, absent from the history books is any evidence of Sir Isaac Newton having discovered - even after a FIKSE wheel fell upon his head - a corresponding "Rolex 24" Law of Physics dictating one such race each year.

One can speculate all they wish about what may or may not have happened had there been a 1974 Rolex 24. Fact: Gregg drove in and won three straight such races.

Various official records show the entrant as "BMW of North America" for the late, great race driver's 1976 BMW 3.5 CSL race-winning car, whereas "Brumos Porsche" was Gregg's car entrant for the preceding 1973 and 1975 Rolex 24 races, which he won with some guy by the name of Hurley Haywood.

Additionally, Haywood placed third in the 1976 race (with Jim Busby) driving a Porsche 911 Carrera entered by, you guessed it, Brumos Porsche.

Indeed, if anyone got screwed in the deal it was Haywood, whose thoughts on the "entrant" issue were nevertheless sought because of his inside line:

"We were a BMW dealer back then, too, but Peter formed Peter H. Gregg Racing specifically for that year's 24 and if you'll look at the Victory Lane pictures from that time you'll see Peter H. Gregg Racing on the car," Haywood said, omitting that Gregg's BMW was numbered "59" - a number likely to be forever associated with "Brumos" and one used by Brumos long before the 1976 race.

"But, on top of that, it had the same staffing and crew as if it would've been a Brumos car. The guys in the pits were all Brumos, all the mechanics were Brumos, all the equipment came from Brumos."

So, why did Gregg race the BMW, Hurley?

"Peter couldn't get what he wanted from Porsche that year so he just said, 'Screw it, I'm going to BMW,' who gave him what he wanted. So, Peter wins the race and the next year Porsche didn't hassle him at all; gave Peter everything he asked for."

Coming next! An exclusive, exhaustive report on the number of owners who won one-straight or fewer Rolex 24s!


All-time leading Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen (seven wins) stopped over at Daytona International Speedway Sunday morning to take in a little of the Rolex 24 - an event he'd not previously seen in person.

Pursuant to a reaction that is pretty typical for those who see the massive facility for the first time, Kristensen was further "wowed" by the race, the 3.56-mile track and the caliber of those competing upon it.

Frankly, Kristensen's candor was surprising and refreshing. No political overtones were evident in what Kristensen had to say, adding that he'd very much like to undertake a Rolex 24 driving challenge.

As would Kristensen, Allan McNish also hung out in the DIS media center.

The story of his riding the rear seat of a Royal Air Force Tornado strike-fighter - buzzing his mother's Scottish home in the process - was hilarious.

Undertaking a variety of flight conditions - from pulling numerous, multiple G's to hauling-butt at near-treetop levels - McNish volunteered the one thing keeping him from use of "The Bag" was knowledge it was an act that "not only would the pilot know I did it, but so too would the guys cleaning the plane" and so on.

McNish expressed belief word of the deed would've thereafter flashed around the world.

The restraining power of "others knowing" is considerable - as is "anonymity" to the other extreme.


Asked to name the man Fortune Magazine most recently identified as the "world's richest" most people likely would miss correctly naming Mexico's Carlos Slim, who heads a business empire that includes Telmex - Mexico's largest telephone company, now expanding into South America.

The primary sponsor of the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing With Felix Sabates Lexus-Riley, Telmex a few seasons back displaced sponsor CompUSA, which also is owned by Slim.

No robber baron, a biography of Slim - short or long - is suggested reading.


Notice how race car drivers will say "Roger" when referring by name to boss Roger Penske or "Chip" when talking to or about Floyd Ganassi Jr., but always it is "Mr. Hendrick" when referring to Rick Hendrick?

Ah, here's one possible reason for the differentiation, at least in Chip's case: "We stole the horses, kissed the girls, robbed the bank and now we're leaving town," Ganassi said after the No. 01 Telmex Lexus-Riley won the Rolex 24.

The Rolex 24's full-course caution count - the periods during which a pace car was used to gather the racing field - came in at an official 22 (for 112 laps) and not the 24 as was at first initially reported; nevertheless still a record.

In the quest for first place, 35 different drivers led the 46th Rolex 24; their 15 cars racking up 64 different swaps for the lead. Only 11 drivers would lead the race for three or fewer race laps; 12 drivers led for 20 or more laps.

With 119, Michael Shank Racing's 14th-place No. 6 Ford-Riley MkXX compiled the 46th Rolex 24's second-highest number of leading laps. Accounting for the race's third, seventh and 12th-highest individual lap counts were drivers A.J. Allmendinger (66 laps), Burt Frisselle (33) and Ian James (20).

How can one of the series' best drivers, Burt Frisselle, not have a 2008 ride after the Rolex 24? The answer is he'll have a ride by the Mar. 29 Homestead-Miami Speedway race - hopefully. During a Sunday morning SPEED interview and whilst in the midst of his own Rolex-24 Stare, Kevin Doran let slip that Frisselle is getting a Dallara. However, Doran's shop already is running nearly round-the-clock to build numerous chassis already on order and, according to certain reporter with whom Doran golfed earlier in the Rolex-24 week, Doran said Frisselle's chassis is "iffy" for Miami. Bummer.

On another Doran front, his relationship with Ford Racing has dramatically soured and it hasn't a thing to do with his Roush Yates-built engines, which Doran's team solely campaigned in 2007's Rolex Series' DP ranks.

Look for a possible shift by the team to Pontiac engines by Miami. Too bad for Ford Racing, too, because it not only could lose Doran but at least two of sportscar's best in the form of Frisselle and Memo Gidley. Furthermore, many top Rolex Series teams are clearly concerned about the upcoming Dallara DP's expected competitive impact. More from this writer on the broadly ranging "Ford" issue is in the works.

Speaking of Roush, Jack Roush was on hand to watch son Jack Jr. race in Friday's three-hour Koni Challenge race. Young Jack (with co-driver Dean Martin) finished 10th in Friday's Koni Challenge Fresh From Florida 200 race. The senior Roush said he is inclined as an owner to "jump into (Grand Am) with both feet."

Two Rolex 24 jokes:

"I put Juan Pablo and Scott in the same car so that they wouldn't be able to hit each other." - Chip Ganassi, before the two drivers helped win the Rolex 24 in the No. 01 Telmex Lexus-Riley.

"I hear TRG's Kevin Buckler showed up for the Rolex 24 with five haulers - three carrying his seven Porsches and the other two for his attorneys." - Sylvain Tremblay, before he won the Rolex 24 GT class in his No. 70 Castrol MAZDA RX-8.

Despite noteworthy efforts on the part of Jimmie Johnson and Kurt Busch - who made significant contributions to Rolex 24 teams that respectively finished second and third overall - Juan Pablo Montoya has clearly emerged as the best sportscar racer of the NASCAR lot, displacing an absent Tony Stewart.

Despite a Sunday morning Rolex-24 Stare, Patrick Dempsey nonetheless chose an unprotected walk to his faraway pit - signing autographs about every third step along the way - so that he could undertake some fan interaction.

Dempsey will demonstrate the depth of his commitment to sportscar racing should he compete at the Rolex Series' second round Mar. 29 at Homestead-Miami Speedway after enduring his first "24" - a race that has been known to break and send "wannabes" packing.


TRAVIS BICKEL: "I'm glad we won this because he worked on the car with us and it's just as much his victory as it is ours." - Dave Penna, No. 01 Telmex Lexus-Riley mechanic

BOB SNODGRASS: "Bob has been by my side at every Rolex 24 since 1973 and it's been very hard not having him here for this one." - Hurley Haywood, five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona winner

    -DC Williams

- 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 , Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing