Pat Jennings, Grand-Am correspondent
Action Express Racing’s Joao Barbosa led the 50th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway after three hours of racing. Barbosa’s Corvette DP held a narrow lead over Justin Wilson in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley. Lucas Luhr lay third behind the wheel of the pole sitting Starworks Ford Riley. Michael Valiante in the second Starworks entry and the Ganassi Racing BMW Riley of Memo Rojas rounded out the top-five.
Ten of the 14 Daytona Prototypes that started the race were running on the lead lap at the three-hour point. The Gainsco Bob Stallings Corvette was one lap down to the leaders, while the Doran Racing Ford Dallara and Alegra Motorsports BMW Riley were many laps off the pace.
There was a problem in the valve train. We’re not sure exactly what it is.
The big story after three hours was the demise of the SunTrust Corvette, which suffered engine trouble in the first hour and was officially withdrawn just prior to the three-hour mark. “Obviously, we have had an engine issue,” explained team owner Wayne Taylor. “It’s totally unrelated to the driver even though there was a statement that Max (Angelelli) might have over-revved the engine. That was absolutely not the case. There was a problem in the valve train. We’re not sure exactly what it is. But there is a problem (big enough) for us to pull the car out (of the race). We’ll just go back, regroup, and go to the next event.”
In the GT class, the Autohaus Motorsports Camaro GT.R, driven by Paul Edwards, led the way, followed by Porsches fielded by Magnus Racing, the Racer’s Group, and Flying Lizard.
Besides the SunTrust car, six other cars have been withdrawn from the race: The No. 43 Team Sahlen Mazda RX-8, both of the new Audi R8 Grand-Ams, the Racer’s Edge Motorsports Viper, the Michael Baughman Racing Corvette, and one of the two Muehlner Motorsports Porsches.