Pontiac leads DP and GT at halfway Daytona Beach, Fla., January 27, 2008 -- Pontiac leads both classes in the DP and GT categories at the 46th running of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Rolex 24 Hour ...
Pontiac leads DP and GT at halfway
Daytona Beach, Fla., January 27, 2008 -- Pontiac leads both classes in the DP and GT categories at the 46th running of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona. In DP GAINSCO leads and in GT it is Banner Racing at the point.
The No. 99 GAINSCO Pontiac currently leads the race with another 12 hours remaining. Drivers Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty, Jimmie Johnson and Jimmie Vasser have run nearly trouble free all race.
"I had a great experience out there," Johnson said. "We have a great car. We're just really trying to stick to our rhythm. I tried not to put the car into any bad situations. Even doing that, I found myself in a sandwich with two Porsches. At first it didn't bother me because I'm use to the rubbing with the Sprint Cup car. Then I remember you can't touch people with these. There are some Martinsville doughnuts on the side of this thing right now and it is from yours truly."
The No. 9 Penske-Taylor Racing Pontiac Riley is running in fourth. The team had to recover from an early tire problem that caused the team to replace the front nose. NASCAR driver Kurt Busch spent some of his first stint running in the rain.
"We are having a good race," Busch said. "It started raining during my stint, something I am not used to in NASCAR. I just took my time and got used to the conditions and made the best of it. Helio [Castroneves] and Ryan [Briscoe] are doing a great job. The team has had flawless pit stops and we were able to recover from that early tire problem."
SunTrust Racing is running flat-out as they attempt to make up lost time from their unexplained electrical problem around the six hour mark.
"We are working hard to catch backup," Angelelli said. "We are coming back. The tires are really good. They come into temperature in about a lap. We are flat out pushing to catch back up after our electrical problem. We still really don't know what happened, but the car is fine now."
In the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley the team has had the car up toward the front nearly all race. The green and blue car is currently in 11th place. Nic Jonsson is happy with the effort at the halfway point.
"We have a good car," Jonsson said. "We started back and then I got in and we were in 15th, when I got out we were in fifth. We are being very cautious and running a conservative race with the changing weather conditions. Some of the GT cars can be pretty erratic, but that is expected when you run the Rolex."
The No.07 Banner Racing GXP.R is leading the GT class. Paul Edwards took the car over the hump at the mid-night and are in the paddock for repair.
"I hit the pit wall exiting the pits, but had no real damage," Edwards said. "I think we got a weird set of tires. My lap time predict was off by some three seconds, so I think we might have had a tire or wheel problem. On that set of tires the car was really unstable and quick to turn in."
Stevenson Motorsports and their No. 57 Pontiac GXP.R are running strong in the top ten, currently in fifth position. Gunnar Jeannette is enjoying the trouble free run.
"We are just chugging along," Jeannette said. "It is tough when you get by the Porsches in the infield and then they just motor by you on the bank. We are sticking to our plan and keeping the wheels turning. The GXP.R has run trouble free so far and we are doing great."
The No. 06 Banner Pontiac had a right rear half-shaft problem with Andy Pilgrim at the wheel.
"Coming out of turn six, the car just pulled right and I almost went into the wall," Pilgrim said. "When I got in the car it was really pushing. I then adjusted the sway bar and my lap times improved by more than a second. I think Leighton moved them on me and forgot tell the guys."
In the No. 72 Autohaus GXP.R Lawson Aschenbach had an eventful second stint.
"We lost a lap early on when we got in traffic in the pits," Aschenbach said. "Then during my second stint I got caught out in traffic and had an easy spin, no damage. The team is doing a great job and there is a lot of time left in the race. No issues with the car, the Pontiac GXP.R is running great."
Just prior to the 12 hour mark both the No. 06 Banner Pontiac GXP.R as well as the No. 72 Autohaus Pontiac hit the wall exiting pit lane.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona can be watched on the SPEED Channel from 2:30 to 10:30p.m. ET Saturday, Jan. 26, with programming returning to SPEED on Sunday, Jan. 27 beginning at 6:00 a.m. ET and continuing through the checkered flag and post-race interviews. Eurosport 2 is broadcasting Rolex coverage throughout Europe.
-credit: gm racing