Pontiac At Daytona 18 Hour Report Pontiac Second in DP and fourth in GT at day break Daytona Beach, Fla., January 27, 2008 -- Pontiac Daytona Prototypes (DP) and GT cars are still contending for victory at day break in the 46th running of the...
Pontiac At Daytona 18 Hour Report
Pontiac Second in DP and fourth in GT at day break
Daytona Beach, Fla., January 27, 2008 -- Pontiac Daytona Prototypes (DP) and GT cars are still contending for victory at day break in 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 is currently second and in GT it is Stevenson Motorsports running in fourth.
The No. 99 GAINSCO Pontiac is running second with just six hours to go as day light peaks over the grand stands at the World Center of Racing. Drivers Alex Gurney, Jon Fogarty, Jimmie Johnson and Jimmie Vasser have run nearly trouble free all race, however the Texas team is currently running without first gear.
"We are battling for the lead so things are going well," Vasser said. "Kyle Brannan our engineer is making great calls. The Stallings team is doing well. Lot of time left to go. My stint went from dry to wet and back to dry. It is tough to see through the windshield in these conditions. We have had no mechanical problems. The car is reasonably fast and we are not really pushing that hard. We are being careful to drive within the means of the car and the braking."
SunTrust Racing is still in catch-up mode attempting to make up lost laps. Wayne Taylor, team owner, had Michael Valiante and Max Angelelli in the car most of the night running fast laps.
"We had some brake issues just after the 12 hour mark," Taylor said. "So we changed out all four corners. We are running as hard as we can to make up laps. Max and Michael are ran hard through the night. We just have to go as fast as we can and hope some bad luck hits those in front of us."
The No. 91 Riley-Matthews Motorsports Pontiac Riley has had a near fault free run all night. The new bodied Riley is running in sixth. Johnny Connell knows there are certain things to expect from a 24 hour race.
"We are doing laps," O'Connell said. "We are having a little trouble putting power down at the exit of the corner. The rest is pretty much just endurance stuff, dirty windshield, things like that. The engine and gearbox are sound and we are running very consistently in the top ten."
The No. 75 Krohn Racing Riley Pontiac is running in eleventh position. Eric Van de Poele and the team is working through the changing weather conditions.
"For me, my last stint was a nightmare because I had a puncture in the beginning," Van de Poele said. "I had to come back because we had another problem with it that required me to pit again. And then we decided to use rain tires and the rain stopped. So I had to drive my stint on rain tires and all the cars passed me. But it was better to do that than to pit under the green."
Stevenson Motorsports is now leading the charge for the Pontiac contingent in GT. Their No. 57 Pontiac GXP.R is running in fourth position. Randy Pobst likes the team's new Pontiac.
"The car handles and stops great," Pobst said. "We can out run anyone under braking and through the infield. It is a beautiful car to drive. It gives great feedback at the limit. We just need a little more speed on the straight, the other front running GT cars are fast on the banking."
The rest of the Pontiac GXP.R racers have spent considerable time in the garage. The No. 07 leading just after halfway when Paul Edwards became the victim of a DP spin at the exit of turn two.
"I was running a good comfortable pace in the lead," said Edwards. "I exited turn two and the green DP car was spun in the middle of the track. Two GT cars in front split and the DP car I was following checked-up and I rear-ended him. It caused considerable damage to our car; the guys had to change the entire front nose."
The No. 06 Banner Pontiac had the early right rear half-shaft problem and then Marc Bunting hit the wall exiting the pits. The same fate was witnessed by Craig Stanton in the No. 72 Autohaus GXP.R. Both cars returned to the track just after the halfway mark many laps down.
-credit: gm racing