GAINSCO No. 99 Top Pontiac in DP, Banner No. 07 Top GXP.R in GT Daytona Beach, Fla., January 26, 2008 -- Pontiac powered Grand-Am racers are sixhours into the 46th running of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.
GAINSCO No. 99 Top Pontiac in DP, Banner No. 07 Top GXP.R in GT
Daytona Beach, Fla., January 26, 2008 -- Pontiac powered Grand-Am racers are sixhours into the 46th running of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona. As night fell the rain also started falling on the 60 car sports car field.
Heading up the Pontiac charge to the 1:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon finish is the No. 99 GAINSCO Pontiac currently running in second in the Daytona Prototype (DP) category. The team from Texas is the reigning Rolex Series champions. Bob Stallings group made a prerace decision to start on rain tires. That caused the team to pit on the first lap to change back to slicks.
"We started with rain tires on, which we thought was the safe choice," Gurney said. "We had to pit at the beginning and had to go all the way back to the tail end of the GT field. I was able to work my through the traffic with no problems. I am happy with the way the car is handling, I feel good in general. At the start of my third stint, I did a double stint on the same set of tires. They held in well the entire time. We are all doing double turns at the wheel and I will get back in sometime before midnight."
SunTrust Racing experienced an electrical glitch just before the six-hour mark causing them to go down a lap and running in 14th. Seventeen year old Ricky Taylor, son of team owner Wayne Taylor got his first taste of the Rolex 24 which his father has won twice.
"Everything is good with the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac," Ricky Taylor said. "I had a little understeer, but was able to dial a little bit of that out. There is so much GT traffic. I was able to catch the traffic in the right places and make clean passes. You are passing more than six cars a lap, very busy out there. I am just being confident and being sure not to get frustrated. I was following our partner nine car and just doing clean laps. I can't wait until my next stint tonight."
Ricky's Dad, team owner Wayne, had an emotional moment when his son entered the track for his first laps in the famed Rolex 24 and he viewed him on the in-car camera.
"I got choked up when I saw my son on TV racing at Daytona in my car," Wayne Taylor said. "He had a little bit of pressure getting in the car behind Max Angelelli, but he did a great job. He was right behind the nine car with Briscoe and he didn't put a wheel wrong. I am very proud."
Team owner Jim Matthews took the second stint in his No. 91 Riley-Matthews Motorsports Pontiac Riley. The team is currently running in tenth.
"It wasn't too bad," Matthews said. "I didn't have any trouble my first time out. We had some mid-corner push in the car and that is where a lot of the other cars were catching me. I dialed it out a little with the sway bar adjustment. It was good to get the first stint out of the way and settle in for the rest of the race."
Heading up the Pontiac GT field is No.07 Banner Racing GXP.R. Jan Magnussen just got out of the car and turned over to Paul Edwards in fifth place.
"We are doing exactly we have to do," Magnussen said. "We are doing consistent lap times, the guys are making great pit stops and the strategy is perfect so far. With our lack of speed on the bank we have to be safer and smarter than the other guys, so far so good."
The No. 06 Banner Pontiac GXP.R is currently running tenth in GT. Robert Nearn took over the wheel from Andy Pilgrim with the car solidly in the top ten.
"My first time out was good," Nearn said. "Early in the race the traffic is crazy, you get boxed in and it tries your patience. We have spotters around the track which is really helpful. One of them is an air traffic controller and she is very precise. The rears tend to go pretty fast, so we have to adjust the car as we go, but no big deal."
In the No. 72 Autohaus GXP.R Max Papis put in his stint and the car based out of Pompano Beach, Florida is currently in 13th.
"The Pontiacs suffer a little on top speed around the bank, just a weight thing," Papis said. People are really aggressive out there, pushing and bumping, I hope is gets a little cleaner tonight. The traffic is intense. You really have to be defensive. So far the car is perfect."
-credit: gm racing