Daytona Finale: Chris Gleason race report

Gleason finishes on the podium in Grand American finale at Daytona Saturday DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Nov. 1 - Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. has been competing in American Le Mans Series (ALMS) events all year, but he added the Grand American Rolex...

Gleason finishes on the podium in Grand American finale at Daytona Saturday

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Nov. 1 - Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. has been competing in American Le Mans Series (ALMS) events all year, but he added the Grand American Rolex Series' season finale to his schedule at the last minute. That move turned out to be a very successful one, as the Johnstown, Pa.-based driver ended up on the podium Saturday at Daytona International Speedway when he and his two teammates finished third in the very competitive GT class and tenth overall.

Saturday Gleason and co-drivers Kevin Buckler of Sonoma, Calif. and Pierre Ehret of Santa Rosa, Calif., drove the Racer's Group Porsche GT3 RS #66, which is the same car that won the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona here in February. It's sponsored by Gleason Financial, Monster Cable, Rennlist.com, Adobe Road Winery and New Century Mortgage.

Scuderia Ferrari of Washington won the class and the GT championship by finishing seventh overall, while the Rennwerks Porsche was second in class and eighth overall.

Buckler, the team owner, drove the first stint in the two-hour-and-45-minute race while Gleason drove the second stint and Ehret got in at the end of the two-hour-and-45-minute race, which was televised live on SPEED. Gleason got into the car under a full-course caution an hour and 13 minutes into the race, and he drove for an hour and 5 minutes.

Gleason's stint turned out to be longer than planned because of a problem with the cable for the radio in the cockpit that allows the driver to communicate with the pit crew.

"When that last full-course caution came out, I thought they said to stay out but they wanted me to pit," Gleason explained later. "I didn't hear it so I stayed out. Then we had to make our last stop under green, which put us at a disadvantage."

"But the car ran well all day," he continued. "This series has spec tires, so saving your tires is very important. Even when I was dicing with the #44, I was trying to balance my aggressiveness and take care of my tires."

At the time Jay Poliscastro of Latrobe, Pa. was in the #44, which is another Porsche. "We're good friends and it was fun to have a nice dice together," Gleason added of his fellow competitor from western Pennsylvania.

"All in all it was a great way to end the season," Gleason added. "Our pit stops were great and the whole team did a terrific job."

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kevin Buckler , Chris Gleason