Daytona 24: 11 hours down

With 10 hours in the books, there has been some exciting racing. There are some clear leaders, and some that are clearly not leaders.  One thing that has surprised me is the utter lack of attrition induced middle of the night thrashes in the garages.  The teams that are falling out of the race are either so far gone that they pull the car into the garage, shut her down, and calmly walk away (as I saw Martin Ragginger do with his failed Burtin Racing Porsche), or they are still chugging along out on the track.

Last year’s race was so pockmarked by shunts and failures that it was surprising how few cars actually finished the race. The only two cars that I am remotely surprised to see in the pits are the R8 GT car of Oryx racing and the Corvette Daytona Prototype of Suntrust Racing.  Both cars are new for this season, and have had very little time on track, which makes the failures slightly less surprising.  Another retiree (no pun intended) is the 50+/Predator/Highway to Help car.  As Brian Johnson was coming around, he lost his gearbox, yet called his Rolex experience “a bag full of fun” regardless.

Without wishing to jinx anything, it seems that the Porsches are taking complete control of the GT field with Brumos’ Mark Lieb leaging, followed closely by Magnus’ Andy Lally, and Alex Job Racing’s Marco Holzer, who, in turn, is just ahead of TRG’s Wolf Henzler.  Henzler, Holzer and Lieb are Porsche factory drivers, while Lally is an extremely accomplished Porsche driver, proving that the German company does not take this race lightly.

In the Daytona Prototypes class, it seems to be more of the same as we have become used to.  The red, white, and blue duo of Telmex Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates cars have spent the first ten hours running a pace they are comfortable with, while staying within sight of the lead.  As things shuffle out, it looks that Scott Dixon leads from Graham Rahal.  Many made comment that the Ganassi BMW Rileys were lurking around, looking intimidating, but not doing much.  Well, this is their answer to that.

All of that said, Alan McNish has just stepped back into his Ford Riley, and will begin his hunt of the Ganassi cars.

There have been 9 different leaders and 32 changes of lead.  We are currently on schedule to break the record for lead changes set in 2008.One thing that I have learned in the overnight section is that I am absolute rubbish at shooting cars on the banking in the dark.  Therefore, I will only show one night picture, even though it’s been dark for quite a while.  Like I said before, the Party Porch is a great place for photos.  I witnessed the Brumos car go for a spin there twice.  This pirouette was performed by Hurley Haywood, and the earlier one by Leh Keen.  Either way, there was no damage done, and the car currently leads the GT class.



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