A classic Daytona win


This year’s Rolex 24 hours at Daytona produced a similar result to last year with a Brumos Porsche winning from one of Chip Ganassi’s two cars, but without 2009’s drama when Juan Pablo Montoya battled fiercely with David Donohue. The closing hours of this year’s race were disappointingly flat as the lead car driven by Terry Borcheller/Joao Barbosa/Mike Rockenfeller/Ryan Dalziel maintained a comfortable half-lap cushion over its only remaining challenger, Ganassi’s Riley-BMW driven by Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas/Justin Wilson/Max Papis. Wilson had to pit unexpectedly during the final hour when he felt a violent bang from beneath the car, enabling the Brumos Porsche to win by 52 seconds.


It was a classic long-distance victory in that the winning car was the only Daytona Prototype to run the race essentially trouble-free, although the drivers did have to struggle with a sticking throttle and clutch failure. Faultless driving and pitwork were key to their success.


“I didn’t expect that we would be there at the end,” said Rockenfeller. “We were struggling with the handling most of the weekend but the team did a really good job to fix the car. We were pretty much changing everything on the set-up before the race. We didn’t know what to expect, but the car as perfect.”

Added Dalziel: “All four of us went into this race with a major unknown. We were pretty lost in practice but I knew if we could be reliable we’d be there at the end, and after the first couple of hours it was obvious we were fast. We never went off track or had any mechanical problems and I think this is a huge achievement for a new team.”

The winning Riley-Porsche was built and prepared at the Brumos team’s race shop in North Carolina under Mike Colluci’s direction, but the car was entered under the Action Express Racing moniker. The tough economic times compelled Brumos to lay off a number of employees at its dealerships last year, resulting in a decision to run just one rather than two Grand-Am cars in 2010. In turn the race team took the opportunity to build a different car powered by a Cayenne-based V8 built in California by the Lozano Brothers.

Built around a Riley chassis similar to last year’s winner and powered by a conventional Porsche engine, the new combination was turned out in off-white with a German flag down the middle. Colucci and Brumos also brought in veteran NASCAR crew chief and technical man Gary Nelson to help run the car.

Finishing third, four laps down, was the NPN Racing Riley-BMW driven by Scott Tucker/Ryan Hunter-Reay/Lucas Luhr/Richard Westbrook. Fourth, another 16 laps down, was Tracy Krohn’s Lola-Ford driven by Krohn/Nic Jonson/Ricardo Zonta/Colin Braun.


Among those out of luck were Ganassi’s second Riley-BMW driven by Montoya/Dario Franchitti/Scott Dixon/Jamie McMurray (above), which led more than 140 laps before blowing an engine. The Riley-Porsche of last year’s winner, Brumos Racing, blew its flat-six motor after 20 hours while defending Grand-Am champions Alex Gurney/Jon Fogarty and Daytona team-mates Jimmie Johnson (below)/Jimmy Vasser ran into a variety of problems, finally succumbing to a broken oil pump. Also out of luck were Wayne Taylor’s SunTrust Dallara-Ford and Mike Shank’s pair of Riley-Fords. This trio swept the top three places in qualifying but ran into various troubles in the race and finished fifth, sixth and seventh.


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