Ganassi Racing team off to strong start at Rolex 24 in Daytona
By The Associated Press
Published: Saturday, Jan. 26, 2013, 7:20 p.m.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Scott Pruett's chase for the Rolex record is off to a strong start.
Pruett and his Chip Ganassi Racing teammates were out front in the early stages of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Pruett started on the pole Saturday and pretty much stayed ahead of the field for the first three hours of the 24-hour endurance event. It was the perfect way for Pruett to begin his pursuit of Hurley Haywood's record of five Rolex victories.
Pruett, a five-time series champion, maneuvered the No. 01 BMW Riley around the 3.56-mile road course without any problems — something few drivers could say in the early going.
AJ Allmendinger, whose Michael Shank Racing team won the event last year, fell way behind in the first hour after breaking a tie rod on the No. 60 Ford Riley. The part affected steering and suspension, and left the car seven laps back.
Allmendinger was suspended by NASCAR last season for failing a random drug test and sent home hours before the July race at Daytona. He was hoping to make a triumphant return while defending his Rolex title.
Instead, Allmendinger and teammates Ozz Negri, Justin Wilson, John Pew and Marcos Ambrose could have a tough time catching up. Then again, anything can and often does happen in the twice-around-the-clock test that kicks off the racing season.
Allmendinger wasn't the only driver who ran into trouble early, either.
Fellow Daytona Prototype drivers Stephane Sarrazin, Ian James and Bruno Junqueira fell laps behind. Sarrazin had a transmission problem. James had a gearbox issue. Junqueira spun off the track.
So, four of the 17 cars in the DP class were seemingly out of it.
The six Corvettes in the field were so slow in qualifying that Grand-Am officials gave them an extra five horsepower. That decision followed a previous one that stripped the Chevrolets of power.
“It cost us dramatically,” said Alex Gurney of Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing. “Really, I don't understand why they did it. I mean, I think they felt that a lot of guys were sandbagging, and it turned out that they weren't.”
Pruett and his teammates could be the beneficiaries.
“The (car) is running really good,” Pruett said. “It's fun to drive. The car is really fun. You can carve your way through traffic. You need to be heads-up, as we see out there. It can be a little wild with some of the GT cars. They'll get racing four or five abreast, and you really have to pick your way through those guys. Short of that, it's been trouble free.”
Ganassi's other car, the No. 02, spent time in second place. But four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti lost several positions on a restart that left him trying to make up spots as the sun set on the famed speedway.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- 4 dead in ‘horrific’ Armstrong County crash
- Rice cornerback among 3 draft prospects to visit Steelers
- Astronomers find most Earth-like planet yet
- NHL notebook: Blues begin series without T.J. Oshie
- UPMC: As many as 27,000 employees affected in data breach
- Kovacevic: Bylsma’s moves — yes, moves — pay off
- Pirates notebook: Tabata OK’d to return to play
- Pittsburgh Public Theater will be staging George Bernard Shaw classic ‘Candida’
- ‘Frozen’ soundtrack: Kids can’t ‘Let It Go’
- Dancer Hadala retiring after storied career with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre
- Fashion FYI: Deschanel, Hilfiger team up for new Macy’s line