A Few Ticks of the Clock Determine Class Winners at Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona

Episode #197

January 29, 2017

Ford GT leads the Ferrari 488 GTE through the Bus Stop Chicane in early action at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. HTF Motorsports photo

Race winning Ford GT #66  leads the Ferrari 488 GTE through the Bus Stop Chicane in early action at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. HTF Motorsports photo

55th Annual 24 Hours of Daytona, We Were There

The classic race between Ferrari and Ford continued at Daytona with a sprinkling of Chevrolet to spice things up. In addition to the Fords, Ferrari, and Corvettes the Grand Touring Le Mans (GTLM ) class featured a couple Porsches 911 RSR and BMW M6 GTLMs.

 

The #5 Cadillac Daytona Prototype International (DPi) of the Whelen Mustang Sampling Racing team battled throughout the race with the #10 Cadillac DPi from the Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta  team. The # Whelen car went many laps down early in the race. HTF Motorsports photo

The white #5 Cadillac Daytona Prototype International (DPi) of the Whelen Engineering Mustang Sampling Racing team battled throughout the race with the black #10 Cadillac DPi -V.R from the Wayne Taylor Racing Konica Minolta team. The red # 31 Whelen car went many laps down early in the race. HTF Motorsports photo

Leading the Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes. HTF Motorsports photo

Leading the Grand Touring Daytona (GTD) Riley Motorsports-Team AMG Mercedes. HTF Motorsports photo

After 24 hours of racing one would think the cars would be spread out tremendously. Not the case at this year’s 24 Hours of Daytona. Three of the four classes were decided by a maximum of 3 seconds.

Jeff Gordon co-driver of the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac added a 24 Hours of Daytona win to his resume. Driving with Gordon were Ricky and Jordan taylor and Max Angelelli. This was Angelelli's final race before retiring. HTF Motorsports photo.

Jeff Gordon, co-driver of the #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac, added a 24 Hours of Daytona win to his resume. Driving with Gordon were Ricky and Jordan Taylor and Max Angelelli. This was Angelelli’s final race before retiring. HTF Motorsports photo.

The DPi finish was controversial when with 7 minutes and 10 seconds to go the second place Cadillac driven by Ricky Taylor drove to the inside of the #5 Cadillac of Filipe Albuquerque coming of the tri-oval into turn one. There was no room for the #10 when Albuquerque closed the door on it. Taylor spun the leader out and squirted into the lead.

No action was taken by IMSA officials, however, the Albuquerque must have seen red because he was able to close up to within .671 seconds at the finish line.

Outstanding pit stops late in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona put the #3 Chevrolet Corvette team in the lead which they were unable to hold eventually finishing  fourth in the GTLM class. HTF Motorsports photo

Outstanding pit stops late in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona put the #3 Chevrolet Corvette team in the lead which they were unable to hold, eventually finishing fourth in the GTLM class. HTF Motorsports photo

In the GTLM class the Ford GT driven by Dirk Mueller won by 2.98 seconds over the Patrick Pilet Porsche 911. Third place James Callado in the Ferrari 488 GTE was only .09 seconds out of second. The Antonio Garcia Corvette #3 finished fourth 1.54 seconds behind.

The GTD class saw Michael Christensen’s Porsche GT3 nudge out second place Christopher Mies in an Audi R8 by .293 seconds.

Only 3.944 seconds total separated first from second place in three classes. It was exciting for my brother and I to see a race that lasted 24 hours finish closer than many short track races.

Grant Weaver, Chip Ganassi Racing Team Manager and I before the Rolex 24 Hour race. William Hale Motorsports photo

Grant Weaver, Chip Ganassi Racing Team Manager and I before the Rolex 24 Hour race. William Hale Motorsports photo

Reunion With Grant Weaver

Whenever my FFA students and I had opportunity to be in Indianapolis for the FFA National Convention I arranged the “Gearhead Tour” where we visited many race shops. Grant was the person who arranged our time at Ganassi’s IndyCar shop.

Grant always made time to show my students not only the mechanical side of racing but the human side as well. He emphasized the need to get a good education and aggressively pursue your career interests.

Currently Weaver is the Team Manager for Ganassi’s Indianapolis facility. He schedules all the work that has to be done in the shop to maintain the four IndyCars and two USA based Ford GT race cars. During the longer races, he travels with the team and decides what to do with the race car if it must go to the garage prematurely. Who does what and what must happen to put that car back into the race.

Weaver lives in Indianapolis with his wife of 34 years, Joyce. He is active in the Boy Scouts and helped shepherd his four now adult sons to earn their Eagle Scout.

Daytona International Speedway's Grounds manager, Jason Griffeth and I at the Daytona Brickyard Grill. William Hale Motorsports photo

Daytona International Speedway’s Grounds Manager, Jason Griffeth and I at the Daytona Brickyard Grill. William Hale Motorsports photo

Meeting With Woodland’s Jason Griffeth

Anyone who viewed this year’s 24 Hours of Daytona race could not miss the swooping lines and stars on the turf on the front stretch. Mix of ryegrass planted late November 2016 stood out loud and clear for the kickoff for Speedweeks 2017.

Griffeth and crew planted the ryegrass into the Bermuda grass which goes dormant in the Florida winter. The two types of ryegrass gave the contrast needed to produce the brilliant camera ready shots of the infield whenever the race cars passed onto the front of the tri-oval. I am a little prejudice when it comes to Griffeth’s work, however, I suspect you would agree that on television the turf adds a brilliance seldom seen at most race tracks.

Close up view of the painted logo on the front stretch showing the vibrant colors of the turf with the painted logo. HTF Motorsports photo

Close up view of the painted logo on the front stretch showing the vibrant colors of the turf  and logo. HTF Motorsports photo

A close up view of the two contrasting colors of ryegrass used to make the swooping bars and stars found on the stadium area of the tri-oval. HTF Motorsports photo

A close up view of the two contrasting colors of ryegrass used to make the swooping bars and stars found on the stadium area of the tri-oval. HTF Motorsports photo

Grandstand view of the Daytona logo at the start/finish line. Photo courtesy Lou Masciarelli

Grandstand view of the Daytona logo at the start/finish line. Photo courtesy Lou Masciarelli

More photos headed your way next weekend. I need to go to bed since I am on my way to Indianapolis early Monday morning. I want to give a special thank you to my host and wheelchair driver, my brother, Bill Hale who made it possible for me to get from place to place all weekend despite a hip injury caused by sliding off my roof while removing snow. His home was my Florida headquarters.

Don’t forget next weekend is the Houlton Moosestomper’s SnoX Race on Sunday February 5th. More information can be found on the Moosestomper’s Facebook page or Race Director Jere Humphrey’s Last Chance Motorsports Facebook page.

Sno X start at Lincoln, Maine. Some of what one can expect at Tame the Track 2017 in Houlton. Last Chance Motorsports photo

Some of what one can expect at “Tame the Track” 2017 in Houlton.

Let’s go racing,

Tom Hale

Soli Deo Gloria

 

Tom Hale

About Tom Hale

Tom wrote 14 years as freelancer for the Bangor Daily Sports covering motorsports in Maine. Now blogging and concentrating on human interest stories about people and places in racing.