January 29, 2017
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Let’s go racing,
Soli Deo Gloria