The 24 Hours of Daytona is one of the toughest endurance races out there. Veteran Hurley Haywood talked about the competitiveness of this race over the years. Back when Hurley started the race, wins were measured in laps, now they’re measured in seconds. The Daytona Prototypes average about 126 mph over the 3.56 mile track in Florida.
Chip Ganassi Racing also had strong performance, no doubt in part from winning in 2006, 2007 and 2008. While holding on to first and second during the last 3 hours of the race their 01 car driven by Joey Hand hit a tire while leaving the pit, a mistake that cost them 30 seconds. Chip will be having a word with the mechanic who forgot the tire where Joey couldn’t see it, for sure.
For his part, Joey brought the car back to fourth place, driving 2 seconds faster than race leader and team mate Scott Dixon, an impressive bit of driving from Hand who was on a triple stint with numb feet. Passing the car off to veteran Scott Pruett resulted in a recapture of the top spot with good driving supported by deft pit management by Tim Keene. Scott brought the car in for a victory followed by fellow Chip Ganassi teammate, Scott Dixon in second marking a 1-2 finish for Chip Ganassi and his fourth Daytona victory. Pruett’s win also brings victory for Ohio Native Graham Rahal, whose father won this race 24 years ago.
Another big story this year was former F1 driver Martin Brundle racing for Ohio-based Michael Shank Racing who kept the car up in the top 5 during the final hours of the race and brought it home in fourth. Of course, Martin will be heading back to London to start his job as the head announcer for Formula 1 when the season starts.
In the GT class, the Speedsource RX-8 barely finished with a car in one piece as an accident ripped off what would be the rear door on a normal production RX-8. They weren’t the only ones with a battle damaged car, with only about 17 hours of the 24 hour race were run under a green flag and 125 laps run under yellow.