Shank's second car, which was the same Riley chassis that finished fourth a year ago in the jointly entered Shank/United Autosports car, surprised with all four of its drivers staying out of trouble, keeping a consistent pace and taking advantage of the other reliability issues that hit its rivals. Considering the driver lineup's inexperience in endurance racing, this is no doubt a surprise but stellar result for the car that isn't scheduled for running any further 2012 races.
With the No. 01 car's woes, it marked the first time since 2006 Ganassi's team hasn't finished first or second at the Rolex 24. The team's sister car, in the hands of the team's IndyCar and NASCAR stars Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti, Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray, hit gear linkage issues overnight and lost five laps. The team gained several back via wave-arounds to get to within one lap, but ended fourth.
Corvette's DP debut was largely one to forget, with only one top-five finish to celebrate of its five entries. Action Express's No. 5 overcame an engine fire from earlier in the week, while all the other four – the sister AxEx car, Spirit of Daytona, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings and SunTrust entries all fell down the leaderboard. Despite the frustration, Corvette did spend some of the race leading – 10 of the 14 DPs entered did – and all bar SunTrust made the checkered flag.
GT – Most of the field considered it one of the deepest GT fields in Rolex 24 history, yet by the end of the race, one manufacturer stood head and shoulders above the rest: Porsche – which nabbed yet another class victory to its illustrious history. Porsche swept the GT class podium, with upstarts Magnus Racing (RIGHT) scoring its first Rolex Series win. TRG took second ahead of Brumos Racing in third.
Magnus and Brumos engaged in a bout for the lead for most of the race, with their younger German drivers showcasing their skills to the U.S. audience. Rene Rast, one of Magnus' new additions, and Marc Lieb – Porsche factory pilot drafted into Brumos – spent much of the race near each other, and the lead seemed to rotate based on pit stops.
For a time, those two were the only cars on the lead lap in class, which was somewhat surprising given the flurry of entries. The cautions and wave-around process took a number of contenders from the ranks, and a number of class favorites also hit issues.
Magnus held off TRG, which validated Lally's decision to leave his former team for greener pastures. TRG's No. 67 Porsche featured manufacturer aces Jeroen Bleekemolen, Wolf Henzler, Spencer Pumpelly and Marc Goossens in its lineup – but none could match Lally on the day.
“I absolutely knew that we had the potential to do it,” Lally said. “I don't think anybody is going to win a race like this ever again. I'm sure the whole entire crew is proud and entitled to a lot of celebration tonight.”
Brumos fell to third behind TRG – ensuring Hurley Haywood ends his Daytona career with a podium finish in his 40th start at the track. Haywood is the all-time leader in victories at the track, with five.
“Well, basically we made the mistake of pitting out of sequence,” Haywood said. We should have followed the leader and – when the leader came in, we should have followed them. And what that caused us to do is basically we ran up 15 minutes short on fuel. And then Marc (Lieb) had some problems with the power steering in the end. He was doing a Herculean job of driving the car. But in all, we really ran a trouble-free race until that last stint.”
While Porsche locked out the top three, Chevrolet salvaged something of the weekend when Stevenson Motorsports finished fourth in class with its Camaro GT.R and drivers John Edwards, Robin Liddell and Ronnie Bremer. Stevenson's team has been a notoriously slow starter and now finds itself in a decent position for the rest of the season.
Ferrari managed to score a top five with Risi Competizione's No. 63 Ferrari 458. It remains to be seen what the team will choose to do for the remainder of the season. SpeedSource's Mazda with James Hinchcliffe and Marino Franchitti joining Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito was sixth. TRG's No. 66 Porsche, AIM Autosport's No. 69 Ferrari, Autohaus' No. 88 Camaro and Dempsey Racing's No. 40 Mazda completed the top 10 in class.
Leading results - 761 laps:
Pos Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap
1. Allmendinger/Negri/Pew/Wilson Shank Riley-Ford 24h00m36.793s
2. Dalziel/Luhr/McNish/Popow/Potolicchio Starworks Riley-Ford + 5.198s
3. Goncalvez/McDowell/Nasr/Yacaman Shank Riley-Ford + 49.439s
4. Dixon/Franchitti/McMurray/Montoya Ganassi Riley-BMW + 1 lap
5. Donohue/Fittipaldi/Law Action Express Corvette + 3 laps
6. Hand/Pruett/Rahal/Rojas Ganassi Riley-BMW + 4 laps
7. Frisselle/Frisselle/Lowe/Tracy Doran Dallara-Ford + 13 laps
8. Garcia/Gavin/Magnussen/Westbrook Spirit of Daytona Corvette + 15 laps
9. Barbosa/Borcheller/France/Papis Action Express Corvette + 22 laps
10. Hunter-Reay/Mayer/Potolicchio/Andretti/Valiante Starworks Riley-Ford + 25 laps