Two hours are in the books at the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona, with yellows now emerging after a full hour and a half-plus of green running. The race has now hit three full course cautions just in the last hour – one for a stopped GT Porsche on track and the second for the No. 74 Oryx Racing Audi R8 with apparent clutch woes through turns 3 and 4. The No. 74 pitted earlier than most cars during the respective fuel stints and had ran out just prior to stopping on track.
In DP, polesitter Ryan Dalziel led the entirety of his first stint in the Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley before ceding to Enzo Potolicchio at the car's second stop. Potolicchio quickly fell down the order, as Alex Gurney dispatched him in the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Corvette DP. Several others came through – Ozz Negri for Michael Shank Racing, Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon and the Spirit of Daytona Corvette, respectively.
Negri later passed Gurney for the lead before the cautions hit. A mix of pace and strategy helped the CGR No. 01 move up the order from the back of the DP grid, all with Scott Pruett at the helm. Pruett led on the last restart before Michael Valiante – in the much-discussed second Starworks entry – took the lead from him.
The biggest surprise in DP came when SunTrust Racing headed behind the wall less than a half hour into the race with apparent engine woes. Ryan Briscoe said the team found something in the bottom of the engine and was hoping to fix it within the next two hours, but any hope of victory for the newly liveried and new bodykit entry has already been dashed. Action Express's No. 5 – which had already had engine woes with not qualifying on Thursday – pitted on the first lap with the same issues, and is several laps off the pace. All the Corvette engines come from Earnhardt Childress Technologies.
GT has mostly featured Porsches at the head of the queue, primarily between the No. 23 Alex Job, No. 59 Brumos, No. 44 Magnus, No. 17 FOAMETIX/Burtin and No. 45 Flying Lizard entries. None of the cars has had major issues other than the aforementioned No. 74 Audi.
Ferrari's No. 62, which started at the rear of the field after a ride height infringement discovered in post-qualifying tech inspection, had made its way into the top 15 from 42nd on the grid in class, but has since fallen out of the top 20. The No. 69 AIM Autosport Ferrari, which started on the outside front row, also fell down the order.
OTHER NEWS AND NOTES – Just as there have been last-minute driver changes this week, so too was there a last minute change as grand marshal. Sir Jackie Stewart took the role after it was determined A.J. Foyt couldn't make the event due to complications from recent knee surgery.
Grand-Am had two series announcements, the first that it would add a “B-Spec” level of competition featuring six stand-alone races of either 30 or 45 minutes (yet to be determined) with sub-compact cars. Five manufacturers – the Mazda 2, Honda Fit, Ford Fiesta, Mini Cooper and Kio Rio are slated to be in the division. The 4-cylinder models will be available at a target cost range of $20,000-$30,000. The series also announced VisitFlorida.com as a presenting sponsor of the series' North American Endurance championship, the three-race miniseries within the series here at Daytona, and also at Watkins Glen and Indianapolis later this year.