Grand Am Rolex 24 at Daytona

| March 9, 2012

Michael shank racing Ford-rileyAll Day Racing Fun in the Florida Sun!

The 50th edition of North America’s longest big-time motor race was conducted over a chamber of commerce pleasing weekend at the end of January. A record crowd showed up on Friday and stayed through to Sunday.  

Janie and I watched the start of the race from our seats in the Speed TV Zone at chevy corvettethe sweep into the infield at turn 1. A large entry of 14 Daytona Prototypes featuring new for 2012 chassis from Corvette and Riley, and 44 GT class cars with Ferrari and Audi joining the usual Porsches, Mazdas,  and Camaros. The only bad weather all weekend was of course at the start of my BMW Performance Continental Tire race on Friday. The Michael Shank Racing #60 Riley-Ford of AJ Allmendinger, Justin Wilson, Ozz Negri, John Pew won overall honors, while Skip Barber alumni John PotterMagnus Porsche grabbed the GT Crown in his self owned Magnus Racing PorscheGT3 with co-drivers Andy Lally, Richard Lietz, Rene Rast.

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After the start, I went around the various corners of the track and edaytona ferris wheelnjoyed all the fun that the Rolex race has to offer… the Patron bar behind the horseshoe seemed very popular. Steve “Ellwood” gave me a lift in his TRG sponsored golf cart to the superstretch and watched the cars going through the Bus Stop chicane from the Budwieser Zone high up.  Later we left the track to have dinner at BJ’s Steakhouse across from the speedway. All the while the cars and teams kept racing around the clock.

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Sunday was another great Florida sunny day and we enjoyed hanginrace cars in the nightg around at the track and seeing   the teams overcome complete exhaustion and mind numbing endurance…hour after hour. At the end it was a close battle between the Ford-Rileys for the overall win and a confusing finish for Magnus Racing (in the dark scoring was not quite sure which cars where given the wave around).

Celebrating in Victory Lane,  A.J. said,”I knew those last three hours I was going to have to go flat out. It was fun. When Dalziel got in the car . . . I knew I was going to have to drive my (rear end) off. I pushed really hard to build up a gap and take those last 10 laps to manage that gap.”

porsches racing

GT victor Andy Lally about his win  with John Potter’s team, “I absolutely knew we had the potential to do it,” Lally said of the victory. “It was a pleasure to be able to join the team. It was absolutely epic to come home . . . on the top step, especially the 50th.” 

 The Grand Am Rolex 24 at Daytona is an amazing auto race and the weekend is packed full of fun and exciting activities for any kind of fan.

Thanks to Grand Am.comSteve “Ellwood”  Theiss and MJ Mortensen


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