Tuesday, February 1, 2011

1-2 Finish For Team Ganassi

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - BMW won its first overall Daytona race at the hands of Peter Gregg in the awesome 3.0CSL. 35 years later, the Ganassi BMW powered Riley again visited victory circle, this time with a 1-2 finish. After a remarkable 2010 with wins in at the Brickyard 400, Daytona 500, Indy 500 and 2 championship titles in including Dario Franchitti’s IndyCar, Chip and Team Ganassi are feeling pretty good. But by no means was this a slam dunk. With only 2 hours to go, the #1 Riley-BMW piloted by Hand struck a tire while exiting pit row and was assessed a 30-sec stop-and-go penalty. Hand entered the race 50 seconds behind the leader and drove an amazing session making up 30-seconds on the leader, Scott Dixon. The critical moment came during a yellow flag with 1 hour to go in the race. Crew Chief Tim Keene chose to bring the car in for fuel, the only one of the leaders to do so, allowing Scott Pruett to take the lead during the final round of fuel stops. The #02 Riley/BMW followed in second place with the Action Express #9 Riley-Porsche rounding the podium in 3rd.

In GT, the #67 TRG Porsche GT3 was nursed to victory by Andy Lally with a failing clutch. The clutch began failing only 6 hours into the race. Team owner Kevin Buckler commented “So we were talking... If the clutch goes out and we go back and fix it, it’s 20 laps. If we drive it until it breaks, it’s going to [take] 30 laps. So we decided to drive it until it breaks or we win, one or the other.” It also helped that the #40 Dempsey Racing RX-8, leading since before 1am, was sidelined with electrical gremlins. The #48 Paul Miller Racing Porsche finished one lap down in second and amazingly, the Dempsey RX-8 was able to place 3rd after some quick repairs.

Also running over the weekend was the Rolex 200 Grand Am Continental tire series race. The winner in GS class was Rum Bum Racing’s BMW M3 and in ST class, the APR Motorsport Volkswagen GTI.

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