Wayne Taylor Racing goes for another Rolex 24 Hours victory

Taylor Ballantyne

In a 24-hour race of attrition, it was only fitting for the most seasoned sports vehicle teams to control the podium at Daytona International Speedway.

The No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT jumped to the lead during a pit sequence and Ryan Briscoe climbed aboard to take the vehicle to the finish line.

Both two-car teams finished first and second in their respective classes.

The team was three laps behind leader Filipe Albuquerque of Action Express Racing when Alonso pulled off pit road. It's the second consecutive Rolex overall victory for Cadillac but came from the team that finished second previous year. He still has sisters in the Daytona Beach area and a brother in Winter Haven, who attends every race.

Richard Westbrook in the #67 Ford Chip Ganassi took over the lead of the GTLM class from sister #66 auto.

Wayne Taylor Racing has led the field to green in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. Looking over at his team owner during the post-win press conference, Barbosa observed that other drivers have flashy clothes, matching jackets and their own golf carts.

Chip Ganassi goes for his 200th career win as a team owner in this weekend's Rolex 24.

"Bob looks after every dollar, but he spends it in the right place", said Barbosa, who has raced for Johnson since 2010.

"It's one thing not to win the races. It was our race to lose and those are the worst races".

"But we are starting on the front row, which is a pretty big deal", Castroneves said.

All of that combined to open the door more than enough for the No. 5 team, which finished second in last year's Rolex 24 after a late-race incident with the No. 10 Cadillac.

The race was clean and fast, except for the traditional attrition of an endurance race. The current lap record was set in 1992 when co-drivers Masahiro Hasemi, Kazuyoshi Hoshino and Toshio Suzuki co-drove a Nissan R91 CP that made it 762 laps during the 24 hours.

Two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso is making his major sports auto debut.

"I've been coming here straight since '75", said Garcia. "It just makes me stronger and for sure it's going to be much better for the rest of the season".

Roger Penske's return to sports vehicle competition was impressive until the typical attrition of the twice-round-the-clock race took its toll on his two Acura entries.

However, the No. 7 team - with drivers Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor and Graham Rahal - has fallen out of contention for the victory in the Rolex 24 when an on-track incident with the No. 31 sent the vehicle to the garage for lengthy repairs. The entry of Dane Cameron, Juan Pablo Montoya and Simon Pagenaud finished 10th.

"That was pretty unbelievable", he said. "This is my fishing trip and my golf game". Pruett holds the race record for class victories with 10.

Meanwhile, BMW's new M8 racer couldn't find the pace to keep with the rest of the GTLM field, with the highest-finishing vehicle running 10 laps off the Fords at the finish.

But that was mostly because co-driver Phil Hanson crashed their United Autosports Ligier LMP2 duing the morning's practice session, costing both drivers vital track time at a circuit where neither has raced before.

"It was business as usual", Pruett said.

"I'm super thrilled to be in this seat", said van der Zande, the 31-year-old Dutchman who won the IMSA Prototype Challenge championship in 2016.

The Lombardi was presented Saturday night at Lone Star College in Houston. He played the last month of the season through a nagging sprained ankle that forced him to miss one game.



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