DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—Seven hours into the Grand Am Rolex 24 at Daytona, Juan Pablo Montoya in the #01 Telmex-Ganassi Riley-BMW was back in the lead, where one or the other of the Telmex cars had been pretty much throughout the race.
Montoya held the lead from Max Angelelli, Mike Rockenfeller, and Jon Fogarty at ten p.m. when the yellow flags waved for the third time six-and-a-half hours into the race.
The caution period was caused by Tommy Drisi in the #43 Sahlen Riley BMW—Drisi clipped the infield wall and had to park on the side of the course. This was the second problem for the #43 Sahlen’s car—Bruno Junquiera had gone off in the infield early on.
When the caution was called, Max Angelelli in the #10 Velocity World Wide Dallara-Corvette was second, and Mike Rockenfeller in the #9 Action Express Coyote-Corvette third.
Both Telmex-Ganassi cars took advantage of the caution to pit for brake replacement—the #02 swapped front rotors and all pads, while the #01 took pads only.
Rockenfeller came in for a new nose.
Several drivers, including Allan McNish, Darren Law, Sebastien Bourdais, and Jordan Taylor had said that the BMW-powered cars had five to six miles per hour extra top end. McNish said that he had some small chance to hold the lead if in front of the BMW-powered cars, but had almost no chance to catch them if they were ahead—only tremendous luck getting a draft and a huge run off a corner created even the slightest, of slim chances.
With both Telmex-Ganassi Riley-BMWs in for brakes, this could have been a chance for the Ford- and Chevy-powered cars gain an advantage.
After the pit stops, Ryan Daziel in the #2 Starworks Riley-Ford had the lead, with Max Angelelli in the #10 Velocity Dallara-Corvette still second. Jon Fogarty in the #99 Gainsco Riley-Corvette held third, with the two Ganassi cars behind him.
Nick Longhi in the #69 AIM Autosport FXDD Ferrari 458 led the GT class, 13th overall. Filipe Albuquerque in the #24 Alex Job Audi R8 Grand-Am was second, with Markus Winkelhock in the Rum Bum Racing Audi R8 Grand-Am—a great showing for Audi, which hadn’t had much luck in Grand Am to date.
The race went green at 10:18 p.m. on lap 211. Ryan Dalziel immediately opened a good gap over Angelelli; Montoya passed Fogarty for third. Joey Hand in the #02 Telmex car earned a stop-and-go and came in immediately to serve it.
By the time the leaders had finished the infield portion, they were each separated by less than a second. By the start-finish line, Montoya had passed Angelelli and was onto Dalziel’s tail.
Three seconds behind this trio, Gustavo Yacaman in the #6 Shank Racing Riley-Ford tried but couldn’t stay with the leaders.
On lap 216 Montoya used his top-end advantage to take the lead again but Dalziel fought back, retaking the lead on lap 217, just as the seventh hour struck.
On lap 219, Dalziel got trapped behind a GT car, letting Montoya back into the lead again.
In GX, whoever was going to win would be driving a Porsche Cayman—all three Mazda6 diesels had retired and been packed into the hauler.
Shane Lewis in the Napleton Racing Porsche Cayman led the class, in 36th place.
Ten minutes past the hour, Gustavo Yacaman was penalized three minutes for contact which happened quite a while earlier.
Team owner Michael Shank said he had asked the officials if any penalty was being assessed, and was told no. Yacaman was then given multiple penalties for non-compliance.
The #60 Shank car, last year’s winner was several laps down after a bent toe-link cost the car seven laps in the pits.