DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—The #01 Telmex-Ganassi driving team of Juan Pablo Montoya, Charlie Kimball, Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett won the 51st Grand Am Rolex 24 at Daytona. This was Pruett’s fifth win, tying the record set by international racing star and Daytona legend Hurley Haywood.
To make the moment sweeter, Hurley Haywood was the 2013 race’s Grand Marshal, and personally gave the team members their prizes, Rolex watches.
“It’s just an incredible day all the way around, winning with these guys winning with Chip, with Telmex, with BMW, and then at the end of it, having gotten to know Hurley real well over the years by racing with him and just as a friend, to have him there at the end was a very special thing,” Pruett told the post-race press conference.
It was the third win for Rojas and Montoya, and Charlie Kimball’s first win in his first Rolex 24.
Pruett, who traditionally drove the final stint, had to take himself out of the cockpit because an old ankle injury, a leftover from one of his many wrecks as an IndyCar driver, flared up and left him unable to compete on the level needed to win a race as hotly contested as the Rolex.
“I just wasn’t one hundred percent confident,” Pruett told the post-race press conference. With the talented group of guys up here, the right thing to dos to turn it over to one of the guys that can get it done, and Juan did.”
Montoya sailed home 22 seconds ahead of the #10 VelocityWW Dallara Corvette of Max Angelelli, Jordan Taylor, and 2012 IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.
The Telmex-Ganassi Riley-BMWs (and a Team Sahlen Riley-BMW) were clearly the fastest cars on the track, possibly as a result of the aerodynamic adjustments made by the team, or possibly because performance advantages given to BMW-powered cars by Grand Am.
Regardless of exactly why the cars were faster, speed is only one small part of endurance racing. Preparation, skill, execution and luck are needed in equal measure, and the #01 car had enough of each. Its sister car, the #02, finished 37th—it had all the speed, a tremendously talented sate of drivers and bad luck.
Many of the #01 Riley’s toughest competitors also ran short on luck, and were visited by collisions, penalties, broken parts, or driver or crew errors. Attrition was more severe in 2013 than in the past few races; it seemed like the #01 was the only car not stricken by some problem.Pruett said the car was one of the top three he had driven at Daytona, where he has driven in 13 Rolex 24s.
Kimball and Montoya will return to the IndyCar and NASCAR Sprint Cup series respectively. Pruett and Rojas will race at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin Texas in the Grand-Am of The Americas presented by Gainsco and Total on March 2. Tickets are available though the CotA ticket outlet.
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