Grand Am Rolex 24: The Final Two Hours

January 30, 2011 Updated: January 30, 2011

Scott Dixon in the #02 Telmex Ganassi Riley BMW took the lead in the Grand Am Rolex 24 after Joey Hand hit a tire leaving the pits. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Scott Dixon in the #02 Telmex Ganassi Riley BMW took the lead in the Grand Am Rolex 24 after Joey Hand hit a tire leaving the pits. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
As the time left in the in the 49th Grand Am Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway shrinks, the drama continues to multiply.

With two hours to go, penalties, mechanical failures, and late-race strategies continue to change the prospective outcome of the race.

Joey Hand, handily leading the Daytona Prototype class, hit a tire leaving the pits and was assessed a thirty-second penalty, which dropped him to fouth place. Scott Dixon took the lead, pursued closely by Christian Fittipaldi in the #9 Action Express and Mark Blundell in the #23 United Autosports/Shank Riley Ford.

As Blundell battled Fittipaldi, Dixon tried to stretch a gap. Meanwhile, Joey hand began turning amazing lap times, determined to make up the 52 seconds he lost coming him to serve his penalty. In less than an hour Hand cut the gap almost in half

The #67 TRG Porsche GT3 Cup driven by Spencer Pumpelly has the lead in GT by a comfortable 2-lap margin. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The #67 TRG Porsche GT3 Cup driven by Spencer Pumpelly has the lead in GT by a comfortable 2-lap margin. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Dixon fought to maintain a lead of less than a second over Fittipaldi, who opened a gap of about a second over Blundell; all were fighting for the win.

Krohn Racing and the SunTrust car both lurked a lap down, waiting for luck to hand them a chance, while the drivers chosen for the last stint readied themselves: Scott Dixon, Scott Pruett, Joaoa Barbosa and Martin Brundle would fight it out for the final laps.

The Miller Racing Porsche GT3, with Bryan Sellers at the wheel, holds second in GT. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
The Miller Racing Porsche GT3, with Bryan Sellers at the wheel, holds second in GT. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
In GT, the #67 TRG continued to turn in solid laps, despite having no clutch. Careful handling kept this from being a huge issue, but the slightest mistake could ruin the car; a spin, a stall, and the car would be dead in the water.

The #48 Miller Porsche circled steadily, two laps down, three laps ahead of the third-place #40 Dempsey Racing Mazda.

The #66 TRG Porsche pulled into the pits with a broken differential at 1 p.m. By the time the car can get back on track (it is a 45-minute repair) it will not be a factor.