Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 Daytona 24 Hours - Quick Wrap Up

So, the 2015 Daytona 24 Hours is in the books, and we had a pretty solid event, from start to finish. While there were quite a few full course yellows, it sure seemed like there were less than last year, and there was even an organic reason for throwing one inside of 20 minutes to go (that'd be a car attempting to burn itself to the ground, versus last year's "car goes off track for 10 seconds, nicks a tire barrier, never comes to a stop and immediately drives away"). There was action throughout, whenever I was watching, anyway, and we had two leaders battling right down to the last lap in two of the four classes.

The #02 Ganassi "Star Car" Riley-Ford of Scott Dixon (who drove a fantastic stint to close out the race), Tony Kanaan, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson was able to close out the win just 1.333 seconds over the defending champion #5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais. The #10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP was in the conversation until a pit stop with 10 minutes to go, when they had to take Jordan Taylor out of the car or risk losing his championship points for the event for going over the "no more than four hours of driving in a six hour stretch" limit. Oops. The #10 still finished 3rd, fully six laps ahead of the #90 Corvette DP.

This class was looking like it'd go to the #54 CORE Autosport car, well, more or less from the green flag, but certainly from half distance. With less than 20 minutes to go, though, and while over a lap in the lead, an incident with another car broke the suspension, which then pitched the car into the wall coming out of the "Bus Stop" chicane, whereupon the car decided to find out what "en fuego" might mean in a racing setting. The #54 was done for (though it still finished 3rd in class on laps completed), and the win wound up going to #52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports car of Mike Guasch, Andrew Novich, Andrew Palmer and Tom Kimber-Smith. I gave this car 40 to 1 odds and put it in my "Long(er) Shots" category in my pre-race preview, so thankfully, nobody actually took me up on any bets.

Another class that came right down to the wire. The Corvettes looked to be in control for a good chunk of the race, yet some savvy strategy allowed the mostly slower #25 RLL BMW Z4 to finish a scant half second behind the winning #3 of Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Ryan Briscoe. Third place was the #4 Corvette, seven laps behind.

The late restart bunched the pack up, but that wasn't enough to allow the #22 Alex Job Racing Porsche to get close enough to take a shot at the #93 Riley Motorsports SRT Viper of Dominik Farnbacher, Ben Keating, Kuno Wittmer, Cameron Lawrence and Al Carter. The Vipers were fast all day (and all night, and in qualifying, and in practice), so this wasn't a complete surprise, but the #93 did also wind up in 13th overall, due to huge attrition in the top-3 classes.

That'll just about do it for the racing part of Blogathon. Thanks to Mike and Allen for everything they've done here (I'm basically just tagging along with my nerdy self) and thanks to everybody for coming by and checking us out. Blogathon 2016 can't come soon enough.

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