Fog delayed the racing action for two-hours-and-forty-five minutes as the sun tried to come up over NASCAR Turn Three. TRG holds three of the top five positions. The No. 67 TRG/Sargent & Lundy/South Point Hotel & Casino/Porsche is second and on the lead lap in the GT class at three quarter distance of the Grand-Am Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16 Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona. The No. 54 TRG/Black Swan/GMG/Porsche is second; the No. 66 TRG/Cabana Rum/Porsche is in fifth; the No. 4 TRG/Children’s Tumor Foundation/Porsche is 10th, and the No. 53 TRG/Nadeau Motorsports/North American Baseball League/Porsche is in 25th.
The delayed allowed the crew to get breakfast and take a quick nap. Team owner Kevin Buckler recruited Andy Lally to take over strategy for a spell as he freshened up.
Wolf Henzler took over the No. 67 TRG/Sargent & Lundy/South Point Hotel & Casino/Porsche just after 3:30 a.m. when the crew had just finished replacing the brakes. Henzler exited the pits and proceeded to pump the brakes when the pedal went nearly to the floor. The speedy German had to return to pit road to bleed the brake system which repaired the brake pressure problem. The repair time cost the team three laps. The 67 guys are currently in second.
“At the beginning of my stint they had changed the brake pads,” Henzler said. “When I left the pits I pumped the brake pedal to get the pressure back-up, but it never came back. The brake pedal almost went to the floor. I had to come back in and the guys had to bleed the brakes. After that it was fine. We still have no clutch, so we need to blip (rev the motor) when we downshift. If you do it correctly you won’t break the gearbox. Also when we leave the pits the guys really have to push and we can put it in first gear and go.”
Tim Pappas had an uneventful run in the dead of night at the wheel of the No. 54 TRG/Black Swan/GMG/Porsche. The team is running strong in third.
“My stint was short and sweet,” Pappas said. “I went out and had some fun, hit some yellows and I handed it over to Jeroen. We had some bad luck at the beginning and went down a lap. Past the half-way point we are back in the top three. The car feels real good and everyone is driving within their ability. Fingers crossed for the finish.”
Tim George Jr. had the tough double stint from 2 to 4:30 a.m. The Richard Childress Racing development driver was up the challenge. The team has the No. 66 TRG/Cabana Rum/NOS Energy Drink/Porsche in fifth place.
“I did a double stint,” George Jr. said. “It was a lot of traffic management as well as managing the tires over the second stint. It got pretty slippery very quickly because we can’t adjust our rear sway bar. We don’t have the adjustability as the tires wear. That was my first time double stint in a Grand-Am race. That was pretty cool. We were able to get a few laps back and I was battling with the leader. I have my old Skip Barber instructor spotting for me, so it is nice to have a familiar voice on the radio. We are just trying to get the best finish that we can for Cabana Rum and NOS Energy Drink.”
Richard Zahn drove the No. 4 TRG/Children’s Tumor Foundation/Porsche through the night. Zahn had an anxious moment when the throttle hung open during his stint. The four crew are running in tenth.
“I just did a double stint,” Zahn said. “I was in the car for about two-hours. The track is pretty good, the DPs are blowing a bunch of oil on the track which is pretty typical for this time in the race. I had a good, safe run. However, I had the throttle stick on me going into the Kink which made it interesting. I was able to save it, get the ignition off and keep the car on the track – pure luck. The first stint the car was great. The second stint on the tires the car pushed a little. I adjusted my driving style and was able to maintain a good pace.”
Long Beach Grand Prix president Jim Michaelian had a very eventful night behind the wheel of the No. 53 TRG/Nadeau Motorsports/North American Baseball League/Porsche. A clutch problem and an on track incident highlighted his drive along with an unusual fog delay.
“My stints were very memorable,” Michaelian said. “We lost the clutch the first time I went out. The second time I went out I got punted off in the Kink and we had to go to the paddock and replace the front nose and splitter. Until the incident in the kink the car was really running well. We got the car fixed and back out, but we haven’t been able to go at speed yet with the fog delay. I have never seen a race delayed by fog, but I was here for the rain delay a few years ago.”
The Rolex 24 Hour At Daytona will be televised live on the SPEED Channel in two segments. The first segment will air from 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET on Saturday, January 29th, rejoining the action from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, January 30. MRN will broadcast four live segments, including two hours of coverage at the start and finish of the event, for SIRIUS NASCAR Radio Channel 128 plus more than 60 MRN affiliates throughout North America: 3-5 p.m. and 8-8:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Jan. 29; 7-7:30 and 2-4 p.m. (ET) on Sunday, Jan. 30. Six short updates are scheduled for the affiliates: 6 p.m. and 10 p.m. (ET) on Jan. 29; Midnight, 6 a.m., 10 a.m. and Noon (ET) on Jan. 30.
© RIF | TRG