After 24 hours… your winner is Michael Shank Racing’s #60 car in the Ford/Riley car driven by AJ Allmendinger, Justin Wilson, Oswaldo Negri, and John Pew. On the GT side… Magnus Racing #44 took the victory.
Some of the storylines are:
The Big 3 Falter: Chip Ganassi Racing, SunTrust Racing and Bob Stallings Racing all had huge expectations going into this 50th Rolex 24. It started yesterday with SunTrust Racing having terminal engine problems after 30 minutes. The Bob Stallings team had gearbox and engine problems. Ganassi had lost 1st and 2nd gear. They finished sixth.
Starworks?: The Starworks team has had there ups and downs. They didn’t know their exact driver lineup in one car (2) until yesterday morning. The #8 car shocked the world and sat on the pole. Both cars ran great.
Michael Shank Racing: Nobody expected the Columbus, Ohio team to contend. Everybody left them out even though they had a great lineup of drivers. They shocked everybody. In the other car (#6) Young Brazilian Felipe Nasr brought them a podium finish.
Marco Andretti: Marco didn’t know until Friday night that he would be driving in this race. Yesterday he tested his new DW12 in Palm Beach and got to Daytona at night. He ran most of the night. He was later hospitalized with dehydration. Heck of an effort for him considering he didn’t know the car or track.
With five and a half hours left it looks like its going to be a battle between the #60 Ford/Riley from Michael Shank Racing driven by Justin Wilson, AJ Allmendinger, Ozz Negri, and John Pew, and the Ganassi team #01 driven by Scott Pruett, Joey Hand, Graham Rahal, and Memo Rojas.
Starworks #8 has lead the most laps. Marco Andretti has done quite good considering he only got there yesterday, he’s running seventh.
Speed TV has it until the finish. Update in another 2.5 hours.
It was just revealed that Paul Tracy is talking to Michael Shank for an IndyCar ride this year. Tracy also revealed this will be his last year, and will try to do more sports car racing in the future. Tracy is racing today/tomorrow for Doran Racing.
MSR Indy was formed in October. They have a signed for Lotus engines and the weird thing is that Tracy has a few million dollars but that is from Honda.
Tomorrow is the 50th Anniversary of the 24 Hours of Daytona. I view this as a celebrity event because racers all over the world come to win this big prize. Past winners include: Mario Andretti, AJ Foyt, and Dan Gurney to name a few. T.V. coverage is on Speed and Speed.com.
There are a total of 60 entries (14 Daytona Prototype and 46 Grand Touring).
SunTrust Racing #10: Wayne Taylor’s team is always strong at the 24 Hours of Daytona. They bring back the same lineup from last year. With the combination of that and their new Chevy Corvette DP chassis it could be a winning combo.
Ganassi Racing #01 and 02: Both Ganassi cars bring back the same lineups/cars/engines from last year. I expect the 01 team (Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Graham Rahal, and Joey Hand) to be great once again since they have been the team to beat the last few years but they will have to it from the back of the pack this year because of an engine failure yesterday.
As for the 02 team, Montoya will be looking for a win after a dismal season last year in Sprint Cup, same story for Jaime McMurray. As for the open-wheel side of the lineup. Both Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti will want to open up strong after testing the IndyCars in Sebring over the winter.
Starworks Motorsport #2: With the confirmation of Marco Andretti, Michael Valiante, and Ryan Hunter-Reay as there so called “guest drivers” this could be a great team for the race. Expect them to contend all day long tomorrow.
Starworks Motorsport #8: After winning the pole yesterday in qualifying, the team will want to show on the big stage. Expect Ryan Daizel to get in the car for the first 5 hours then they switch to Allan McNish and Lucas Luhr at night.
Bob Stallings Racing #99: This year Jon and Alex are back as their main drivers. No Jimmie Johnson or Jimmy Vasser, but Memo Gidley is the third driver this year. This team has the new Chevy car also. They dominated ‘Roar Before the Rolex’.
Also expect the Action Express and Spirit of Daytona cars to be up there also.
On the GT side I see TRG, Dempsey, Mazda Speed Source and AF Waltrip as contenders.
Back in 1992 Nigel Mansell won the Formula One Championship. In 1993 Mansell moved to CART. In ’93, Formula One was highlighted by many stars: Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, Michael Andretti, Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher. Also in ’93 a new star was coming through the ranks: Rubens Barrichello, 20, at the time from Brazil driving for Jordan Racing. People were making comparisons for him to be the next Senna. After 1993, Senna went to Williams but then was tragically killed at Imola in ’94. Schumacher was the next real star to take over that role Senna had for the last decade. Schumacher delivered.
Rubens was at the Jordan team from 1993 to 1996. His best World Drivers Championship finish at Jordan was sixth in 1994. His best race finish was second at the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix. Schumacher on the other hand won the 1994 and 1995 championships for Ross Brawn’s Bennetton team. In ’97 Rubens left the Jordan team and went to Stewart Grand Prix. His best race finish was second on four occasions in 1999 (Australia, Monaco, Canada and United States) respectively. His best championship finish at Stewart was seventh in 1999.
Eventually, Rubens and Michael Schumacher became teammates at Ferrari in 2000. At that time Rubens Barrichello was on the brink of winning a championship with the Ferrari team because they were the best team in that era of racing. Ferrari’s biggest rivals were McLaren and their drivers Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. Schumacher won five consecutive championships. 2005 was a dismal year for Ferrari and Barrichello, Rubens finished eighth in the championship and Schumacher finished third. In 2006, He left Ferrari and went to Honda. By leaving Ferrari he made room for another Brazilian to come into his prime: Felipe Massa.
Honda had two drivers that were capable of winning the championship, Barrichello and British veteran Jenson Button. 2006 saw Rubens finish seventh in the World Drivers Championship. 2007 was dismal he finished twentieth in the WDC. And finally in 2008, he finished fourteenth in the WDC.
2009 saw changes for the Honda team. Former Bennetton owner, Ross Brawn bought the team from Honda and re-named it “Brawn GP.” Brawn kept Button as Rubens’ teammate. The team had success right away, Jenson won six of the first seven races and he won the championship. The battle was between Red Bull and Brawn GP all year. Rubens won two races; Valencia and Italy. Overall he finished third in the WDC, his best WDC finish in five years.
2010 saw Button and Barrichello leave the Ross Brawn owned team. Jenson went to McLaren to be teammates with 2008 World Champion Lewis Hamilton. Rubens took the route that Senna took in 1993, he signed with Sir Frank Williams’ team. Rubens was teammates with German rookie Nico Hulkenburg. The move paid off more for Button as he finished fourth in the WDC. Rubens finished tenth and his teammate Hulkenburg finished fourteenth. Hulkenburg won a pole at Brazil and was later released in favor of 2010 GP2 Champion Pastor Maldonado.
2011 was supposed to be a great year for the Williams team. It was dismal, Rubens was seventeenth in the World Drivers Championship and Maldonado was nineteenth in the World Drivers Championship. The team finished ninth in the World Constructors Championship. Frank Williams kept Pastor and released Rubens in favor of Bruno Senna (nephew of Ayrton Senna).
The now 39 year old was searching for a F1 ride. He had an option to go to Hispania Racing Team but he chose not to. He could be a test/reserve driver for a top F1 team. But yesterday the news broke that he would be testing an IndyCar next week at Sebring International Raceway. He will be testing with KV Racing Technology. Rubens’ fellow friend Tony Kanaan is a KV driver and he is testing a car also next week at Sebring. Rubens is NO F1 reject by no means. He has 11 wins in F1, he’s not like an Adam Carroll, Nelson Piquet, Jr., Scott Speed or Ho Pin Tung. I believe that Rubens is the best F1 driver to not win a F1 championship. (I’ve only been covering full-time since 2007 but have researched a ton on the history of F1.)
Rubens has already promised his wife that he won’t run the ovals, but why? NO Indy? If Nigel Mansell can do it almost twenty years ago in a open wheel car that wasn’t nearly as safe as the DW 12, why can’t Rubens? The other ovals include Texas, Iowa (a track that drives kind of like a road course), and Fontana. Mansell did better at the ovals then road courses. He won at Michigan and Nazareth. Nigel ran good at Indy, Loudon, and Milwaukee also. If Rubens changes his mind, it will be great because it makes KV Racing twice as strong, even if he’s a so called “rookie.” He’s really not because he has over twenty years of professional racing in open cockpit cars. With that said, I think that Rubens would be great for IndyCar because he can help Randy Bernard and Beaux Barfield turn IndyCar in the direction it NEEDS to go. Rubens knows what he is doing.
Could he pull of the feat that Mansell did in 1993? I say no if he doesn’t run the ovals, if he does maybe. It all depends how competitive he is vs. the Andretti’s, Ganassi’s, and Penske’s of IndyCar.
KV Racing is in a similar situation as Newman/Haas Racing was in 1993. KV Racing is in there eighth season in open wheel (fifth in IndyCar). N/H won two championships in nine years. KV has been super competitive in there time in Champ Car and IndyCar. I believe that if Barrichello runs the full season that KV wouldn’t have to necessarily run a car for E.J. Viso (even though he brings sponsorship). Rubens brings a lot more sponsorship then Viso. I say this because Viso wrecks cars a lot, but a positive out of sticking with Viso is Rubens and Tony can help guide him through the struggles. No matter what people say about KV, the NEED to return to the form of 2008 when they had Servia and Power.
Going back to if he could be competitive. Yes, on the twisties he’ll have to challenge Power, Briscoe, Rahal, Franchitti, among others. On ovals again Franchitti, also Dixon, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Ed Carpenter.
This could be the most interesting rookie battle in a long time because you have a F1 veteran, Josef Newgarden, Katherine Legge and possibly James Davison. I wouldn’t call Sebastien Bourdais a rookie because he has plenty of experience in IndyCars/ChampCars. Newgarden could challenge Barrichello if he has a good car week in and week out and a half decent engine. It could be good to see a Young vs. Old battle for the rookie of the year.