- Jack Roush gets first GRAND-AM win in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series with Billy Johnson and son Jack Roush Jr.
- Michael Shank Racing captures the overall and DP win while Magnus Racing claims GT win at 50th Rolex At Daytona.
- Ganassi triple stints on Continental Tires amidst other team’s double stinting.
The anticipation of the 50th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona was at a fever pitch and Continental Tire was there for all 140 teams through rain tires, slicks and even a triple stint by one DP team. Both races featured plenty of passing, drama and first time winners and Continental Tire was a part of each history-making moment.
Friday’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Series started under rainy conditions forcing each team to mount two sets of rain tires to start the 2.5-hour race. At the half-way point, the track dried out and the field changed over to slicks for the remainder of the action-packed event. The No. 61 Roush Performance Products/Gary Yeomans Ford Mustang, with Billy Johnson and Jack Roush Jr. behind the wheel, was the class of the field. Johnson led the final 18 laps and crossed the start finish line 1.061 seconds ahead of second-place Charles Espenlaub in the No. 48 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3. The win marked owner Jack Roush’s first GRAND-AM victory at Daytona International Speedway.
Saturday brought blue skies and nothing but dry conditions for the 50th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. Throughout the 24-hour endurance race, both the DP and GT cars ran lap times close, if not faster, than what they qualified at. And thanks to great tire-wear, all the teams were able to double stint on a set of tires during the overnight hours. One Ganassi team even pulled a triple stint under the lights of Daytona International Speedway.
As the sun came up and teams set in for the final hours of the grueling race, the drama continued to unfold. In hour 20, the No. 01 BMW/Riley led the No. 60 Ford/Riley by 20 seconds but as the minutes wore on, the No. 8 Ford/Riley entered into the mix and the three cars exchanged positions multiple times. Mid-way into the 23rd hour, the No. 01 encountered problems leaving pit road and were forced to make a gear stack change putting them out of contention. From there, the No. 8 Michael Shank Racing Ford/Riley, with NASCAR standout AJ Allmendinger at the wheel, took control over the field and crossed the line 5.198 seconds ahead of second-place Ryan Dalziel in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsports Ford. The Michael Shank team rounded out the podium with the No. 6 Ford placing third, giving Ford the sweep for the 50th anniversary race.
"For Michael Shank Racing we could have not had the win or third-place finish without the excellent durability of our Continental Tires,” said Michael Shank, owner Michael Shank Racing, following his big win. “We double stinted these tires 50 percent of the time during the race and they did not fail us once. Thank you Continental!!"
The GT class wasn’t short of excitement either. Throughout the 24 hour event, teams raced at high speeds and traded positions multiple times as tires maintained their grip. In the end, it was the No. 44 Magnus Racing Ford with Richard Lietz at the helm that crossed the line for the win. Coming in 9.412 seconds behind the leader was the second-place No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche with Wolf Henzler in control. The No. 67 TRG Porsche finished second giving Porsche the sweep in the GT class.
Continental Tire will travel to Barber Motorsports Park for the second event of the year on March 30 – 31 when GRAND-AM returns to action. Fans can catch all the action on SPEED and MRN (check local listings for times).
Fans can also participate in the conversation with Continental Tire via Twitter (@continentaltire), Facebook ( facebook.com/continentaltire ), and YouTube ( youtube.com/continentaltire ) throughout the 2012 GRAND-AM season.