Going into the final hour of yesterday’s Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, Extreme Speed Motorsports and its No. 1 HPD ARX-03b, driven at the time by Ryan Dalziel, was ahead of the pack.
But with 51 minutes remaining, a full-course yellow came out for a car stopped on the track – just after the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley/Ford Ecoboost Daytona Prototype of Marino Franchitti had pitted under green.
While Dalziel and the rest of the leaders pitted under yellow for fuel, the Ganassi No. 01 stayed out to take the lead. Dalziel wound up second for the restart with 21 minutes left, and Franchitti promptly pulled away from him en route to the eventual win.
That caused the Scotsman to tweet out his frustration over the finish, going as far to say that he felt “robbed” by the outcome.
Dalziel also told MotorSportsTalk’s Tony DiZinno afterwards: “I never saw the car off. But I’ve never known GRAND-AM or [the American Le Mans Series] to throw competition cautions before.”
Still, he noted the mix of Prototypes in the Top 4 finishing positions: Ganassi’s DP, his team’s P2 car, the third-place No. 5 Action Express DP, and the fourth-place P2 from OAK Racing.
“I don’t know how anybody could’ve complained about that,” he said. “It just would’ve been nice if it was a P2, [then a DP in second], but it wasn’t.”
Dalziel also felt that his time behind the wheel of the No. 1 ESM machine (which he shared with ex-IndyCar man Scott Sharp and David Brabham) was solid.
He additionally sounded off on the multiple first-half wrecks that marred the event, which included two major crashes in the Prototype Challenge category.
One of those PC incidents saw Alex Tagliani slam into Gaston Kearby after the latter lost control of his car and then attempted to spin himself back in the right direction.
Unfortunately, Kearby spun into the racing line and “Tag” was unable to keep from hitting him. Both drivers came out of it OK, but it was still a lowlight of the afternoon.
“The first part of the race was – it’s always the same with these big races, it’s no different at Daytona – when you get to the halfway point, all the crap cars and idiots make mistakes for themselves and take themselves out of the race,” Dalziel explained.
“Much like the couple of big incidents we had today – they were people where it was just waiting to happen…You’re thankful no one is hurt but on the other hand, you almost are relieved the cars are out of the race.
“Unfortunately, they took a couple of competitive cars with them, but I think [with the bigger car count], we’re gonna face that all year and we’re gonna have to deal with it.”