MotorSportsTalk 2015 Rolex 24 at Daytona Sunday blog


12:20 p.m. ET – We’re set up for the final sprint.

In P, the showdown is between the No. 02 Ganassi Riley-Ford, and No. 10 Taylor and No. 5 Action Express Corvette DPs. Ganassi expects Scott Dixon to finish; Jordan Taylor is due to finish in the No. 10 and either Sebastien Bourdais or Joao Barbosa will finish the No. 5.

CORE leads PC with BMW (GTLM) and Riley Viper (GTD) the other class leaders.

Unfortunately for Sage Karam, one of the star drivers of the race, the No. 01 Ganassi car’s win chances have ended due to a reported slipping clutch.

“Right when I left the pits for my third stint of that outing, and right away I just knew,” Karam said. “At first I thought it was just wheelspin on cold tires, but then after that I thought no way this is cold tires anymore. I’ve actually done the same thing in my street car with my clutch, so I knew what it was. I was like, that’s got to be the clutch. So I radioed in and told the guys, and sure enough, that was it. We tried to do different maps to help it out, but ultimately, you couldn’t hang with anybody. We were just too slow, so we had to bring it in and diagnose it.”

10:00 a.m. ET – The Taylor No. 10 has taken the lead on a pit stop sequence, and Andy Lally has hit a possum.

You read that last bit correctly.

See Lally’s tweets below for something that could seemingly only happen to the luckless Magnus Racing.

9:00 a.m. ET – The drama has intensified as the sun has risen in Daytona.

First off the Action Express No. 5 is back on the lead lap and now into the lead after spending less time over the pits in the last couple hours.

Meanwhile in GTLM, the promising Daytona debut for the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR ended in the 18th hour with engine failure. Oliver Gavin in the No. 4 Corvette had contact with a  PC car and then the No. 25 BMW had an off course excursion.

The GTD-contending No. 33 Viper has also had a garage trip and lost more than a dozen laps, to fall out of contention. The sister No. 93 in the hands of race debutante Cameron Lawrence now leads.

CORE’s No. 54 and Corvette’s No. 3 are the PC and GTLM leaders as the race nears the 19-hour mark.

The No. 64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, another GTD class contender, has had a major incident and is now out of the running as well.

6:15 a.m. ET – Good morning from Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, and no, I have not yet been to sleep… but not too much has happened in the overnight hours (perhaps mercifully) since filing the last update on Saturday.

Basically here’s how things are setting up. It’s a likely three and possible four-horse race in the overall and Prototype class honors between the pair of Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Fords and No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing. Defending champions Action Express Racing can reenter the fray if they get back on the lead lap, and the No. 5 Corvette DP has already got back two of the three laps it lost in the ninth hour for a connector issue.

In Prototype Challenge, right now, it’s CORE autosport’s to lose. Thus far the 2014 winners have driven a flawless race and nearly all their rivals have either had issues, been to the garage, or lacked the pace.

GT Le Mans could be any of Corvette, BMW or Porsche. The surprise here though is the No. 17 Team Falken Tire Porsche 911 RSR entry being Porsche’s sole win contender after the factory pair took each other out overnight in an odd and strange accident. Ferrari and Aston Martin, too, have seen their three entries out of the race as well.

And the battle could intensify in GT Daytona, too, with both Vipers, both Scuderia Corsa Ferraris, the No. 22 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT America and No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Audi R8 LMS all on the lead lap with six hours to go.

Stay tuned for more here.


Ryan Hunter-Reay hired as replacement for Conor Daly at Ed Carpenter Racing

Ryan Hunter-Reay Carpenter
Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Ryan Hunter-Reay was named to replace Conor Daly in Ed Carpenter Racing’s No. 20 Dallara-Chevrolet, starting in the NTT IndyCar Series event next week at Road America.

Hunter-Reay is the 2012 series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner. He finished 11th for Dreyer & Reinbold last month in the 107th Indy 500, his first start since the 2021 season finale. He drove full time for Andretti Autosport from 2010-21.

“We need to improve our competitiveness and I wanted to add a fresh perspective from a driver like Ryan who has a massive amount of experience and success as well as a reputation as a team leader. I am excited to welcome Ryan to the team,” team owner Ed Carpenter said in a team release. “We have worked together in the past as teammates and he tested for ECR at Barber Motorsports Park in October 2021, where he made an immediate impact as we were able to qualify one of our cars on the pole following that test. I am confident that his experience and technical abilities will be an asset to ECR as we move forward toward our goals as a team.”

Hunter-Reay has 18 IndyCar victories, most recently in 2018. He also is a winner in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, having been a part of winning entries in the 2020 Twelve Hours of Sebring and 2018 Petit Le Mans. Last year, he was an endurance driver for Cadillac Racing while being on standby for Chip Ganassi Racing.

He replaces Daly, whose departure was announced a day earlier in what the driver and team said was a mutual decision.

“I was surprised when I got the call from Ed,” Hunter-Reay said in a team release. “He described how frustrated he was that his team has not been able to realize its potential despite their efforts, investments, as well as technical and personnel changes over the past few years and asked for my help. Ed and I are very close friends and have been for a long time. I’ve worked with the team in the past and they are a very talented group with high expectations and a committed partner in BITNILE.COM.

“This will certainly be a challenge for me as well. It’s a tough situation jumping in a car in the middle of the season without any testing in what I believe to be the most competitive series in the world. Certainly, part of my motivation in saying ‘yes’ to Ed is the great challenge ahead. The last time I turned right driving an NTT IndyCar Series car was in October of 2021 with this team at Barber. However, I remain very confident in both my driving and technical abilities and believe by working with the talented people at ECR and Team Chevy, while representing BITNILE.COM, we will make progress. I am going to do everything I can do to help the team achieve its long-term objectives.”

Said Milton “Todd” Ault, the chairman of sponsor “It is great for to be aligned with an Indy 500 Winner and an NTT IndyCar Series champion. I have followed Ryan’s career for years and I am confident he will challenge the entire ECR team to perform at higher levels. I wish everyone luck at Road America.”