IMSA: Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona after 2 hours — 22 hours remain

Photo courtesy of IMSA
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UPCOMING UPDATES: After Hour 6 (8:30 p.m. ET) and Hour 9 (11:30 p.m. ET).

The Rolex 24 at Daytona is just over two hours in, and while it has run caution-free, there has been no shortage of action across the Prototype, GT Le Mans, and GT Daytona classes.

Below is a quick, early-race report on all three classes in the early hours of running.

Prototype

Filipe Albuquerque leads in the No. 5 Cadillac DPi-V.R for Action Express Mustang Sampling Racing. He seized the lead from polesitter Renger Van Der Zande, in the No. 10 Cadillac DPi for Wayne Taylor Racing, following the opening round of pit stops.

The No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Cadillac sits second with Matt McMurry behind the wheel, and even led briefly in the early laps with Tristan Vautier.

The biggest early movers in Prototype come from the two Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi entries. The No. 22 machine, in the hands of Pipo Derani at the time of writing, sits third after starting 18th, while the No. 2, with Olivier Pla at the helm at the time of writing, runs seventh after starting 20th, even overcoming an unscheduled pit stop for a cut tire.

Elsewhere, Fernando Alonso has had a trouble-free run so far in the United Autosports No. 23 Ligier JS P217 Gibson, briefly taking the lead during an exchange of pit stops, and currently sits ninth with Phil Hanson now driving.

A couple of cars have run into problems, namely the two Mazda Team Joest RT24-P entries. The No. 55, with Jonathan Bomarito driving at the time, saw the left-front wheel come off after a pit stop, while the No. 77 entry, with Oliver Jarvis at the wheel, went back into the garage with a mechanical problem. They run 18th (No. 55) and 19th (No. 70, four laps and six laps off the lead respectively.

Also, both Acura Team Penske ARX-05s have had strong opening stanzas, with the No. 6 running fifth in the hands of Juan Pablo Montoya and and the No. 7 running in the top five in the early laps. However, the No. 7 did suffer a slight hiccup when the door latch wouldn’t fasten after a pitstop, forcing an extra stop for repairs and dropping the team, with Ricky Taylor at the wheel, one lap off the lead.

GT Le Mans

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing swept into the early lead, with Joey Hand seizing control in the No. 66 Ford GT, passing polesitter Jan Magnussen’s No. 3 Corvette Racing C7.R on the opening lap. The Fords even ran 1-2 early on, with Richard Westbrook moving into second and following teammate Hand for the opening stint.

Hand continues to lead, while Antonio Garcia runs second in the No. 3 Corvette. Nicky Tandy sits third in the No. 911 Porsche 911 RSR for Porsche GT Team.

GT Daytona

Audi currently leads the way. The No. 29 Montaplast by Land Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT3 leads, in the hands of Jeffrey Schmidt. The two Lexus RC F GT3 entries from 3GT Racing run second (Dominik Farnbacher, No. 15) and third (Kyle Marcelli, No. 14).

A couple of GTD teams have encountered trouble. Most notably, the Wright Motorsports No. 58 Porsche 911 GT3 R crashed during the pace laps before the green flag came out. The car, with Robert Renauer at the helm, suffered significant damage to the nose and immediately went to the garage for repairs and has not been on track since.

Also, the No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GT3, which battled for the lead early on, suffered a fire on pit road.

Live timing and scoring from IMSA can be for here.

Hour 2 Standings

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Justin Grant prevails over Kyle Larson in the Turkey Night Grand Prix

Grant Larson Turkey Night
USACRacing.com / DB3 Inc.
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On the heels of his Hangtown 100 victory, Justin Grant worked his way from 13th in the Turkey Night Grand Prix to beat three-time event winner Kyle Larson by 1.367 seconds. The 81st annual event was run at Ventura (Calif.) Raceway for the sixth time.

“My dad used to take me to Irwindale Speedway, and we’d watch Turkey Night there every year,” Grant said in a series press release. “This is one of the races I fell in love with. I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to run in it, never thought I’d make a show and certainly never thought I’d be able to win one.”

With its genesis in 1934 at Gilmore Stadium, a quarter-mile dirt track in Los Angeles, the race is steeped in history with winners that include AJ Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Gary Bettenhausen and Johnnie Parsons. Tony Stewart won it in 2000. Kyle Larson won his first of three Turkey Night Grands Prix in 2012. Christopher Bell earned his first of three in 2014, so Grant’s enthusiasm was well deserved.

So was the skepticism that he would win. He failed to crack the top five in three previous attempts, although he came close last year with a sixth-place result. When he lined up for the feature 13th in the crowded 28-car field, winning seemed like a longshot.

Grant watched as serious challengers fell by the wayside. Mitchel Moles flipped on Lap 10 of the feature. Michael “Buddy” Kofoid took a tumble on Lap 68 and World of Outlaws Sprint car driver Carson Macedo flipped on Lap 79. Grant saw the carnage ahead of him and held a steady wheel as he passed Tanner Thorson for the lead with 15 laps remaining and stayed out of trouble for the remainder of the event.

“It’s a dream come true to win the Turkey Night Grand Prix,” Grant said.


Kyle Larson follows Justin Grant to the front on Turkey Night

The 2012, 2016 and 2019 winner, Larson was not scheduled to run the event. His wife Katelyn is expecting their third child shortly, but after a couple of glasses of wine with Thanksgiving dinner and while watching some replays of the event, Larson texted car owner Chad Boat to see if he had a spare car lying around. He did.

“We weren’t great but just hung around and it seemed like anybody who got to the lead crashed and collected some people,” Larson said. “We made some passes throughout; in the mid-portion, we weren’t very good but then we got better at the end.

“I just ran really, really hard there, and knew I was running out of time, so I had to go. I made some pretty crazy and dumb moves, but I got to second and was hoping we could get a caution to get racing with Justin there. He was sliding himself at both ends and thought that maybe we could get a run and just out-angle him into [Turn] 1 and get clear off [Turn] 2 if we got a caution, but it just didn’t work out.”

Larson padded one of the most impressive stats in the history of this race, however. In 10 starts, he’s won three times, finished second four times, was third once and fourth twice.

Bryant Wiedeman took the final spot on the podium.

As Grant and Larson began to pick their way through the field, Kofoid took the lead early from the outside of the front row and led the first 44 laps of the race before handing it over to Cannon McIntosh, who bicycled on Lap 71 before landing on all fours. While Macedo and Thorson tussled for the lead with McIntosh, Grant closed in.

Thorson finished 19th with McIntosh 20th. Macedo recovered from his incident to finish ninth. Kofoid’s hard tumble relegated him to 23rd.

Jake Andreotti in fourth and Kevin Thomas, Jr. rounded out the top five.

1. Justin Grant (started 13)
2. Kyle Larson (22)
3. Bryant Wiedeman (4)
4. Jake Andreotti (9)
5. Kevin Thomas Jr. (1)
6. Logan Seavey (8)
7. Alex Bright (27)
8. Emerson Axsom (24)
9. Carson Macedo (7)
10. Jason McDougal (18)
11. Jake Swanson (16)
12. Chase Johnson (6)
13. Jacob Denney (26)
14. Ryan Timms (23)
15. Chance Crum (28)
16. Brenham Crouch (17)
17. Jonathan Beason (19)
18. Cade Lewis (14)
19. Tanner Thorson (11)
20. Cannon McIntosh (3)
21. Thomas Meseraull (15)
22. Tyler Courtney (21)
23. Buddy Kofoid (2)
24. Brody Fuson (5)
25. Mitchel Moles (20)
26. Daniel Whitley (10)
27. Kaylee Bryson (12)
28. Spencer Bayston (25)