DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Trouble struck twice for Team Penske’s Acura DPIs while running under yellow in a downpour with less than 6 hours remaining in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.
Penske’s No. 6, driven by Simon Pagenaud at the time and shared by Juan Pablo Montoya and Dane Cameron, pulled off the track with an apparent malfunctioning oil pump for repairs during a caution that had lasted for more than hour because of persistent rain that began nearly five hours earlier.
While running for nearly an hour behind the pace car with the lead, Ricky Taylor fell ill in Penske’s No. 7 Acura. Taylor pitted and turned the car over to Helio Castroneves.
NASCAR on NBC analyst Dale Earnhardt Jr. speculated that Taylor might have fallen ill because of “the pace car lights. They are extremely bright. Under these muggy conditions, they are emphasized quite a bit.
“I used to lobby NASCAR to minimize the lights at night because it was so disturbing and made you ill. Riding around in humid, muggy race car, and it’s a bad combination.”
NASCAR senior vice president and chief racing development officer Steve O’Donnell confirmed the sanctioning body had made adjustments after complaints from Earnhardt and Jimmie Johnson.
During his last Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona start in 2004, Earnhardt said teammate Andy Wallace also had fallen ill after riding behind the pace car for two hours and needed several hours to recover. Earnhardt and teammate Tony Stewart had to double their stints as a result.
NBCSN’s Marty Snider reported that Taylor was resting in his best after briefly visiting the care center and being checked and released.