The start of the race was an amazing experience. Shortly after the awesome flyover, I bore witness to one of the coolest starts in all of motor racing. The start of the season. It is a surreal feeling knowing that this is the first time of the year that anyone in major American based sports cars will hear the words “Drivers, start your engines.” (Spoken by Sir Jackie “It’s a great day for a motor car race” Stewart, by the way)
The Rolex Sportscar Series has a start procedure that is unlike any other, in that they start the upper tier Daytona Prototypes approximately 20 seconds earlier than the lower rung GT class cars. There are two separate pace cars, and there are to separate pole sitters. Two starts means twice the excitement.
Under the first start, Starworks Motorsport driver Ryan Dalziel (pronounced Dee-Al…don’t ask) broke away to an astonishing early lead. By the time he reached the back straight chicane, “The Bus Stop”, he had a near eight second lead over the second placed Suntrust Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype.
In the second of the two starts, Brumos Racing’s Leh Keen lost ground to the FXDD/AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 initially, but…well, I’ll let the following sequence of photos illustrate what happened next.
I’ll be back with a mid race update just after midnight this evening. For now, I’m off to the Budweiser Party Porch. (It’s a good place for photos…I swear!). As I’m sure you can figure, I’m rooting for Porsche in GT, and with several of them in the race, there is a good chance of a Zuffenhausen victory. As a huge Joey Hand fan as well as a huge Alan McNish fan, I am terribly torn on who to root for in the DP class. Have any insight?
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