Friday, February 2, 2007

Rolex 24: 2007 Race review

Truly the real words of the New Year’s celebration to me occur every year around this time when the best 4 words of the New Year are spoken: “Drivers Start Your Engines!” As the command is given to commence the year’s first major motorsports event, the Rolex 24… (24 Hours of Daytona)

In what has fast become a yearly All Star Sports Car event, the Rolex 24 seems to gather an even more prestigious field of competitor’s each outing. This year’s stellar line-up included a dozen ex-Formula 1 drivers, 4 “RASSCAR” Champions, 6 Indianapolis 500 Winners, 3 Champ Car Champions, and 3 IRL Champions along with a host of former/current CART/Champ Champ Car & IRL competitors without mentioning a host of Sports Car standouts…

While the majority of the “BIG” name guest celebrities faltered, either due to teammates having on-track accidents or mechanical gremlins strike, in typical fashion “MAC” (Juan Pablo) Montoya came, saw and conquered.

In his Rolex 24 debut, MAC became only the second driver to have won the Rolex 24, Indy 500, Formula 1 races and a Champ Car championship, with Mario Andretti being the first…

Although a long time fan of Scott Pruett (since his Jack Roush Trans Am & Truesports CART days) I found myself rooting for the second place team instead…

This was the #11 SAMAX entry, which was a virtual unknown… And I felt it would be even cooler to see Darren Manning (England) who was unceremoniously “dumped” by “Cheep” (Chip Ganassi) win instead.

I also felt that “Pat Carpenter” (Patrick Carpentier: Canada) Was more then deserving of some long overdue international media attention. Fellow teammate Ryan Dalziel (Scotland) has steadfastly plodded along the past few years awaiting his chance of a full time Champ Car ride. And how refreshing it would have been for Mika Duno (Venezuela) to be on the top step of the rostrum… As I believe she’d been the very first female overall winner…

But alas, the combination of Salvador Doran, (Mexico) Montoya (Columbia) and Pruett (California) was simply too great as they “cruised” home to the checkers after a super hard fought final few hours of competition to record Ganassi’s second consecutive victory…

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