Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rolex 24 nail biter


I’ve just finished the second of two dazes veggin’ in front of le Telescreen... Gorging myself on the crown jewel of Grand Am, the Daytona 24hr endurance race, which was a real barn burner, as I haven’t been that “Jazzed” over a race since last season’s Formula 1 finale at San Paulo!

Thus, the coverage began on the RASSCAR channel, more commonly known as FOX, with a 30min. pre-race bantering, as I was unaware of the fact that David Donohue’s snatching of pole position in the #58 Brumos Riley/Porsche Daytona Prototype (DP) came upon the 40th Anniversary of his late, great father Mark Donohue’s pole... Before the elder Donohue went onto victory for somebody known as “The Captain,” while just a few of the tidbits Mwah gleamed from the 16hrs of television coverage... Was the rumour that Ferrari is potentially working upon a V-8 powerplant suitable for DP competition... That would be cool, eh? And there were two Ferrari F430 Challenge cars in the race, with Max Papis at the keyboard of one entry.

And Chris Neville did a fascinating piece about the monstrous tyre programme Pirelli goes thru in order to supply the entire Grand Am grid, as tires come into the Pirelli compound and are immediately scanned for their bar code... As there’s a total of 75 tire buster’s (runners) bringing the black rubber to 70 awaiting tire changers in the Italian booth, where there’s 3,000 rain tires on hand. Not to mention the 7,000 “slick” tires, for a total of 10,000 black doughnuts... Of which every team is allowed a maximum of 30 sets for the entire race week, while this massive tonnage of black rubber constituted 15 semi-trailers. And when the race is in the thick of competition, the Pirelli boys can crank out 60 sets of tires per hour! But let’s not forget that somebody has to pick-up the tire bill, which will set back each team owner $60,000 per vehicle... So, I’ll let you do the math for the TRG & Farnbacher Loles Racing five car armadas.

And two of the best quips of the weekend both centered around “The Cheepster’s” (Chip Ganassi) unprecedented attempt of capturing four consecutive overall Rolex 24 victories.

So Chip, how do you prepare your team to run in the 13+ hours of dark at Daytona? “Turn out the lights!”

And Dario Franchitti reflecting upon why his boss Chip went back to a three driver line-up per car vs. last year’s four... Well I think Chip want’s his own watch... Since they only hand out four per winning car and Chip didn’t get to have one last year...

Thus, it was amazing to turn on the tellie this morning and see the top four DP’s running nose to tail with just over two hours remaining, as Buddy Rice went no holds barred on passing the Iron man, a.k.a. Scott Pruett, whom Kyle Petty reckoned was the Mark Martin of Grand Am competition... He just keep’s getting younger and better each year... With the TCGR Boys getting Juan Pablo Montoya out ahead of the #58 Brumos car with 1hr 46min. remaining... As I began screaming at the TV; C’mon Garcia! C’mon Garcia! C’mon Garcia! Get Juan, as I really wanted to see the Brumos car win for several reasons... Like the Donohue Anniversary, the Buddy “Hot Rod” Rice connection, Brumos NOT having won a race since 2003, etc.

And thus with 53mins left, under record caution flag #24, Garcia handed off to David Donohue, the sole driver change made by the top four entries during the races final pit stop. And I sat with all four fingers crossed yelling GO DAVID! For the last 38mins, after he’d skillfully passed JPM... And then with 5mins remaining Donohue was told to ignore the dashboards various alarm bells going off! And on the white flag lap he was instructed to switch over to reserve on his fuel, as his co-driver Darren Law had been victimized by running out of fuel at Montreal last year 20’ shy of the chequered flag, while MAC Montoya continued breathing down his gearbox and neck literally...

Oh, by the way... Do you know the trivia answer to what is David Donohue’s connection to the Pacific Northwest?