Action Express Racing wins Rolex 24
Action Express Racing led a Corvette podium sweep in the prestigious Rolex 24 at Daytona, where Joao Barbosa held off Max Angelelli on a restart with 8:23 remaining Sunday to preserve a second overall win in four years.
Barbosa had driven the No. 5 Corvette to a 13.1-second lead when a full-course caution with 21 minutes remaining put the victory in jeopardy. The field was bunched and Angelelli had one final chance to give Wayne Taylor Racing the win.
But Barbosa easily pulled away to get the win for teammates Christian Fittipaldi and Sebastien Bourdais. t's the second overall victory for Barbosa, third in class. Fittipaldi was part of the winning 2004 team, and it's Bourdais' first victory.
Barbosa was unhappy when IMSA race officials called the full-course caution for a Porsche that had run off the track and into the chicane.
"I didn't want to see it. I had quite a good gap and cushion so I could manage traffic," said Barbosa, who lives outside Daytona in Ormond Beach. "I was getting quite worried initially because I kept hitting traffic at the wrong moments. But we won the race."
Wayne Taylor Racing finished second for the second consecutive year.
"I tried everything I had in the car, trust me, everything I had to use," Angelelli said.
Co-owner Wayne Taylor came out of retirement to drive for the first time since 2010 for the opportunity to drive with Angelelli and sons Ricky and Jordan. The 58-year-old drove one stint on Saturday then retreated to the pit stand to strategize for what he hoped would be a third - and most memorable - victory.
"It was a great result, and to have my family and my kids drive with me and Max, it's been an emotional roller-coaster," Wayne Taylor said. "Obviously, we wanted to be the first winners for Chevrolet in the Corvette, but we were second-best and they won fair and square."
Action Express' second car, with drivers Brian Frisselle, Burt Frisselle, John Martin and Fabien Giroix, finished third for a strong showing for the two-car team. Chevrolet was the top manufacturer standing at the end of the twice-around-the-clock endurance race.
Two Nissan teams took the next two places in the top-tier Prototype class as Ford was shut out in its debut of its new EcoBoost engine as the manufacturer stepped into the new unified Tudor United SportsCar Championship supporting teams for the first time.
But the No. 01 car from Chip Ganassi Racing team wasn't able to defend its win because of a series of problems that plagued the car starting very early in the race. Then the No. 02 was taken out of contention when it developed a flat rear tire while Scott Dixon was running second with roughly five hours remaining. The No. 02 went to the garage with 48 minutes remaining when the floor of the Ford Riley began to unravel and Dixon could see the pavement under his feet.
Michael Shank Racing's entry, the 2012 race winning team, was plagued by a broken gearbox.
But many in the Ford camp considered it a success considering the questions about reliability with the new engine package that plagued the manufacturer in preseason testing.
"To see where we were, and where we are now, this is a great step moving forward with this program," said five-time Rolex winner Scott Pruett. "This is a whole new engine with technology that hasn't been in the sport before. We were here at (testing) and we left early because we had issues. So coming back here, everyone put this gallant effort ... to run like we did, when you think about where we were, it's huge."
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