LIVE from the Rolex 24 at Daytona

Published On January 26, 2013 » 1823 Views» By Brian Simpson » Blogs



CHECKERED FLAG.  Juan Pablo Montoya showed his incredible speed in the last stint and although Max Angelelli and the Wayne Taylor Racing group took the lead for a brief moment, Juan and the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sebates crew took home the prized Rolex watch. What’s the most incredible fact is that Scott Pruett, who is virtually unbeatable at Daytona, has now tied Hurley Haywood for most Rolex 24 at Daytona victories.  Truly an incredible effort by the entire crew.  There was a record setting number of lead changes in this race with a total of 74.  A big congrats to Charlie Kimball who in his rookie attempt at Daytona will go home a winner. Memo Rojas continues to show his talent behind the wheel of a Daytona Prototype and is now a member of the exclusive 3-time winners club.

Overall it was a great showing for the INDYCAR drivers.  Ryan Hunter-Reay and his Wayne Taylor Racing teammates finished an impressive 2nd place.  Justin Wilson and the crew from Michael Shank Racing claimed the final step on the podium with a third place finish.  Quite a feat considering all of the issues they ran into over the course of 24 hours.  Sebastien Bourdais and the rest of the drivers from the Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix winning team finished in 6th place.  Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon had a rough go in the #02 that ended in a broken drive shaft and 37th overall finish.

As usual, it was an incredible finish.  Teams really took the strategy all the way down to the last lap.  Several GT cars ran out of fuel coming to the checkered.  Ultimately, the Audi Sport Customer Racing team took the title in the GT class.

Son of legendary Indianapolis 500 and Formula competitor Mark Donohue, David Donohue took home a victory in the GX class.  All of David’s teammates are first time winners.

It was a pleasure to be here in Daytona again.  This marks my third year in a row of spending late January in Daytona for this legendary race.  I don’t know at this time if we’ll attend again but I do know for sure that we’ll provide this same level of coverage for the 2nd Annual Brickyard Grand Prix this summer.  I hope we get to see this many drivers from other disciplines take a crack at conquering the road course at IMS.

We hope you enjoyed the coverage over the past 30 hours or so.  As always, we love hearing from our fans so if there’s anything we can do to improve or anything we can provide in the future, tell us!  We’re always listening!


WOW!  This has been incredible!  The media center is literally buzzing with “ooo’s” and “ahh’s” during this last stint.  AJ Allmendinger is demonstrating why he is truly one of the best drivers in Daytona Prototype.  The guy can flat out drive.  He’s pulling up behind the #01 a full car length back and out braking them over and over again.  It appeared as though the #01 had gotten away and that was all that was to be said for this but a yellow just came out.  (HOORAY!)

I know we’ve been saying it all day but this is about to be one of the greatest finishes in Rolex 24 history.  The #01 Ganassi car is obviously quicker on the straight but I think the trump card here is AJ Allmendinger.  The guy is fearless.  A showdown between Juan Pablo Montoya and AJ Allmendinger is going to be amazing.

Make sure you’re tuned into SPEED to watch the end of this.  While you’re at it, click on the ad above or this link and head over to our website to pick up our special Speed 24 deal.  $6 off tickets to the 2nd Annual Brickyard Grand Prix!  It’s a great deal and the racing is incredible!  Check out these highlights from last year:


We’re nearly down to the final 3 hours.  This has to have been one of the more action packed Rolex 24’s in history.  The MOMO/NGT Porsche GT3 Cup fell out of the race earlier after a suspension failure on the oval.  A tough break for the team as they had been running at the front of the GT class for most of the race.  Jamie McMurray and the #02 suffered some contact as well.  They’ve managed to stay in the race and Dario Franchitti is currently at the helm and is running steady in 7th place.

The INDYCAR cast is having another strong showing.  Ryan Hunter-Reay is in 2nd position and Justin Wilson is just behind him.  The Michael Shank Racing story has to be the most impressive of this race.  They’ve managed to get their lap back and are currently running in 3rd position.  I’m not sure they’re going to have anything for the #01 that’s currently being driven by Memo Rojas but a podium finish for a team that has gone down 7 laps twice is mighty impressive.  Mike has been showcasing his strong personality on twitter throughout the whole ordeal.  I suggest you all follow him RIGHT away.  (@MichaelShankRac)

Check out our latest photos on Flickr:


We’re back!  We took a nice little nap and are feeling re-energized for the rest of the day.  We extended our nap by about 2 hours as we had an extended caution (2 hours) for fog on the race track.

The Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sebates continues to dominate.  Scott Pruett is back behind the wheel and leads the field by 7 seconds.  Joao Barbosa, Jordan Taylor, Richard Westbrook and Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix champion, Alex Popow round out the top 5 in the Daytona Prototype class.

INDYCAR driver Simon Pagenaud and his Sahlen Racing prototype are off the track after losing power.  Former Champcar competitor Alex Figge just recently came on air during the SPEED broadcast to chat about the fact that he got some motion sickness during the extended caution for the fog.  He actually pitted a few moments ago and climbed out of the car early.  He subsequently ran over to the trash can outside the pit box and had a bit of a “moment.”

The Michael Shank Racing #60 has been the big story of the night.  After some issues with the car and a penalty they have been able to claw their way back from 7 laps down – twice!  They’re currently 1 lap down and are attempting to get their lap back.  Shank feels that if they can get the lap back they’ll be a contender.

It’s shaping up to be another great finish.  Who’s your pick for victory?



It’s officially Sunday and we’re nearly at the 12 hour mark.  Ironically some folks have started to come back into the media center after having left to grab some sleep.  Still, there’s a few individuals here that have taken to pushing some chairs together to create a bed.

The action continues on the track and it seems every time we step away from the computer something happens. 2012 Indianapolis 500 Champion, Dario Franchitti is strapped into the #02 at the moment and he leads the field by nearly 27 seconds.  Giving chase from the 2nd position is 2012 INDYCAR Champion, Ryan Hunter-Reay.  Allan McNish is back in the #2 with a gap of 31 seconds between himself and RHR.  Burt Frisselle and his brother Brian Frisselle are in 4th and 5th position.

The Ferrari 458, driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi, leads the GT class at the moment.  Nicolas Armindo, Edoardo Morars, Henrique Cisneros, and Damien Faulker complete the top 5 positions.

We’re doing our best to stay awake but definitely forsee a nap in our future.  So… this could be our last post for just a bit.  We’ll be back soon!


It’s been a while since our last update.  We’ve been hunkered down in a few photo holes getting shots of the ultra-cool brake rotor glow on these cars.  We’re now well into hour 9.  The #01 and #02 of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sebates continue to dominate the field.  Pruett is in the #01 currently and leads the sister car driven by Scott Dixon by 4.574 seconds.  The next DP behind Dixon is the #5 driven by Christian Fitipaldi and he’s roughly 36 seconds behind.  Jordan Taylor and Joao Barbosa round out the top 5 in 4th and 5th respectively.

The #30 MOMO/NGT Motorsport Porsche GT3 Cup is currently in the lead of the GT class with Sean Edwards behind the wheel.  Olivier Beretta is 12 second behind in the Scurderia Corsa Michelotto Ferrari 458.  Christopher Haase, Oliver Jarvis and Richard Lietz are running 3rd, 4th and 5th in the GT Class.

The cars are definitely starting to show more and more signs of wear.  The body work is starting to turn black with bits of rubber and oil from the other cars and the track itself is quite dirty just off the racing line.

The media center is significantly more quiet now as the lucky folks heading home to sleep start to slip out the door.  The infield however is going strong!  There’s hundreds of fires burning, fans enjoying frosty cold beverages, and folks sitting comfortably atop their RV’s.  Some of the rigs are quite impressive.  There’s everything from what appears to be industrial purpose-built scaffolding down to ducktape and tarps.

My plan is to push through the night, shoot the sunrise and then take a short nap before getting back after it in the daylight.


We’re now well into the night and the racing is still quite rough on-track.  There’s been several incidents since our last update.

James Hinchcliffe and his Mazdaspeed/Speedsource Mazda 6 are out of the race.  We’re still waiting to hear what the final verdict is on the damage that has forced his team to retire but it apparently was irreparable.  There has been a steady stream of drivers in the press conference room.  We’ve had Rubens Barrichello, Clint Bowyer and Sebastian Bourdais all stop by for quick chats with the media.  We’re considering recording a few of them for your viewing pleasure.  Is there a particular driver whose interview you would like to hear?  Send us a tweet @IMS and let us know!

Jordan Taylor of Wayne Taylor Racing stopped by after his stint and when asked about his famous youtube video he had this to say:

“Well I was just informed it might be taken off Youtube so I’m a little upset right now.  My friend Mark Jensen, we were at dinner one night at a little Mexican place and a Mariachi band came around and serenaded us.  I think they thought we were together.  From that point we kind of thought of a funny idea of maybe doing a Mariachi dance for a video and then it kind of escalated from there.  I said on TV just now that everyone at the track sees all of us as very serious people and I don’t really think they see our personalities away from the track.  We all thought it would be fun to kind of just do a weird, goofy video like that.  If you have a sense of humor you will enjoy it.  Some people took it a little too seriously I think and were making some weird remarks.  I think if you are just open to laugh at people, we were just laughing at ourselves the whole time.  It was just a fun video.”

Check out Jordan’s video below:

Currently Juan Pablo Montoya is in control of the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sebates machine and is in the lead over Burt Friselle in the Action Express Racing #9 Daytona Prototype by roughly 17 seconds.  Allan McNish, Nelson Piquet Jr, Darren Lawn, Antonio Garcia, Jamie McMurray, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Gustavo Yacaman, and Dane Cameron round out the top 10.

Nicolas Armindo is leading the GT class with Damian Faulkner, Dion von Moltke, Ian Baas, and Klaus Bechler round out the top 5.

The coffee is starting flow here in the Media Center as some folks are prepping for the long haul into the late of the night.  We’re about head back for some more shots.  Check out the flickr gallery from today’s shots!


We’re fully in to night racing now.  We scurried out of the media center just a short while ago to have some fun shooting in the sunset.  There’s a lot of fun to be had shooting these sports cars.  There’s such variation in color, body style, etc.  It makes for an exciting challenge.  Below is my favorite shot from the sunset session:

There’s been a TON of action in this race so far.  I’m sure that we’re going to get some very interesting photos of some damaged cars during the wee hours of the morning.  Currently Jamie McMurray is leading the field in the #02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sebates machine.  His teammate Memo Rojas runs in second place just a touch over 1 second behind.  Allan McNish and the Starworks Motorsports team are running a strong 3rd.  You may remember that the Starworks group won the Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix in 2012.  Allan is a regular in the 24 Hours of Lemans and is making his eighth run at the twice-around-the-clock classic here in Florida.

Jordan Taylor and the Wayne Taylor Racing #10 are running in 4th place currently and his co-driver Max Angelelli stopped by the media center after his stint had concluded.  Here’s what he had to say:

MODERATOR: Tell us about the first stint and obviously you guys want to get off to a good start this year after last years early disappointments in this race.

Angelelli: “As everybody could see I did three stints.  At the beginning of my first stint I really took my time, very patient, just stayed behind to look around at what happened.  I felt the car was pretty balanced, good fast and it was too risky to take those people and they were already racing like the final hour.  When I got the opportunity I went by.  Our guys, the Velocity Worldwide team had an excellent, exceptional pit stop both times.  That really helped because we overtook so many cars in the pit.  The final stint, my third stint, I could stay with the No. 01 for half of a stint, but it was too quick on the straight.  As soon as I loose contact there was no chance.  Our car Corvette is really good, very well balanced and we’ll see.”

As you can see there’s starting to be a reoccurring theme here in Daytona.  The Chevy drivers seem to feel the BMW powered Ganassi cars are much, much quicker on the straights.  It will be interesting to see what strategy is taken by these drivers over the course of the race to overcome this supposed lack of straight line speed.

We’re off to get some pit action shots and to meander around the infield.  Let us know if there’s anything specific you’d like to see or hear!  We’ll do our best to make it happen!


And…. we’re racing!  It’s already been a very eventful first hour.  The Michael Shank Racing and Sahlen Racing Daytona Prototypes have already suffered from some off-track incidents.  A broken tie-rod sent the#60 to the pits for an extended stop and the #40 had a big off with some light contact when approaching the kink just a few minutes ago.  There are several other cars suffering from a few bumps and bruises that are expected during close sports car racing. 

Currently the #01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sebates, driven by Scott Pruett at the moment, is in the lead by just over a second over Scott Dixon in the #02 sister car.  The #6 Michael Shank Racing sits in 3rd with Michael Valiente behind the wheel.  Pagenaud, Angelelli, Dalziel, Garica, Frisselle, Rockenfeller, and Fogarty round out the top 10 and the cars on the lead lap.

We’ve just recently had our first full course caution for the #00 Mazda 6, driven by Joel Miller, which has lost power in the bus stop.  Due to the caution we’re also seeing our first round of pitstops and driver changes.  It’s shaping up to be an eventful night!  Be sure to follow along with us!



It’s almost go time!  We did a quick grid walk and ran into a few of the INDYCAR drivers.  (More #Indy500orBust photos coming!) We also ran into legendary 4-time Indy 500 winner and Daytona 24 hours Champion, AJ Foyt.  We’ve got some GREAT shots of him coming later.

It’s a BEAUTIFUL day here in Daytona.  The sun is shining, there’s a slight breeze, and it’s a comfortable temperature.  We’re ready to get this thing started!

I’ll be heading to the famed “bus stop” for the start as I’m sure there will be plenty of action.  The excitement is really starting to ramp up here in Daytona and the race is just a short time away.  It will be a very interesting first couple hours.  We’re off to go shoot the start but look for an update from us in just about 2 hours.

It’s officially race season!  Drop the green flag!


#INDY500orBUST!!!  Check out this photo:

We grabbed nearly all the INDYCAR drivers participating in the Rolex 24 just after the drivers meeting and had them pose with our #Indy500orBust signs.

We unfortunately lost Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan in the mass exodus from the meeting so look for photos of those guys to come later this afternoon.

We were a little disappointed that we missed the Formula Vee celebration laps as we were occupied with the photo shoot.  We hear it was pretty cool!  Currently there are some huge lines out in the facility of folks waiting for autographs.  Can’t say I blame them, there’s a very talented field entered int his years 2013 Rolex 24.

Here’s a link to the starting grid for today’s race.

Who do you think is going to take home the watch?  Who’s going to be first out?  Leave your predictions in the comments below!

For your viewing pleasure, here’s a video of Marcos Ambrose interviewing Justin Wilson:


SATURDAY 11:15am:

It’s Raceday! We woke up and grabbed a nice breakfast this morning and spent about an hour at the local Target picking up the essentials for the marathon blog and photography session we’re about to embark upon.  What are the essentials you ask?  Several things, fresh socks, fresh clothing to change into, sunflower seeds, beef jerky, advil, 5-hour energy, Red Bull, Starbucks VIA, freeze dried apple slices, sun screen, coconut water and altoids.

We’re all set up here in the media center.  Camera batteries are charged, audio recorders are plugged in and we’re ready to go!  We’re going to be heading to a very special photo shoot after the Rolex 24 drivers meeting at 11:30.  We’ll be sure to post the photos here as soon as we’re done!

In other news, not related to the Rolex 24, we’ve officially launched the #Indy500orBust instagram sweepstakes!  Upload a photo to Instagram using the hashtag #Indy500orBust.  We’ll send you a message if and when your photo has been approved and all you have to do is claim your photo to be entered into the sweepstakes to win a VIP trip to the 2014 Indianapolis 500!  Check out the photos that have already been uploaded at  You can also see where the drivers, teams, INDYCAR, and IMS have been uploading photos from as well as your fellow fans!  Head to to check the interactive map out!



About The Author

Brian Simpson

I am the Manager, Digital/Social & Photo Operations at THE Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Racing is my passion and has been since I was 4 years old and I attended my first IndyCar race. I grew up going to Mid-Ohio to watch my Dad race and to attend IndyCar races. I'm a Chef, Digital Producer, Photographer, avid Sim-Racer, and hard-core motorsports fan. Follow me on twitter! @Simpson244
energy shots
energy shots

Do you have a spam problem on this website; I also am a blogger, and I was wanting to know your situation; many of us have created some nice methods and we are looking to exchange solutions with other folks, why not shoot me an email if interested.