Photo; IMSA, Mike Levitt
When Mike Shank hired Helio Castroneves to run the 105th Indianapolis 500 last year, I just said, “Huh,” and didn’t give it much more thought. Of course Castroneves went on to win his fourth 500. Today Castroneves, along with Indycar teammate Simon Pagenaud, Tom Blomqvist, and Oliver Jarvis win the 60th Rolex 24.
The driver and owner have clicked and the chemistry may make life miserable for other teams.
Shank won the Rolex 10 years ago, which makes today’s victory extra special.
Great Day for Indycar– Seven of the twelve Indycar drivers finished in the top five in their classes. Alexander Rossi was on the second place team in DPi; Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward, and Devlin DeFrancesco won the LMP2 class for Dragonspeed; Rinus VeeKay was second in LMP 2; and Kyle Kirkwood was fourth in GTD Pro.
Speaking of GTD Pro, the battle for the win over the last two laps between winner Mathieu Jaminet and Laurens Vanthoor was the best fight of the day. The drivers exchanged positions had contact with each other in the horseshoe and the bus stop on the final lap with Jaminet going on to win. Vanthoor spun and fell to third.
I’m glad to see Felipe Nasr finally win the Rolex after 10 years of trying.
This was an outstanding 24 hour race. There were compelling stories throughout the race. The DPi class provided a lot of the drama, with the Ganassi Cadillacs both experiencing issues which put them out of contention. Both cars looked strong in the middle of the race.
With six hours remaining, the outcome was in doubt in each class.
Kamui Kobayashi tried to singlehandedly keep the 48 competitive. He had a great first stint, but several issues put the car 22 laps down.
The crowd seemed down a bit, but the fans that did come didn’t seem to let the abnormally cold weather bother them.
From the parts of the Peacock broadcast I saw, NBC did a great job of coverage. James Hinchcliffe, to the surprise of no one was outstanding as a commentator. I enjoyed the times NBC went to break and on Peacock we just heard the sounds of the cars.
Daytona could use a video board and an extra grandstand or two in the International Horseshoe. The track also should figure out a way to get a stand by the Le Mans Chicane.