Wrapping Up a Busy Week

Alexander Rossi photo by James Black, Indycar

Yesterday seemed awfully quiet after a week of nonstop IMSA and Indycar activity.

The Spring Training at Thermal Club wasa hit with the drivers and car owners. There is some talk of a race at the facility, but I think it is a long shot. It is a private club, and a lot of infrastructure work needs to bring it up to Indycar and FIA standards. I think the race would be mainly for the club members, not the average fan. It could be Indycar’s version of the F1 Miami Grand Prix without the fake harbor.

I hope some club members had their interest piqued and want to invest in a team in some way. For now, let’s leave this track as a Spring Training site, and maybe allow a limited number of fans in next year.

Rolex 24 Gallery

Some photos taken by a pure amateur at the Rolex 24. As I said earlier, the GTP cars are beautiful and it is nice to have cars with distinct looks and sounds.

01 Cadillac
24 BMW
Turn 1 action.
Turn 3
On the banks
The Vasser Sullivan Lexus fought hard to earn a podium.

Rolex 24 Wrap Up

Even before Dayna international Speedway announced a record attendance for the race, I knew it. I felt it, I saw it. It was in the jam- packed food court, and the long lines for at food trucks that in years past, you could walk right up to anytime. The record crowd was in the hoseshoe grandstand, which was nearly full all the time. In other years, it empties out after the fireworks Saturday night. When I returned Sunday afternoon, I swear some fans had been there the entire 24 hours.

The 61st Rolex had some improvements, but they still have a long way to go. Wifi was available in the infield campgrounds, but not in the main grandstand. Two video boards were added, one in the food court and one near turn 1. One is needed in the horseshoe and two more should be installed on the front stretch.

The Grid Walk, always a disaster waiting to happen, was worse than ever. The problem is getting everyone through just a couple of narrow openings, then having the crowd wait for race teams to drive through to prepare for the race. What the track and IMSA should do is have more and wider openings, and not have an entry point through the garages and near pit entrance. Once everyone gets out to the track, everything is fine, but management needs to work on the getting there part.

My Weekend

This year was my third camping experience. I have learned a lot from my friends Brian runnells and Debbie Howard, and I felt more comfortable camping this time. I was much better prepared, for one thing. Thursday night Doug Boles came to our campsite. he usually pops in, but this year he was taking an in depth look at how campers set up to give him an idea of what IMS might look like for the IMSA race this fall. He spoke to several groups of campers and viewed their setups.Bokles is always learning to improve IMS.

I had an ice chat with him about the Speedway honoring Bill Vukovich this year on the 70th anniversary of his first win. I think we will see something. We had a great chat about Vuky.

GTP- History Made

The race saw the debut of the GTP class, which replaced the DPi cars. It was refreshing. The new cars, represented by Cadillac, Acura, Porsche, and BMW, each have a distinct look. It was nice to see race cars have some variety in appearance. I thought the BMW were the best looking of this class. It was nice to be able to tell which car was approaching by its looks.

In addition to the distinctive front, there were some differences in the body style and sidepods. More of this diversity, please.

I expected the cars to have more issues in the race than they did. Only two cars fell out of contention early, and the others finished the race.

The Race

I don’t know how this happens, but after 24 hours you wouldn’t expect a class battle to come down to a pass at the line. The LMP2 finish was incredible.

In GTP, Acuras were the fastest cars, and Cadillac I thought performed better than expected. Porsches were the most disappointing. The Penske team had more development and test time than the other teams.

It was nice to see Cooper McNeil win in his final Rolex24 in the GTD class.

Yellow flags flew early and often, but then there was a stretch of six hours of continuous green flag racing. Yellows in the last hour added a bit of drama, but in the end helped the contenders with it strategy.

Too Many Classes?

While it was fantastic to see a field of 61 cars take the green, I wonder if IMSA could cut back to three classes. i don’t think it would hurt the product.

I think IMSA should eliminate the LMP3 class and consolidate GTD and GTD Pro. LMP3 cars are barely quicker than the GTD cars, and both GTD classes run the same equipment. It was challenging enough frying to follow four classes, let alone five.

This might be a case of addition by subtraction.

I will have a photo gallery up at some point tomorrow.

Some Indycar Notes

Congratulations to Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud, who were part of the winning team, the number 60 Acura of Meyer Shank Racing.

Tomorrow and Wednesday are Indycar media days. All drivers will talk to the media, and I will share what I find out. Thursday and Friday is Indycar Spring Training, with 11 hours of practice at the Thermal Club near Palm Springs, California, split into two sessions each day..

Timing and scoring is available, but there is no streaming, one of the pitfalls of going to a club track

Rolex 24 Entry List, Spotter Guide Links

Just about to head to Daytona. Here are links to the entry list and Andy Blackmore’s fabulous spotter guide.

Entry list:

Spotter guide:


I will post the weekend schedule this afternoon. Follow my Twiter ab=nd Facebook forphotos all weekend.

Power Joins Rolex 24 Indycar Contingent

Will Power ill participate in the 2023 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona at the end of January. Power will co-drive the number 75 Mercedes AMG in the GTD class. The car owner, Kenny Habul, used to race against Power in Australian supercars.

Power will be making his debut in the Rolex. He joins Penske teammates Josef Newgarden and Scott McLaughlin in the 24 hours. Newgarden and McLaughlin will be teammates in the Tower Motorsports LMP2 entry.

I think sports cars is where Power’s future lies. He has expressed interest in running at Bathurst in his native Australia.

He joins 10 fellow full time Indycar drivers in the first major race of the season in North America. In addition, Indy NXT drivers Kyffin Simpson and Christian Rasmussen, and Josh Pierson will also take part in the race.

Pierson will be part time in NXT as his main focus will be in sports cars. he has signed as a development driver with Ed Carpenter Racing. Keep in mind the kid is not yet 16 years old.

The previous year’s Indycar champion should be in the Rolex 24, which has become somewhat ofa racing season All-Star race. Likewise, I would like to see the IMSA season champion in the Indianapolis 500.

Indycar drivers entered in the Rolex 24 as of now:


Colton Herta BMW Team RLL

Scott Dixon – Cadillac racing

Helio Castroneves- Meyer Shank racing

Simon Pagenaud-Meyer Shank Racing


Josef Newgarden-Tower Motorsports

Scott McLaughlin- Tower Motorsports

Kyffin Simpson-Tower Motorsports

Christian rasmussen-ERA Motorsport

Devlin DeFrancesco-Rick ware Racing

Rinus veekay- TDS Racing


Romain Grosjean- Iron Lynx


Kyle Kirkwood- Vasser Sullivan

Will Power- Sun Energy1

Helio and Mike- A New Winning Combination- Quick Thoughts on the Rolex 24

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.

Acuras 1-2 After 17 Hours

The yellow sky of sunrise reflects the course of the race, currently under its 15th caution. The number 60 Acura of Meyer Shank Racing leads the number 10 Acura of Wayne Taylor Racing. Tom Blomqvist and Ricky Taylor are the respective drivers.

Both Cadillacs of Chip Ganassi Racing are out of contention. Just before midnight the 01 went behind the wall. It is back on track but running 37th overall, 22 laps behind. The 02 had a fuel pump issue just about 30 minutes ago and is currently in the garage.

Indycar drivers are having a mixed day. Simon Pagenaud and Helio Castroneves drive for the leading Acura, and Alexander Rossi got his first stint in the second place 10 just before midnight.

The LMP2 team for which Rinus VeeKay drives is currently running second in class. The Dragonspeed entry with Indycar stars Pato O’Ward, Colton Herta, and rookie Devlin DeFrancesco is currently third.

The Andretti Autosport LMP3 entry is currently fourth in class, one lap down. Former Indycar driver Gabby Chaves is in the car at the moment.

The cold nighttime hours have produced lots of spinning cars, as expected. The current Daytona temperature is 34degrees F.

I will probably not have another up date until this evening. Thanks for following along this weekend. I have a feeling the ending is going to be wild.

Nearing Hour Eight: Cadillac Dominating

Cadillacs have looked strong in DPi through the first eight hours of the Rolex 24, taking the lead after lap 1. The race has been a tug of war between the cars from Chip Ganassi Racing and JDC-Miller’s number 48.

The 48 started with Kamui Kobayashui driving. He took the lead around lap 10 and and extended his advantage throughout the first stint. The Ganassi cars then took over, losing the lead only on pit stops. The 01 seems to be the better of the Ganassi cars right now.

Pole sitter Ricky Taylor fell back early and is now two laps behind. The only other Acura, from Meyer Shank Racing, is currently fourth with Simon Pagenaud behind the wheel.

There have been four caution periods, and three cars are out of the race.

Standings after right hours:


Joao Barbosa said after his first stint that the tires are taking three laps to get warm after a pit stop. The temperature at the time was 46 degrees. It is now 40⁰.

The Bus stop has been renamed the Le Mans Chicane in a gesture of the new cooperative prototype formula which begins next year.

Wickens Podium Photo

Didnt get a chance to publish this yesterday. This may be the highlight of the weekend.

Race Day- Chily Day, Cold Night Ahead

The 60th running of the Rolex 24 starts at 1:40 pm EST today. The temperature at the start will be in the mid 40’s and by the midpoint of the race the mercury will read low 30’s. By the end of the race temperatures will rise to the low 50’s.

How teams and drivers handle the tires after pit stops could be key to winning the event. I’m not sure if Michelin has a temperature threshold like Indycar has. Could we see a red flag due to the cold? My predictions follow.

Going into yesterday, I would have put Wayne Taylor Racing as the favorite for its fourth straight win here, but the dominance of the Cadillacs in Friday’s final practice makes me wonder if one of the Ganassi cars has an edge.

Watch for the Dragonspeed car number 81 in LMP2. The car has an Indycar all star squad of Colton Herta, Pato O’Ward, and Devlin DeFrancesco. O’Ward had the fastest overall .lap in a Thursday practice session.

Andretti Autosport is my pick in LMP3. They dominated the qualifying race last Sunday. This class could be prone to a lot of attrition.

GTD Pro will go to the 63 Lamborghini. It is by far the class of this field. One of the Weather Tech Porsches should be the GTD champion. My pick is the 79.

Today’;s schedule and television times:

At the track:

10:30 AM – 11:15 AM IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Autograph Session – UNOH Fanzone

12:00 PM Crossover Gates Open for Pre-Race Access

12:00 PM Grid Opens for Fan Access to Pre-Race Ceremonies

1:15 PM – 1:40 PM Rolex 24 At DAYTONA Pre-Race Ceremonies

1:40 PM Start of the Rolex 24 Hours

I will report on the race progress when possible. If you are at the track, stay safe and warm.

Bourdais Leads Final Practice; Wickens Shines in Return

UPDATE: Mark Wilkins took over for To dry Wickens and finished third in the TCR class. Wickens gets a podium in his first race back.

Sebastien Bourdais led a Cadillac parade in the 01 for Chip Ganassi Racing with the fastest lap in this morning’s final practice. The session was run under cool, cloudy conditions and there was a brief light rain shower. The Cadillacs were ahead of the Acuras, the reverse of how practice has gone to date.

In LMP2 Phil Hanson led the way in the number 22 United Autosport Oreca. Rasmus Lindh was fastest in LMP3 in the Andretti Autosport number 36.

Mirko Bortolotti kept the number 63 Lamborghini (bottom photo) at the top of GTD Pro, and the 79 Porsche (top) driven by Julien Andlauer had the fastest GT. time.

Wickens Competitive in Return Race

Robert Wickens drove in his first competition since his accident at Pocono in 2018 in the BMW M Challenge for the Michelin Pilot Series. Wickens started seventh in the Hyundai Elantra, and moved fourth place early in the first hour of the four hour event. He ran as high as third. Near the end of his stint he had a spirited battle with a Bryan Herta Autosport teammate. Wickens drove for just a bit more than two hours. He showed that the talent which made him a star in Indycar is still there. This will be a fun series tom watch this year.

Wickens heads to turn four during the Michelin Pilot Challenge Race.