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Jan 27, 2014 - 06:53 PM
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Rolex 24 Notebook: Former NASCAR driver takes sports car class win at Rolex 24
Posted by: ASkyler on Jan 27, 2014 - 06:49 PM
Feature Articles
Rolex 24 Notebook: Former NASCAR driver takes sports car class win at Rolex 24


NASCAR Wire Service, Staff Report

Former NASCAR national series competitor Colin Braun led his CORE Autosport team to victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona's Prototype Challenge class, after starting the No. 54 ORECA FLM09 on the pole. The car - with Braun, Jon Bennett, James Gue and Mark Wilkins the drivers - finished ninth overall.

Braun has 84 NASCAR starts, 31 in the NASCAR Nationwide Series and 53 in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, with one victory, in the truck series at Michigan International Speedway in 2009. Braun was the truck series' 2009 Sunoco Rookie of the Year.

He also has one previous Daytona victory - a 2006 overall win in the old summertime sports car race, the Brumos Sports Car 250.

 

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The CORE car was dominant in PC - a spec prototype class - from the moment it hit the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course.

"I think it really all comes down to our preparation over the winter," Braun said. "Then we got here and just executed our plan. Quickest in both practices ... qualifying on the pole ... leading the most laps in the race. It's nice when a race goes that way. Just a perfect race for us. And it's really cool to win at Daytona, which is obviously a special place."

RECORD-BREAKING ON HOLD FOR PRUETT

Scott Pruett and his teammates started the Rolex 24 At Daytona as the favorites.

They ended it as the 43rd-place finishers overall and 11th in the headlining Prototype class after retiring with 90 minutes remaining in the 24-hour endurance classic.

What happened? A lot of stuff.

An early-race pit-road miscue.

A night-time accident in the chicane.

Race-long, steadily worsening engine problems.

It all combined to ruin Pruett's chance of becoming the all-time leader in Rolex 24 victories. Last year he tied Hurley Haywood's record of five victories.

It was an uncharacteristic finish for the top Chip Ganassi-owned entry, the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost/Riley, and it featured some uncharacteristic experiences for Pruett.

On Saturday, approximately 90 minutes into the event, he left the pits too early, taking a hose along for the several-yard ride and clipped a crewman in the process. That resulted in a crippling stop-plus-20-second penalty that put the No. 01 a lap down. Early Sunday morning, he crashed in the chicane.

Pruett was part of an all-star driving lineup assembled by Ganassi. In the No. 01 he was joined by longtime sports car co-driver Memo Rojas, former Daytona 500 champion Jamie McMurray and reigning Indy Lights champion Sage Karam. The No. 02 car was co-driven by reigning IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon, reigning Indianapolis 500 champion Tony Kanaan, former American Le Mans Series great Marino Franchitti and NASCAR Sprint Cup Series rookie Kyle Larson.

The footnote to Pruett's story: the No. 02 went behind the wall during the race's final hour, and ended 15th overall, eighth in the Prototype class.

Said Pruett, "So it's on to 2015, right?"

WORTH NOTING

Former NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Director Gary Nelson is the team manager for the Rolex 24-winning team, Action Express Racing. ... The inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season continues on March 15 with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. ... The No. 27 Porsche 911 co-driven by actor Patrick Dempsey finished 50th overall and 24th in the GT Daytona class.


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