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Gordon Gets Acquainted with Racing in the Rain in Rolex 24 At Daytona
Posted by: ASkyler on Jan 29, 2017 - 07:58 AM
Feature Articles
Gordon Gets Acquainted with Racing in the Rain in Rolex 24 At Daytona

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Steven Cole Smith, IMSA Wire Service

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - It was just what Jeff Gordon wasnít looking forward to - a stint behind the wheel of the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R in the dark, in the rain, and in first place.

Well, briefly. The four-time NASCAR champion was remembering his first Rolex 24 At Daytona, in 2007, when he drove at night in the rain. Actually, "it was a monsoon," Gordon said. "It was a horrendous experience."

At least this isnít a monsoon, but after dodging light showers for two hours, the Daytona International Speedway ran out of luck and the rain hit just after 8 p.m., and according to the radar, the rain is likely to persist until the wee hours.

Gordon climbed into the car during a pit stop, and restarted in first place, but - probably wisely - he quickly let the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac driven by Filipe Albuqerque get by, and he followed in the damp tracks of the Portuguese ace, until Albuqerque found his rhythm and began pulling away.

The new Cadillac DPi cars have dominated the Prototype class in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship since the green flag fell at 2:30 p.m. The Nos. 5 and 31 both led for lengthy periods, as did the No. 10 that Gordon is driving. But mechanical problems after a light collision struck the No. 31, and repairs dropped the car back six laps.

At the eight-hour mark, Gordon was back in the lead after the No. 5 pit for a driver change. A minute and 18 seconds behind Gordon is the No. 22 Tequila Patron Nissan DPi driven by Bruno Senna. The No. 5 was in third with polesitter Joao Barbosa behind the wheel.

In Prototype Challenge, the No. 38 Performance Tech car was leading. In GT Le Mans, Toni Vilander had the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE out front, leading the No. 19 Team RLL BMW M6 GTLM car, followed by the No. 3 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R. The first seven GTLM cars are on the same lap, so itís too close to call.

In GT Daytona, Colin Braun was in the lead in the No. 54 CORE Autosport Porsche 911 GT3 R, impressive since this is the teamís first race in GT Daytona, having previously fielded a Prototype Challenge team. Heís followed by IndyCar regular Graham Rahal in another new car - the No. 93 Acura NSX GT3, one of a two-car team owned by Michael Shank Racing, which ran in the Prototype class for years.

Just past the eight-hour mark, the seventh caution flag of the race flew for a minor accident involving a GT Daytona car, so pit stops will shuffle the field.

IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, driving one of the four Chip Ganassi Ford GTs in the GTLM class, said the conditions were "tricky. Itís hard to read the track, but so far so good. We just want to keep the car in one piece."

Jordon Taylor, sharing the No. 10 car with Gordon, echoed what Dixon said. "Weíre just trying to stay out of trouble, kind of taking it easy."

Well, maybe: Gordon brought the No. 10 into the pits leading the race, just like he started his shift.

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