DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Porsche Penske Motorsport’s Felipe Nasr won the race off of pit road during the final caution with 43 minutes to go Sunday (Jan. 28). From there, Nasr was able to hold off Action Express Racing’s Tom Blomqvist to win the 62nd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona for himself and teammates Matt Campbell, Dane Cameron and Josef Newgarden.
The margin of victory was 2.112 seconds over Action Express Racing’s Blomqvist, Pipo Derani and Jack Aitken. Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Global’s Jenson Button, Louis Deletraz, Colton Herta and Jordan Taylor finished third, followed by the No. 6 Porsche of Kevin Estre, Mathieu Jaminet, Nick Tandy and Laurens Vanthoor. Proton Competition’s Gianmaria Bruni, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Alessio Picariello were fifth.
For much of the weekend, the Cadillacs were the talk of the town. They were fastest in all four practice sessions and were expected to dominate.
In practice, the early hours Saturday were like that. Derani started from pole and dominated early. The only team that could run with Action Express Racing was Chip Ganassi Racing. Once the sun set, the Porsches came to life.
Campbell was able to take the lead for the first time late in the sixth hour. From that point on, both Porsches were in contention. The No. 6 could have won the race had they not been penalized three times for exceeding the allowed power limits.
Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Global had struggled for much of the week, but had Filipe Albuquerque up to third when disaster struck just before 10 p.m. ET. The wiring harness shorted out, resulting in an entire wiring loom change. The team lost 75 laps doing that, then lost most ground with additional issues. They would ultimately finish ninth in class.
The Ganassi charge was effectively derailed when the No. 01 Cadillac was forced into running over debris that resulted in a flat tire. The unscheduled stop put the team a lap back.
Renger van der Zande still had plenty of speed and tried to get back into the hunt until the Cadillac died in the 14th hour. It could not be revived, ending the day.
Porsche more or less took over the race starting in the 18th hour with Campbell and Nasr assuming control. In the 22nd hour, Nasr had an 11-second lead over Blomqvist. With the help…