Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway in high gear today in the closing hours

VolusiaNews.net and NSBNEWS.net provide 24/7 online-media coverage for a 21st-century world

Photo courtesy of Grand-Am Road Racing / The 02 of Chip Ganassi Racing was chasing down the 01 sister car with less than two hours to go this afternoon in the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.

DAYTONA BEACH -- The 2011 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Cask No. 16 is winding down this afternoon with 01 BMW Riley of Chip Ganassi Racing out front with the sister 02 car right behind with two hours to go.

For the first time since 2004, the race was delayed for 2 hours and 47 minutes this morning because of thick fog over the track.

Here is a detailed update listing from earlier today by Grand-Am Road Racing:

Sunoco Challenge Winner on Sidelines (Updated Sunday at 7 a.m.)

Ross Kaiser was waiting behind the pits Sunday, hoping that the Doran team is able to repair the No. 77 Office Depot Ford/Riley to return to the race.

"It's a seriously tough race," said Kaiser, who won the coveted Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge by outpointing competitors in four major Sunoco-fueled British racing championships. "In my first stint, I ran wide at the chicane. These cars are not great in the grass and it dug in and it ripped the nose off, so they had to do some work. That lost us a load of laps. That's a shame. The guys did a great job. They fixed the car and got it back out on the track, and it was running good. I was getting some rest in the motor home, trying to get an hour of sleep, and they had a problem with the car. They fixed it and got it back out and had another problem with the suspension. The car is in the garage, and they're going to look at it this morning and try to get it back out."

Extended Fog Leads to Extended Caution Period (Updated Sunday at 6:55 a.m.)

Caution waved for the 16th time shortly before the end of the 14th hour Sunday morning near 5:30 a.m.

During what was expected to be a short yellow, fog settled in and the caution continued through the 15th hour. With the sun coming up near 7 a.m., GRAND-AM competition director Mark Raffauf explained that before going back to green, there will be a wave-by and the DP and GT fields will be split. During the caution, GRAND-AM switched pace cars so that the primary BMW could be refueled.

Broken Gear Sets Turner Motorsport Back (Updated Sunday at 6:30 a.m.)

Turner Motorsport set the early pace in the GT class at the Rolex 24 before falling out of contention.

"A tooth broke off a gear in the transaxle," said team owner Will Turner. "We went back and rebuilt it, and put the car back out there.

Long Leads First Laps at Daytona (Updated Sunday at 6:20 a.m.)

Tom Long took over Dempsey Racing's No. 40 Fresh From Florida Mazda RX-8 leading in GT, and kept the car in front throughout his stint before turning the car over to Charles Espenlaub - who also exited the pits running first in the class.

"It was fantastic to lead my first laps in the Rolex Series at Daytona," Long said. "The Dempsey organization has put together a great car. It's such a joy to be out there with these guys. It was getting slippery near the end with the dew settling in. I'm speechless - leading the Rolex 24 at Daytona. It's mind-blowing to think of the talent of drivers out there, the talent of the teams, and to think that we are competing for this thing. I just hope we're there at the end."

Long led his first Rolex Series laps last June in the Sahlen's Six Hours of Watkins Glen, when he ran with the No. 68 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8.

Henry Frederick Picture

Short Bio

Henry Frederick is publisher of Headline Surfer®, the award-winning 24/7 internet news outlet covering the Daytona Beach-Sanford-Orlando metro area via HeadlineSurfer.com for a decade now. A longtime cops & courts reporter focused on breaking news & investigative reporting, Frederick is among the Sunshine State's most prolific daily news reporters, having amassed dozens of journalism-industry awards in print anddigital platforms. Frederick is enrolled at Full Sail University in Winter Garden, FL, where he's three-fourths through the online Master of Arts program in New Media Journalism. His graduation is in August.