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|Victory for Brumos and Porsche|
|Written by Debi Lander|
|Tuesday, 27 January 2009 13:16|
The Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona ended with the most exciting finish ever in endurance Grand-Am racing. At least that's what fans are claiming. Pole-sitter in Porsche #58, David Donohue, passed NASCAR star Juan Pablo Montoya with about forty minutes remaining, after battling him lap after lap, side-by-side, and nose-to-tail. He held the lead and won by a mere 0.167 second, the closest margin of victory in event history.
To put that into perspective, the previous record for closest finish was 30 seconds. Many times the first place car leads by over a lap. Some years ago, Hurley Haywood, a five-time Daytona winning veteran, said he won the race by 75 miles.
But in 2009, the top four cars finished less than 20 seconds apart, with Haywood's and Brumos number 59 Porsche finishing third. And, the Brumos #58 win put a stop to the Ganassi Racing's bid for a fourth consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona victory.
I asked driver Haywood why this race was so competitive and he claimed the strictly-enforced race rules were the reason. That and the top cars needing only routine stops for gas, tires, oil, water and brakes. Their engines ran flawlessly.
Of course, an endurance event requires four racers to split the driving. Other first-place team members included Darren Law, Buddy Rice--a 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner, and Antonio Garcia. Each of them received a Rolex watch. Nice touch!
I loved the quote by Donahue, published in the Monday edition of the Florida Times-Union, concerning his team: "We came ready to run hard. The point of running hard all the time was to win the stupid race. We ran our tails off the entire time."
And here's another great reason to like this guy. His triumph came on the 40th anniversary of his late father's victory. He joined father-son winners Al Unser and Al Unser, Jr and John Paul and John Paul, Jr.
Hooray for the hometown team. Actually, I live in Jacksonville, Florida and Brumos Porsche is the local dealer. The successful cars returned here for display through Saturday. "It's like we won the Super Bowl," said salesman Bill Bianco. "The place has been buzzing with excitement."
I felt like I was living in the fast lane myself, photographing the cars with all their dents, bangs, bugs and confetti. Hundreds of trophies and medals line the showroom walls, a real heritage of racing fame. And now Brumos is back on top. Bravo.
Be sure to check out the high-resolution photos of the Brumos Porsches in the Automotive Traveler image gallery.