There is no doubt he can drive and go fast. The third checkered flag for Montoya and Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is certainly a show of driving force. The 01 Telmex BMW-Riley Daytona Prototype held strong throughout the Grand-Am/ROLEX 24 to take the win.
It wasn’t just the efforts of Juan Pablo Montoya, behind the wheel for the checkered flag, as the 01 regular drivers Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett along with IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball kept the car on or near the point. The team in the garage kept the car smooth in and out of the pits even as the other Ganassi team suffered through issues that eventually removed the 02 from the field.
There was a strong field to contend with. Dario Franchitti and Ryan Hunter-Reay were challenging from IndyCar. Marcos Ambrose, A.J. Allmendinger and Jamie McMurray were in the seats from NASCAR. Guest drivers from the hottest series were all their to sit in with Grand-Am regulars to get the American racing season started.
However, it was Ganassi and the 01 team with Montoya in for the final laps to take them to the win… again.
Juan Pablo Montoya races great in the lighter, powerful, ground gripping machines. He has wins in IndyCar, F1, Grand-Am and other series. He has noteably won on road courses in NASCAR but can’t seem to break through on the dominant, left turn only oval tracks of the premiere stock car series.
He runs well. He qualifies well. There is chatter that 2013 could be a year for the talents to all come together with a good NASCAR run. He certainly has winning momentum from the ROLEX 24 at the same track that will start the NASCAR season in just a few weeks.
The DP class at the ROLEX was rounded out with Velocity WorldWide in the #10 Corvette with Ryan Hunter-Reay, Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor in the second spot. Third on the podium was Michael Shank Racing and the Ford-Riley with Oswaldo Negri, Jr., John Pew, A.J. Allmendinger, Marcos Ambrose and Justin Wilson.
Any of these teams could have had the win as the final hours and minutes ticked away. It was Montoya who held out the challenge.
The GT class was also a tough run in the final hours with the final lap putting the #24 WeatherTech Audi under the flag. Second under was another Audi R8, the #52 of APR Motorsport. The #68 AIM/FXDD Ferrari took third on the podium.
The #16 Napleton Racing Porsche Cayman won the GX class and also started in the class pole position.
Grand-Am returns to racing for the first weekend of March at the now broken in Circuit of the Americas, the premiere Formula 1 circuit in the USA. The “special guest” drivers will be back in their own cars and their own series. We think the Grand-Am/ROLEX regulars will get along fine without them…
The 2013 ROLEX 24 Podiums:
DP 1st: Memo Rojas/Scott Pruett/Juan Pablo Montoya/Charlie Kimball, No.01 TELMEX BMW/Riley
DP 2nd: Max Angelelli/Jordan Taylor/Ryan Hunter-Reay, Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP
DP 3rd: John Pew/Ozz Negri/AJ Allmendinger/Justin Wilson/Marcos Ambrose, No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford/Riley
GT 1st: Filipe Albuquerque/Dion von Moltke/Oliver Jarvis/Edoardo Mortaro, No. 24 Alex Job Racing/Audi Customer Racing WeatherTech Audi R8
GT 2nd: Frank Stippler/Rene Rast/Marc Basseng/Ian Baas No. 52 Audi Sport Customer Racing/APR Motorsport Audi R8
GT 3rd: Emil Assentato/Nick Longhi/Anthony Lazzaro/Mark Wilkins, No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia
GX 1st: Shane Lewis/David Donohue/Jim Norman/Nelson Canache, No. 16 Napleton Racing/Calcium Pro/Visit Venezuela/Home Wrecking Racing Porsche Cayman
GX 2nd: Darryl O’Young/Dan Rogers/James Clay/Seth Thomas/Karl Thomson, Bullet Racing Porsche Cayman
GX 3rd: Lee Davis/Ryan Eversley/Jeff Mosing/Eric Foss/John Tecce, No. 38 BGB Motorsports/Luna-C Clothing/Mosing Motor Cars Porsche Cayman