IMSA Race Report - Rolex 24 at Daytona
January 26, 2020
Track: Daytona International Speedway
Race: Rolex 24 at Daytona
Date: January 25-26, 2020
No. 6 Acura ARX-05 DPi – Dane Cameron/Juan Pablo Montoya/Simon Pagenaud
Overall Finish: 4th
Class Finish: 4th
Laps Completed: 828/833
- Juan Pablo Montoya qualified the No. 6 Acura ARX-05 Prototype in the second starting position for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, giving the defending IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Champions a shot to score the team’s first win in the iconic event since 1969.
- A strong start by Montoya kept the No. 6 Acura inside the top three until he turned the driving duties over to Dane Cameron, who promptly raced his way into the lead just under four hours into the race.
- Simon Pagenaud was next behind the wheel as the sun started to fade and the track began to cool. He too was able to keep the Acura at the front of the field during his first stint.
- Unfortunately, the cooler conditions did not suit the setup on the No. 6 and the ride quality began to deteriorate, exacerbated by contact between Montoya and another competitor that damaged the right front body work and suspension.
- During the overnight hours the trio of drivers had their hands full with the handling condition of the Acura, while also losing three laps due to a brake change under green flag conditions.
- When the sun rose on Sunday morning it improved the handling and all three drivers were able to help move the No. 6 team up the scoring pylon, eventually finishing in the fourth position.
- The No. 6 team sits fourth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, seven points out of the lead and fifth in the Michelin Endurance Cup standings, seven points behind the leaders. The next endurance race is March 21 at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway.
"We had a really tough 24 hours for the No. 6 team. Started off well the first couple of stints and a little bit of contact during the night damaged the car, which caused it to start bottoming out like everyone saw. We just struggled with some inconsistencies during the night. We still ended up fourth, which was quite a bit better than where we ended up last year. That’s a decent points day and we know we can win the championship from an early-season hole. Everyone at Acura Team Penske made a big effort for this race and they deserve to get one of them. Hopefully we can deliver on that next year." – Dane Cameron
No. 7 Acura ARX-05 DPi – Helio Castroneves/Ricky Taylor/Alexander Rossi
Overall Finish: 8th
Class Finish: 8th
Laps Completed: 811/833
- Utilizing an all-star lineup of Helio Castroneves, Ricky Taylor and Alexander Rossi for the second year in a row, the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 started the weekend off inauspiciously as Taylor had an incident in the "bus stop" chicane on his qualifying lap that relegated the team to an 8th-place starting position for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
- Taylor, the 2017 winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, quickly moved into the top five following the first pit cycle of the day before Helio Castroneves took his turn in the No. 7 Acura. He would be the recipient of some of the worst luck of any driver in the race.
- With just over 20 hours left in the 24-hour endurance race, Castroneves was contacted from behind by the No. 55 Mazda entry while entering the "bus stop" chicane, sending him around and into the tire barrier.
- After spending 37 minutes in the garage for repairs, Castroneves returned to the track in the 38th position overall. The No. 7 Acura was able to turn quick lap times and began to move up the scoring chart with each passing hour.
- Caution flags could have helped the No. 7 team get some of their laps back, but those were few and far between on a day that saw the record number of completed laps for the Rolex 24.
- All three drivers were able to keep pace with the leaders and eventually got back into the top 10 overall, but ultimately finished 22 laps down to the race winners.
- The trio is eighth in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship standings, 12 markers out of the lead and is tied for sixth in the Michelin Endurance Cup standings, 11 points behind the leaders with the next event coming March 21 at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway.
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"It was a long day and a very long weekend. We had drama from the very beginning, but I think the drama just showed the fight in the Acura Team Penske guys. It really gives us confidence going into the rest of the season that no matter what we face the guys will bring us out of it. As a driver that is great for your confidence. The No. 7 Acura was so fast today, and that is what seems to always happen. When you are out of contention you have the car of your life. That is encouraging though, and hopefully we can come back here next year and finish it off." – Ricky Taylor
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