|Marco Andretti treated for dehydration at Daytona|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 29 January 2012 09:01|
Andretti was a last-minute addition to the Starworks Motorsport team, and agreed to run in the twice-around-the-clock endurance race even though he was in the middle of a two-day IndyCar test session. He finished at Palm Beach International Raceway on Saturday afternoon, then hustled to Daytona to make his debut in the prestigious sports car event.
``Do they make a 40 hour energy drink?'' he posted Saturday on his Twitter page. ``Going to be a long couple days but there is no better place to be than the cockpit.''
Once on site at Daytona International Speedway, Andretti had to be approved by Grand-Am officials to run the race and receive an official license. Later posts on Twitter from Andretti said his first stint was ``daunting,'' indicated he was cramping and headed to the infield care center for an IV for the dehydration.
He also posted a picture of him laying on a gurney with an IV hooked to his arm.
Andretti's grandfather, Mario, won the 24-hour race in 1972. His uncle John was a part of the 1989 winning team, and his father, Michael, also competed in the event.
Marco Andretti seemed to be enjoying his time during one of his middle-of-the-night stints.
``I've never driven one of these cars,'' he said after a stint. ``It's a great experience. This is what we live for. It's awesome.''
Once he felt better, Andretti was on a plane back to Indianapolis to shoot Super Bowl promotional materials at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
The Michael Shank Racing entry was out front as the race closed in on three hours remaining.
Ozz Negri passed defending race winner Scott Pruett on a restart, and Allan McNish later got past Pruett to put Starworks Motorsport in second.
Graham Rahal replaced Pruett in the car, and was holding onto third for the Chip Ganassi Racing team.
Joey Hand had put the No. 01 BMW Riley out front for Ganassi when MSR had an extended pit stop with about six hours remaining. IndyCar driver Justin Wilson had opened up a nearly full lap lead over the Ganassi team during an impressive four stint stretch - in his first race since breaking a bone in his back six months ago in an IndyCar race - but MSR appeared to change its brakes when Wilson came in for the driver change.
Hand then moved out front before he was replaced by defending Grand-Am champion Pruett. The team is made up of Grand-Am champions Pruett and Memo Rojas, Hand and IndyCar driver Rahal.
The team won last year's race, but appeared to be at a horsepower disadvantage this season to the Fords and Chevrolets. The two cars ahead Sunday were both Fords.
``We're definitely pushing for sure. We don't have quite the straightline speed that those other guys have,'' Hand said. ``But we still have a shot at this thing.''
The second Ganassi entry was four laps off the pace with NASCAR driver Juan Pablo Montoya behind the wheel. The car was strong during the night but went six laps down when the shifter broke while IndyCar's Scott Dixon was driving.
That entry is somewhat of the ``star car'' with NASCAR drivers Montoya and Jamie McMurray, and IndyCar champions Dixon and Dario Franchitti. That group finished second to its Ganassi teammates last season.
Only two Daytona Prototypes were on the lead lap, and the championship-contending SunTrust Racing was knocked out of the race during the first hour on Saturday.
Max Angelelli took the No. 10 Chevrolet to the garage with an engine issue 25 minutes into the race. The team sent the car back out after a few minutes, but moments later Angelelli was back in the garage for good in the 50th running of the prestigious sports car event.
``We've never had an engine problem in all the time we've run the Chevrolet engine program, so this is the first time,'' team owner Wayne Taylor said. ``There was truly nothing we were worried about. In fact, this is probably the one 24 Hour I think we all felt - the only thing we were worried about was traffic, and we didn't have any issues. Really caught us by surprise.''
The engines are made by NASCAR's Earnhardt Childress Racing organization. Taylor said the problem was in the valve train, and was ``catastrophic.''
Angelelli and Wayne Taylor won the Grand-Am championship in 2005, and have finished second in the standings the last two seasons to Pruett and Rojas. The SunTrust team also won the 24-hour race in 2005.
X-Games star Travis Pastrana made his debut in this race with the AF Waltrip team. He's driving with Michael Waltrip Racing owners Waltrip and Rob Kauffman, and Rui Aguas in a Ferrari in the Grand Touring class.
He called driving the Ferrari something that should be on everyone's ``bucket list'' and said he was thrilled to have been added to the team last month.
``Most of the experience that I have is actually in the four-wheel-drive cars,'' said Pastrana, who will race a limited schedule for Waltrip this season in the second-tier Nationwide Series.
``So getting the opportunity to come out here in rear-wheel-drive car I think is very helpful, especially for when NASCAR hits the road courses.''