Before the rain began....
For the third stint, once again it was the Group C and D cars out first.
After Cal Meeker’s number 29, 1987 Spice 5E87L, suffered brake problems in the second stint, it was a no-show for the third stint. That left the door wide open for the Mark Brannon/Ray Snowden, with Mark Brannon behind the wheel, in the 2001 Riley & Scott Mk III, which led early one until electrical gremlins side-lined the car.
This left Scooter Gabel in the number 1, 1997 BMW M3.R/E36 leading the race within Masters Endurance Legends, but with 12 minutes to go he dropped to third overall and finished there. “The car’s running great,” he said. “It always runs great.” As for driving race cars at 4 in the morning: Gabel, a veteran of multiple Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona races, said “It’s still cool. You’ve got to do it while you can.”
Next up was Group E, meaning David Porter and his number 7, 2010 Peugeot 908 HDI was the automatic favorite, and he delivered. On a track Scooter Gabel described as “a little dusty,” Porter dropped to second on the start but quickly made his way back to the lead, turning laps in the 1 minute, 38 second range, the fastest car in all the classes.
After problems with the car in the first two stints, leaving Ray Evernham to suggest he may park the car, Evernham was back out for the third stint in the number 2 Audi R8 LMS, running competitive lap times. Moments before the race ended, a torrential rain hit the track.
As the checkered flag flew, the electricity to the track infield was interrupted. Power was out for nearly two hours, and officials plan to resume racing about 7 a.m. ET. Therefore, instead of ending at 1 p.m., the Classic 24 will end at 3 p.m.
And they did drop the green flag at 7 a.m. sharp with the third stint for Group F. Among the Masters Endurance Legends competitors, the James Hagan/Tommy Byrne number 8, 2013 Oreca 03 LMP2, with Byrne behind the wheel, finished first overall in the race. John Reisman in the number 33, 2014 Coyote Corvette DP, finished just behind in third overall.
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