by Gary Becker
The Spirit of Daytona swept over the Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama when Antonio Garcia and Richard Westbrook cruised to victory in the Porsche 250 in their No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP. For the Spirit of Daytona team it was a first victory in the Daytona Prototype class.
Starting from the pole position, Westbrook jumped into the lead when the green flag fell followed by Jon Forgarty in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP. Westbrook began to pull away and the Spirit of Daytona team never looked backed cruising to victory lane.
It was a long day for the No. 01 TELMEX/Target BMW/Riley of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. Rojas was penalized a stop and go penalty for bumping into a GT car forcing the GT car off the course. The GT car was able to continue and did not lose a position due to the incident. Race officials ruled the Rojas was over aggressive and issued the penalty.
Pruett drove the last part of the race and after a daring pit stop for fresh tires with ten minutes to go during a late full course yellow was able to battle back up to a third place finish behind the second place finishing Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty and their No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP.
The most controversial incident of the day came with an hour and 45 minutes to go when Max Angelelli in the No. 10 SunTrust Corvette DP made contact with and sent Darren Law in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP off course and into the restraining wall. Law was forced to the pits for lengthy repairs. Replays of the incident clearly show the Angelelli failed to give Law enough room coming out of turn forcing Law onto the grass and into the wall. Angelelli was penalized for the incident and had to perform a stop and go penalty.
Rolex 24 At Daytona winners Ozz Negri and John Pew lost several laps after Negri took to the grass and suffered front end damage trying to avoid a spinning GT car. They went on to finish eighth.
In GT the team of Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito in No. 70 SpeedSource Mazdaspeed Mazda RX-8 ran a brilliant race putting themselves in the late stages of the race and easily kept the point to the green flag.
Behind the Tremblay and Bomarito the best racing of the day was taking place between Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato, in the No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am, Leh Keen and Andrew Davis, in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche GT3 and the No. 44 Porsche GT3 of Andy Lally/John Potter. All three cars were within seconds of each other the last half hour of the race. Segal charged through the field and was able to pass Keen late in the race to secure second place.