Saturday, November 18, 2017
Sports

Allmendinger lasts longest in 24-hour classic

RECOMMENDED READING


DAYTONA BEACH — The little team with no pedigree knocked off the big boys with all those championships in the Rolex 24.

NASCAR driver AJ Allmen­dinger closed out the race for Michael Shank Racing by driving the No. 60 Ford Riley for a nearly three-hour drive Sunday at Daytona International Speedway.

Allmendinger's first win in a major series in almost six years came about a month after he landed the job of a lifetime with Roger Penske's NASCAR Sprint Cup team.

"I feel very fortunate," Allmendinger said. "This is one of the reasons why I love this race, because it really kicks off SpeedWeeks. … It's amazing. I'm going to cherish this."

He teamed with IndyCar driver Justin Wilson, who had a strong performance in his own three-hour drive in his return from a six-month layoff because of a broken bone in his back.

"Hopefully this is the start of a good season," said Wilson, who is rejoining IndyCar's Dale Coyne team for 2012. "We just have to work it out."

The two paired with Grand-Am regulars Ozz Negri Jr. and John Pew to give Shank's team its first win in nine tries at the twice-around-the-clock classic.

"I am just grateful," he said of taking the event's 50th running.

Ryan Dalziel spent the last hour trying to chase down Allmendinger in his Starworks Motorsports Ford but wound up second, 5.198 seconds back — a remarkably close finish for an endurance race.

The top three cars completed 761 laps, or 2,709 miles.

The two vaunted teams from Chip Ganassi Racing had mechanical issues. The team's "star car" — featuring IndyCar champions Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti and NASCAR's Juan Montoya and Jamie McMurray — was a lap down in fourth.

Andy Lally, the 2011 Sprint Cup rookie of the year, marked his return to sports cars by winning the Grand Touring class for Magnus Racing. He, John Potter, Richard Lietz and Rene Rast ran 727 laps in a Porsche GT3.

Charles Espenlaub of Lutz, on the same No. 40 Mazda team as actor Patrick Dempsey, finished 21st overall, 10th in the GT class. Patrick Long of Belleair was part of a Porsche GT team that finished 26th.

NOTABLE: IndyCar's Marco Andretti, driving a Ford/Riley DP, was treated for dehydration after his final stint. … Brian Johnson, the longtime lead singer for rock band AC/DC who now resides in Sarasota, made his race debut. His team's BMW/Riley DP completed 672 laps.

Comments

Region football: Clearwater Central Catholic 37, Calvary Christian 10

CLEARWATER — The ice bath ensued for Clearwater Central Catholic coach Chris Harvey after the Marauders’ 37-10 victory over Calvary Christian in Friday’s Class 3A region final. The win placed the Marauders (11-0) in their fifth state tournament since...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

Region football: Plant 22, Viera 18

MELBOURNE — With 1 yard separating Plant from an incredible come-from-behind victory, or a devastating defeat, it all came down to a matter of trust.And for Panthers coach Robert Weiner, there was no one he would put more faith in to get that 1 yard ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

Region football: Armwood 22, Hillsborough 0

SEFFNER — Hillsborough conquered one nemesis with last week’s win over Class 6A defending state finalist Lake Gibson, the team that knocked the Terriers out of the playoffs in the first round a year ago.But there was an even bigger stumbling block to...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Region football: Ocala Vanguard 35, Mitchell 31

NEW PORT RICHEY — The start wasn’t quite befitting of a playoff game between undefeated teams, but the end of Friday’s war between Ocala Vanguard and Mitchell certainly was.Like last year’s Class 6A regional semifinal, the Mustangs held a three-point...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

Region football: Green Cove Springs Clay 52, Zephyrhills 49

ZEPHYRHILLS — For Zephyrhills, Friday night’s Class 5A region semifinal against Green Cove Springs Clay was doomed by 12 bad minutes. The Bulldogs led by four points at halftime but allowed 28 unanswered points in the third quarter and were not able ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

Region football: Lakewood 20, Jesuit 7

ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood came into Friday’s playoff game knowing its defense had to help control field position against Jesuit. The Spartans (9-1) left Friday’s game with a ticket to Immokalee for a region final — and six Tigers (6-5) turnovers en r...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Region football: Tampa Bay Tech 42, Palmetto 26

TAMPA — Another Friday night, another offensive explosion.Tampa Bay Tech’s offense continued its torrid pace and quarterback Michael Penix Jr. accounted for five total touchdowns as the Titans rolled past Palmetto 42-26 in a Class 7A, Region 3 semifi...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Region football: Cambridge Christian 50, Indian Rocks Christian 14

TAMPA — The Cambridge Christian offense was clicking, and quarterback Jaylin Jackson couldn’t seem to be stopped. Still, as the second quarter clock dwindled, Indian Rocks Christian was hanging around.So with just more than a minute left in the half,...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Region football: Naples 24, Largo 0

NAPLES — In a game between two teams that had never met with a lot on the line, the Naples defense came up with one of its best efforts against Largo on Friday night.The Golden Eagles limited the Packers to 117 yards of offense in a 24-0 triumph in t...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Region football: Lakeland 52, Wiregrass Ranch 0

LAKELAND — It has been a historic season for the Wiregrass Ranch Bulls football team, which made consecutive playoff appearances for the first time, won its most games ever and experienced its first playoff victory.If this were a movie, the final sce...
Updated: 7 hours ago