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Stewart aiming for first Daytona 24-hour win

Stewart aiming for first Daytona 24-hour win

Tony Stewart has twice come close to winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona and knows that the 24-hour sports car endurance race leaves little room for error.
"It can be brutal," Stewart said minutes before Saturday's start. "It can just eat you up. We came within 17 1/2 minutes of winning this thing a couple of years ago and it just blew up on us. There are just so many things that can go wrong in 24 hours, you just have to drive the car and put everything else out of your mind."
Stewart, co-driving a Pontiac Crawford _one of 28 Daytona Prototypes at the front of the star-studded 70-car field _ with road racing stars Andy Wallace and Butch Leitzinger, was among the favorites when the grueling race got under way beneath a mostly sunny sky with temperatures in the low 70s.
Fellow NASCAR stars Jimmie Johnson, the reigning Nextel Cup champion, four-time champion Jeff Gordon and stock car newcomer Juan Pablo Montoya were also on teams expected to have a shot at winning the title.
Johnson was co-driving a Pontiac Riley with former Indy-car driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, Jim Matthews and Marc Goossens of Belgium, while Gordon shared the cockpit of another Pontiac Riley with road racing icons Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli of Monaco and Jan Magnusssen of Denmark.
Montoya, a former Formula One star making his first endurance start in more than 10 years, joined defending Rolex Series champion Scott Pruett and young Mexican star Salvador Duran in one of Chip Ganassi's Lexus Riley entries.
Angelelli grabbed the lead in the early going, ahead of Goossens, while most of the other prototypes remained close behind on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road course.
Alex Gurney, who started from the pole in a Pontiac Riley, slammed into one of the slower GT3 Class cars just 10 minutes into the race. The son of longtime racing star Dan Gurney was able to limp back to the pits with his damaged car, hoping to repair it and continue.


Updated : 2021-02-26 08:37 GMT+08:00