This year celebrated the 50th year of the first running of the 24 Hours of Daytona. I remember watching TV and seeing Dan Gurney sitting at the start-finish line with just minutes to go on that first running. Gurney blew an engine near the end of the race. He had over a 2 minute lead on second place. As the clock wound down (it is a timed race and not a distance race) he sat patiently in his car. When the flagman pulled out the checkered flag Gurney pushed in the clutch turned the wheel downhill and coasted over the start finish line winning the first race! That race ran for only 3 hours.
The 2012 race went the full 24 hours and was a terrific event. It was our first attendance at a 24 hour event but I am sure we will return very soon if not next year. It was recorded breaking attendance with nearly 80,000 fans on the infield and almost all of them camping in tents, trailers and motor homes. It was a very friendly environment and the racing was terrific. Katrina works for SunTrust Bank so it was a little disappointing to see the SunTrust Corvette break just after 30 minutes on the track. It was fast but some strange mechanical gremlin took it out.
We were very excited to see the new Ford powered teams do so well and take the overall win. Porsches dominated the GT class.
If you ever have the opportunity to attend a race in Daytona do it! We have now been to the 500, the 400 and the 24 Hour and have never been disappointed.
Here are some photos of the action on the track. In Part 2 we will take you into the temporary museum where examples of winning cars from the first 50 years were on display. For many this may have been the highlight of the weekend.