A long stretch of green flag racing — dating back to the last six hours of the 2018 finale — came to an end for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship at the one-hour, 37-minute mark of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The green flag waved at 1h55m with Dane Cameron — who took over for Juan Pablo Montoya in the No. 6 Acura during the caution — leading the field at the restart. He held the lead at the end of the second hour, too, followed by No. 31 Acura of Eric Curran and No. 77 Mazda of Rene Rast.
Other class leaders were LMP2, No. 81 of James Allen; GTLM, No. 66 Ford of Joey Hand; GTD, No. 11 Lamborghini of Rik Breukers.
Prior to the caution, great racing at the front saw the No. 77 Mazda of Oliver Jarvis pass Montoya’s Acura for the lead at 1h23m. Two laps later, Montoya returned the favor, driving around the Mazda on the banking. Behind the pair, Filipe Albuquerque crept into the battle, splitting the No. 96 BMW of Dillon Machavern in the infield to get by Jarvis and take second, moments before the caution.
“Montoya was next, but he was saved by the safety car,” Albuquerque joked.
“The way the weather looks, we’re just trying to make it to the rain, and see what happens,” Montoya said.
The first caution waved when the engine of the No. 99 NGT Motorsport Porsche exploded entering Turn 1, leading to several minor spins in the oil. This was followed by full-scale pit stops.
Early in the hour, No. 7 Ricky Taylor had a bad break in traffic heading to the International Horseshoe, getting held up and freight-trained from second to fifth.
After his stint, Taylor expressed concern with tire buildup. “We have a limited number of tear-offs (13), and we’ve already used one of them,” he noted.