The Preferred Line - Grand-Am GT Tuesday
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Rolex Grand-Am GT Tuesday - Rolex 24 - Hour 21 and 22 Report (January 25th, 2009) By Jim Bourn

Rolex-24 Hour - Hour 21-22 Report

The 2009 Rolex 24-Hour race is heading down the home stretch with 22 hours in the record books as the #67 and #66 TRG Porsches sailed along at the front a full six laps ahead of the #33 Wright Motorsports Porsche in 3rd and the #57 Stevenson Pontiac and the Banner Racing Pontiac in 4th and 5th.

"The race is going good," said Spencer Pumpelly who shares the #67 AXA/Mitchell Rubber/Wealth Management Porsche with Ballou, George, Collard and Lietz. "The top three cars have been swapping the lead depending on when the yellows come out and when the pit stops happen. The car has gotten better since my first stint. We are looking good so far."

"The car is really solid," said Patrick Long driver of the #67 Construct Corp/CRG/No Fear Porsche. "Butch Hylton brought over some of his NASCAR strategy which has been to work on the car for the first half of the race getting it ready for the run to the finish. We were leading when the sun came up."

The trio of Porsches to which Pumpelly referred also included the #86 Farnbacher Loles Porsche that came to grief earlier in the morning and dropped from contention with a broken axle.

During hour 21 the Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R which had just taken over the 3rd position after the problem suffered by the #86 Porsche dropped back to 5th due to a mechanical issue with the exhaust system. The muffler on the right side of the car split apart and broke in half.

When Paul Edwards took over the #07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R he noticed something seriously wrong with the pitch of the usually strong Pontiac V8.

When I got in the car and drove out of the pits it sounded like I was in a tunnel as soon as I went out, said Paul Edwards. I was losing 1.4 seconds down the pit straight here and another second down the back straight and here wasn't much I could do. Something fell off (part of the muffler) and I ran over it in the banking and I came in to the pits. But when I went back out it was 100 times worse.

The Banner Racing team took their Pontiac to the garage and replaced the exhaust system. Between the extra pit stop and the garage time they lost more laps to the leaders and fell to 5th position.

The muffled had broken in half and was heating up the rear body work and a rear tire almost to the point of combustion. After the repairs Edwards returned to the track and was able to maintain a competitive pace although Edwards commented that the car seemed to have lost a bit of power.
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