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SELLERS: What it’s Like to Win the Rolex 24

Bryan Sellers reflects on Paul Miller Racing’s Daytona victory in his latest Sportscar365 column…

Photo: Bob Chapman/Paul Miller Racing

The one question I keep getting asked is, ‘what are the emotions like after winning the 24?’

The real answer is just that there are no words to describe the emotions. It’s surreal. It’s amazing.

You try and put it into perspective and put it in a way that people can know how you feel and you just can’t. It’s been more than a week and I still haven’t found them yet.

For me, it was neat to have my family there. To have my wife there doing the interviews and being a part of our win, and to have my parents there, to have them be a part of it, it just takes those moments and makes them so much sweeter.

And then sharing it with these drivers. We’ve been talking a lot about the driver combination leading into this race and how well we got along and how much we enjoyed the whole week.

It’s so important not just to have continuity with drivers, but to have relationships with them. Andrea [Caldarelli] and I have done Daytona together for four years; Corey [Lewis] and I have done it twice and Madison [Snow] four times together, on top of our full seasons.

This is what we’ve all been waiting for over those years.

We’ve just been waiting and hoping that we could get all four of us together and when we did, the result was everything we dreamed of.

Photo: Bob Chapman/Paul Miller Racing

But, we didn’t get there alone. It wasn’t just us four that put the Total Lamborghini Huracán GT3 EVO in victory lane, it was a real team effort.

One of the things that often gets overlooked in a win like this a lot is how important the team behind you is in endurance racing.

Most of the time, the winning cars are the ones that spend the least amount of time on pit lane, and that was no exception for us. 

The Paul Miller Racing guys ran, really, a perfect race. They had great stops, never any blips on their end, absolutely no issues.

That for me is one of the coolest things, when you can look at it and say everyone won together. It was truly such a team effort and everyone played their part.

Everyone did what they were supposed to do and did it so well. That, for me, is the best kind of win. 

The move of the race, strategy-wise, was definitely the brake change. The brake change was a great call by our engineer Lars. That’s where experience and understanding comes into play.

He was able to read that situation so well. Yes, it was early to do the brake change, but he knew we would still make it to the finish and the way the race had been going, he recognized that we might not see a lot more yellow.

It was a risky call to do it that early, but it was very clever, especially with the record-setting, green-flag run that followed.

Photo: Bob Chapman/Paul Miller Racing

We did have one pretty bad hiccup during the race; we got called for wheels spinning while on the jacks and I was worried it would cost us everything.

There’s always a lot that goes into why mistakes like that happen, but the bottom line is that I was the guy in the car and that was my responsibility. 

I had just done a triple, we had done the brake change, we drove from the back up to the front and I was really happy with where we were placed and then all of a sudden there’s this error and it just cost us so much.

I could see the potential of our race slipping away with how much time we lost. Luckily, in the end, it didn’t cost us the win, but, for me, but I try and look at that and learn from it because those things shouldn’t happen. I still feel pretty bad about that, to be honest. 

But, once we overcame that I knew we still had a shot at the win. Watching the race, it was clear we had a strong, fast car.

Everyone was driving well, everyone was efficient in the car, the car was quick, the car was really good.

After the middle of the night, that’s when I first thought, if things go our way, I think we have a car that’s good enough that we can do it and a lineup we could do it with.

I was a little anxious at that point!

Photo: Bob Chapman/Paul Miller Racing

The morning at Daytona goes by so fast once the sun comes up and suddenly we were closing in on the end of the race, and we were still very much in it.

At that moment, you want so badly to be the guy in the car at the end so you can be the one that crosses the line at the checkered, but there was no question that it needed to be Andrea this time around. 

But, the positive from that is that I got to be on the timing stand and I got to see Paul Miller’s face in real time—not in pictures or video after the fact.

I got to experience that moment with him and with the entire team. It was almost as sweet as any trophy or watch they could give me.

There’s something so cool about being able to be a part of a win like that and being able to give back to someone that’s given so much to the sport.

And then there’s the watch. I’ve been chasing one of these for so long and it feels so good to finally have one.

I’ve been wearing it everywhere. I feel like it’s meant to be worn and it’s so beautiful! It seems like such a waste to leave it in the box. My kids absolutely love it too.

It’s funny, everyone keeps asking me what time it is. And I’m more than happy to tell them.  

Bryan Sellers (@BryanSellers) is one of America's leading GT racers, driving the No. 48 Paul Miller Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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