Jeff Gordon has admitted that sports car racing “might just be crazier than NASCAR racing” on restarts, after getting his first race laps in the 55th Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The four-time NASCAR Premier Series champion completed a double-stint in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R, having taken over the then-race leading car from co-driver Ricky Taylor, but dropping to third after hitting the No. 70 Mazda RT24-P of Tom Long on a restart.
“It was interesting getting in the car with the caution because it was my first restart in one of these cars,” Gordon said. “It might be crazier than NASCAR racing, trying to restart when you have some GTs and PCs in front of you and you’re on cold tires.
“That was a bit of a challenge and I lost some time. I went wide on the outside and that was the wrong move. I made a little contact with the Mazda, which was coming off the pit lane. I felt bad about that.
“But from that point on, it was a really good stint. The car feels good and strong. It was by far the most laps I made in the car.
“I wish I had more laps coming into this, but I totally understand how the team has to balance it out between three different drivers. It was good to get comfortable, get some good laps in and work traffic.
“The rest of the way was very smooth and clean; I was having a blast, especially the second stint, I was having a great time.”
Gordon said he was pleased with his run, after only getting limited running in the Prototype class contender in practice.
“That right there was big for me,” he said. “The other night practice didn’t go well. I had a lock up on cold tires and couldn’t get it in reverse. Someone laid oil in front of me and I didn’t put a good lap together. I was pretty frustrated.
“This just built my confidence back up right here. I was out there really hoping they’d tell me to do to a third stint but I kind of wanted to do it. But I’m glad I’ll get back out there.”
Max Angelelli has taken the Konica Minolta-sponsored Cadillac to the lead, with 20 hours remaining.