ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA - HIGHLIGHTS & FACTS
Mike and the #31 Whelen Engineering Racing crew started the 59th Rolex 24 at Daytona from pole position
Squad led the early phase of the race and battled against an exhaust manifold issue
Mike was third in the car and delivered a fantastic first stint that saw him bring the team back into race contention from a lap down
Mike and the team eventually retook the lead of the race in the 14th hour and put themselves in the fight for the race victory
However, a gearbox issue brought the #31 Cadillac DPi-V.R into the garage with just over five hours remaining
Despite their chances of victory ending, the team returned to the race and fought back to finish sixth in class
MIKE'S WEEKEND REVIEW
“Firstly I’d like to say a huge thank you to all of the Action Express Racing team for their hard work this weekend and congratulations to the #48; we pushed ourselves all the way to the end and we can be proud of ourselves for that.
“Of course, starting the race from pole position meant we felt pretty good about our chances and the first few hours really went our way but, as we all know, it’s rarely that simple in these sorts of races. I fought hard through my first stint to keep ourselves in the mix which was tough but I still had great fun - this race is truly brilliant to be a part of.
“We dropped a lap behind overnight but we pushed hard to fight back, I think the conditions started to come back to us as we moved into Sunday morning and temperatures started to climb again. With all the full-course yellows as well, it was a really exciting race with most of the DPi class split by only 20 to 30 seconds so it could’ve gone either way at that point.
“You always need a bit of luck in endurance racing and unfortunately we didn’t have that on our side with the exhaust manifold issue and the gearbox problem but that’s motor racing - these things happen. The team did an amazing job to get the car fixed and back out on track - I ran a double stint towards the end before handing the car to Chase [Elliott] to take it to the flag. It was great to share the car with him, Felipe [Nasr] and Pipo [Derani]. We’ll come back stronger and try again - we can take a lot of positives from the event; winning the Pole race last weekend and holding our own despite the issues we had. Thanks to the team once again, I’m really looking forward to getting back out there for the Twelve Hours of Sebring.”