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Gordon Wins Overall Rolex 24 Title

Jeff Gordon, along with Wayne Taylor Racing teammates Max Angelelli, Jordan and Ricky Taylor, led the No. 10 Cadillac to its first successful run in the 55th Rolex 24 since 2005 at Daytona International Speedway.

The win comes as a sweet relief for the Taylor brothers, who failed to take home the checkered flag in last years event, and as a great end to an illustrious career for Angelelli, who insists this event will serve as his final race before retiring.

Although it’s another great victory to tack on to his list of Daytona 500’s and NASCAR championships, Gordon says victory in an event he failed to win in 2007 with the Taylor team is an exceptional feat unlike any other.

“I haven’t been this emotional for a win and an experience like this for a very long time,” Gordon said. “The reason is because I know what this means to this team, Wayne, these kids, Max. Oh my gosh. This is amazing — Daytona has always been special, but this one sent me over the top. I’m just blown away right now.”

However, it wasn’t a spotless victory for the Taylor team.

“I had the experience of being in the wet, and I couldn’t see anything. It was a hard — it was very hard to feel the car, let alone push it,” Gordon said of his own struggles in the cold and rainy conditions that led to a lengthy full-course caution period during his segment of the race.

After winning the second and third sections of the event, the foursome entered the final six hours with a one-point lead over the No. 5 Mustang Express team.

In the last hour of the event, with the Express team in the lead, Ricky Taylor made what is being considered a controversial pass, but nonetheless put the No. 10 at the front of the pack.

When Taylor made a final attempt at a pass on driver Filipe Albuquerque, with the No. 10 traveling on the inside of the No. 5, it wasn’t clear if he could make the pass cleanly. The two vehicles ended up making contact, sending Albuquerque spinning. Luckily, after the review, no penalty was issued to the No. 10 team.

With such an exciting and amazing race, Gordon was asked if he would compete in next years event, to which he replied, “I’m kind of like Max. I mean, I think retiring and going out on top is a pretty good thing… [but] it was a better experience than I even had in 2007, which was a good one. So who knows, maybe there’s the chance of one being even smoother and better.”

With this victory, Gordon joins Mario Andretti, AJ Foyt, and Jamie McMurray as one of the only drivers to ever win both the Daytona 500 and the Rolex 24, making this memorable victory all the more historical.

Vivian Meza is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL VIVIAN AT vivian.meza@popularspeed.com

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McMurray Joins Exclusive Club with Rolex Win

@JamieMcMurray has gained quite the reputation as one of the best big money racers in all of motor sports.

The 38-year-old Joplin, Missouri native came into this weekend’s 53rd annual Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona looking to add another crown jewel win to his already impressive resume which includes wins in the 2010 Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 as well as last season’s win in the Sprint All-Star Race.

After a fierce battle with the defending race winners No.5 Action Express Corvette and the No.10 Wayne Taylor Racing entry, McMurray’s teammate Scott Dixon turned in a final brilliant three hour and thirty-two minute run to the checkers which saw him resort to conserving fuel down the stretch to hold off the surging Action Express entry by 1.33 seconds to claim the victory. For team owner Chip Ganassi, it was his sixth win in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. For McMurray, it was a leap into immortality.

With Sunday’s win, McMurray joined Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt as the only drivers to win both the Daytona 500 and Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

“It’s really special,” McMurray said in Victory Lane. “I have to first off thank Chip and Felix (Sabates) for giving all of the opportunity. Tony, Kyle and I were just thanking Chip and Felix for giving the chance to drive the car. We had such a great group of guys driving, such an awesome team.”

McMurray quickly brushed aside his date with history and gave Dixon all the credit for the win.

“Really it’s just about Scott Dixon today,” said McMurray. “He got in with three and a half hours to go and just really did an amazing job. I’m just so proud of him.”

McMurray’s Chip Ganassi Racing teammate @KyleLarsonRacin also was part of the winning team along with Dixon and Tony Kanaan. After last year’s rough showing, Larson made up for it this year as he was one of the fastest in the entire field keeping the No. 02 Ford up front.

“It’s crazy how much a year can do,” said Larson. “I hated this race after last year. I was terrible. This year, coming back, I felt comfortable right off the bat and had a lot of fun. Thanks to Felix, thanks to Chip, thanks to this whole Target team for giving me the opportunity to drive this.

“I’m just a dirt oval guy, and to come here and race a sports car here at Daytona, on the road course, it’s pretty awesome,” Larson said.

Other current and former NASCAR stars also took the track in this year’s Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. @AJDinger finished 11th overall and 6th in the Prototype class in the No.60 Michael Shank Racing entry.

Colin Braun, former Truck Series driver for Roush Fenway Racing appeared to be heading for another win in the PC class until a fire dashed his hopes for victory. Braun and the No.54 entry finished 3rd in class and 12th overall, Andy Lally would finish 11th in the GTD class, and 29th overall Boris Said would finish 12th in the GTD class and 30th overall.

Justin Tucker is a POPULAR SPEED Development Journalist

EMAIL JUSTIN AT justin.tucker@popularspeed.com