5/2/2000

Daytona 24 Hour Race. Won by the ORECA Viper Team. The first time an American-made production car won the event.

In the Rolex 24 at Daytona, a surprise win for the ORECA, French-based Dodge Viper team who started 21st. But the win marked the first time in six years that a production-based car won the event. And, the first time in the 38-year history, an American-made production car brought home the winning trophy. With 13 hours remaining prior to the 1 p.m. finish, the Viper had fallen 11 laps behind the Dyson Racing Riley & Scott Ford. Engine troubles for Dyson over the final half of the race allowed Wendlinger to take the lead shortly after 11 a.m. Wendlinger completed 723 laps and finished just 30.879 seconds ahead of the Corvette driven by Ron Fellows in the closest 24 at Daytona history. Wendlinger led a trio of Team ORECA Vipers that also placed third and fifth. The GTO Corvette of Justin Bell, Ron Fellows and Chris Kneifel, finished 2nd. An amazing performance for production based cars and a rather sad one for the heavily funded prototype teams.

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