Joao Barbosa(L), Sebastien Bourdais(C) and Christian Fittipaldi(R) drivers of the # 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP celebrate on the podium after winning the ROLEX 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 26, 2014 in Daytona Beach, Florida.
After more than 2,400 miles and 23 1/2 hours of racing, the most prestigious North American sports car race came down to eight minutes and a final five-lap sprint.
The first race of the unified United SportsCar Championship — the NASCAR-owned and IMSA-sanctioned series born from the merger between American Le Mans and Grand-AM — ended with a NASCAR flair. A late, full-course caution swallowed Joao Barbosa’s 13-seccond lead and gave Max Angelelli a last-ditch chance to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Barbosa never gave him a chance, pulling away on the restart with 8:23 to race Sunday to give Action Express Racing its second victory in four years.
It gave Barbosa his second overall win and third in class. Co-driver Sebastien Bourdais won the Rolex for the first time, while Christian Fittipaldi won for the second time.
Action Express’ second entry finished third — and Chevrolet’s new Corvette swept the podium — in an outstanding day for the Bob Johnson-owned organization. Action won its first Rolex in 2010, and Barbosa was part of that team.