Did the checker come out too early for the Rolex 24 At Daytona?

Steven Cole
By Steven Cole Smith
Jan 29, 2024 | Rolex 24 at Daytona, rolex 24

Photography Credit: Chris Tropea

Well, that was weird: The Rolex 24 at Daytona’s end seemed to come a bit early. Did the flagman throw the white flag too soon? Did somebody misread the time clock? The NBC broadcast said there were two laps to go, but the white flag flew almost immediately, and it seemed that the GTP cars had already begun their final lap. 

Felipe Nasr, who was driving the winning number 7 Porsche Penske 963, who was not watching NBC, said, “I was confused, too. I don't know if there were two white flags. I don't know. I really don't know. I was just focused on each corner, each braking and just clearing traffic and making sure there was no mistakes and taking the car to the end.”

That’s why Nasr didn’t really begin slowing until it was clear that it was obviously time. “Yeah, you've got to keep on the throttle until it's over. That's what Tim Cindric said on the radio.” Cindric, the president of Team Penske, often calls team strategy when he isn’t beaming over his son, Austin Cindric, who won the 2022 Daytona 500.

There’s no question the snafu was meaningless – the racing wasn’t close enough in any of the four classes to be affected by the final flag. But this doesn’t mean that conspiracy theorists haven’t opined that IMSA plotted for Roger Penske, who turns 87 in February, to win his second overall Rolex 24 – his first came 55 years ago, when his Lola, driven by Mark Donohue and Check Parsons, won by 30 laps after all the favored factory Porsches failed to finish.

The cruelest theory about the oddball finish, put forth by RacerRick on one forum: “Maybe it needs to be the 2024 Timex 24 at Daytona.”

So far, no official word from IMSA, but we’ve asked for an explanation.

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Comments
Noddaz
Noddaz GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/29/24 4:29 p.m.

GRM is not there and they screw it up.

That can be the only explanation.

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/29/24 5:16 p.m.

Guess the checkered flag did come out a little early:

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/29/24 5:20 p.m.

Didn't F1 have a similar problem a couple of years ago with a guest flagger?

earlybroncoguy1
earlybroncoguy1 Reader
1/29/24 6:17 p.m.

You'd think that a 24 hr race, that's been happening for decades, sponsored by a WATCHMAKER, would, you know, start and end at the right time.

But, Noooooo....

I was watching the end, wondering if the Cadiilac was going to catch the Porsche, and with 2 laps to go....they waved the checkered. Even John Hindaugh was confused.   

codrus (Forum Supporter)
codrus (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
1/29/24 6:22 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

Didn't F1 have a similar problem a couple of years ago with a guest flagger?

In Canada a few years ago.  IIRC the drivers all knew it was too early so kept going, I think the FIA ruled afterwards that it stopped when the flag was waved, but there were no positions changed as a result.

Apparently it was not the guest flagger's fault, she waved it when she was told to and the official that told her to wave it was the one that screwed it up.

 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/29/24 6:28 p.m.
Noddaz said:

GRM is not there and they screw it up.

That can be the only explanation.

 

That has to be it. Here's a screenshot from the bottom of the article.

 

Javelin
Javelin GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/29/24 6:33 p.m.

"The Timex 24 Hours" killed me!! laugh

Datsun240ZGuy
Datsun240ZGuy MegaDork
1/29/24 6:50 p.m.

Somebody was dreading to go to work today and being part of a mandatory meeting......

alfadriver
alfadriver MegaDork
1/29/24 9:22 p.m.
earlybroncoguy1 said:

You'd think that a 24 hr race, that's been happening for decades, sponsored by a WATCHMAKER, would, you know, start and end at the right time.

But, Noooooo....

I was watching the end, wondering if the Cadiilac was going to catch the Porsche, and with 2 laps to go....they waved the checkered. Even John Hindaugh was confused.   

Rolexes run fast. 

Aaron_King
Aaron_King GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/30/24 8:23 a.m.

I was listening to the RML broadcast at the end of the race and Hindbaugh said that the race started a little late so maybe that was the reason for the confusion.

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