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Defending champs make up ground at Rolex 24

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - The defending Rolex 24 champions have rallied from a huge deficit at Daytona International Speedway.

The No. 60 Michael Shank Racing entry, anchored by NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger, was seven laps down after an early steering problem Saturday.

But after several caution flags overnight, including a two-hour slowdown early Sunday because of heavy fog, Shank's Ford Riley got back on the lead lap with about five hours to go in the twice-around-the-clock endurance race. The car was running fourth with 4 1/2 hours remaining.

``Everyone is working so hard,'' Allmendinger posted on his Twitter page. ``Even more proud of this team then last year. We have a chance. Fighting till end. (hash)nevergiveup.''

IndyCar driver Justin Wilson was behind the wheel of the No. 60 when it got back on the lead lap, a move that prompted the team to tweet, ``That only took 19 hours!!'' John Pew, Ozz Negri and Marcos Ambrose also have taken turns behind the wheel.

All of them were chasing the dominant Chip Ganassi Racing entry.

Ganassi's No. 01 BMW Riley, anchored by veteran Scott Pruett, was back out front with 4 1/2 hours to go. Pruett is trying to tie Hurley Haywood's record of five Rolex victories.

The other Ganassi entry, though, has fallen way back. NASCAR regular Jamey McMurray hit a wall leaving the pits overnight, causing the team to lose several laps.

``I just wasn't paying attention and I made a costly mistake there,'' said McMurray, who also drew a penalty Saturday night after he drove over an air hose in the pits.

Six of 17 cars remained on the lead lap in the Daytona Prototype class.

The No. 44 Mangus Racing entry, which won the Grand Touring class last year, was up front early Sunday. The No. 16 Napleton Racing car was atop the newly formed GX class.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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