2022 Rolex 24 results: Helio Castroneves wins again for MSR; Pato O’Ward, Colton Herta win
DAYTONA BEACH, Florida -- Just as he did in the Indy 500, Helio Castroneves took Meyer Shank Racing back to the top of the results board Sunday with a victory in the 2022 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Castroneves, who took team co-owners Mike Shank and Jim Meyer to Victory Circle at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the first time last May with his record-tying fourth Indy 500 victory, held off a charge by former teammate Ricky Taylor to win the 60th Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.
It was the second consecutive Rolex 24 win for Castroneves, who is returning to full-time competition in the NTT IndyCar Series this season with Meyer Shank Racing. Last year he won Daytona with Wayne Taylor Racing, which he denied a record fourth consecutive Rolex 24 victory Sunday.
The MSR team celebrated by joining Castroneves, 46, on his signature fence-climbing.
“Forty-six feeling like 22, brother,” the Brazilian, who took over the wheel from Tom Blomqvist with an hour remaining, told NBC Sports’ Marty Snider. “Look, it was absolutely amazing. These guys keep pushing, give me a great car. I was joking with Ricky, ‘I taught you a lot of things in three years at Acura, but I didn’t teach you all of it. I had to keep some up my sleeve.
“Today I realized that dream. So happy for the entire group. In the end, I said, ‘Put me in coach, put me in coach!’ It was great.
“When you have passion, when you love what you do, you just got to keep doing it. There’s no reason to keep listening to noises. As long as I keep it going, I have no issues. I’m motivated. I’m excited. I want to achieve my dreams and keep it going. Today, another one on my bucket list.”
It was the second overall victory for Mike Shank’s team, which also won the 50th Rolex 24 at Daytona.
“I just make it happen,” said Castroneves, who was teamed with Simon Pagenaud (his teammate in IndyCar this year and a first-time Rolex 24 winner), Oliver Jarvis and Blomqvist. “I had amazing teammates. What a great, incredible race.”
After two runner-up finishes at Daytona, it’s the first Rolex win for Pagenaud in his ninth start.
Taylor finished second in WTR’s No. 10 as Acuras swept the top two spots at Daytona.
Pipo Derani finished third in the No. 31 Cadillac, followed by Loic Duval in the No. 5 Cadillac.
In other divisions:
LMP2: Colton Herta won his prototype debut, snatching the lead with an inside pass on Louis Deeletraz in the No. 8 Tower Motorsport ORECA with 11 minutes remaining.
That brought a victory to the No. 81 DragonSpeed USA’s IndyCar star lineup as Herta was teamed with friendly IndyCar championship rival Pato O’Ward, incoming IndyCar rookie Devlin DeFrancesco and Bronze driver Eric Lux.
After skidding through the grass, Deeletraz hung on for third behind Racing Team Nederland, and he briefly confronted Herta afterward.
“He just wasn’t really happy with the move,” Herta told NBC Sports’ Dillon Welch. “I thought it was clean. I was alongside of him, and two into the Bus Stop (chicane) just don’t go, and I had the inside line. It’s unfortunate. I didn’t want the race to end that way for them. These things happen, I guess.”
It was the second Rolex 24 class victory for Herta, who was making his prototype debut after three consecutive GT starts (winning as a 2019 rookie with BMW).
“I’m really happy with how it ended there,” Herta said. “I got big five stints there at the end and was able to bring it up to the lead. Congrats to the whole team.”
DragonSpeed rallied from being five laps down six hours into the race because of a rash of pit stops mostly related to speeding penalties (some due to a malfunctioning system in the car).
“This guy wasn’t going to let us down,” O’Ward, who scored his second Rolex 24 class victory, told Welch about Herta.”
It was the first Rolex victory for both DeFrancesco and Lux.
GTD PRO: In a furious battle of Porsches in the new division for pro drivers with GT3 car specifications, Laurens Vanthoor and Mathieu Jaminet traded the lead twice in the final five minutes.
Their final contact happened in the Le Mans Chicane and sent up a large plume of dirt just in front of overall winner Castroneves, who took evasive action and said, “I did not expect a big crash like that right in front. So thank God, it was a little bit of anticipation (and) luck at the same time.”
Jaminet took the victory for the No. 9 of Pfaff Motorsports (the team that Vanthoor won the GTD title with last year) over the No. 2 of the KCMG team.
“This was crazy,” Jaminet told NBC Sports’ Kevin Lee. “Still difficult to realize what happened in this last lap. But in these two hours, it was just driving for my life, and even when he passed me, I was like, ‘I’m not going to give this thing (away).’ It was too much hard work to let it go now in the last two, three, four laps, so I said, ‘OK, just give it everything and go for it.’ ”
It was the first Rolex 24 victory for Jaminet and teammates Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr (who is racing with the team for 2022 before joining Team Penske’s new Porsche LMDh team in ’23).
Vanthoor skidded through the grass and finished third behind Alessandro Pier Guidi in the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari.
GTD: The Wright Motorsports No. 16 Porsche won with Jan Heylen taking the checkered flag.
It’s the third career victory for the team and Heylen, Zacharie Robichon and Ryan Hardwick; and the third for Richard Lietz.
“I’ve been with the team so long and I know how hard we tried in the past and how close we’ve come,” Heylen said. “So it means a lot for me but especially for the team.”
It was emotional as well for Hardwick, who missed last year’s Rolex 24 after being sidelined by a concussion in Michelin Pilot Challenge practice.
“I was just down the road watching (the 2021) race from a hospital room after a big crash here,” Hardwick said. “So, personally, for me, it was a bit of redemption coming back to this track and not only competing at a high level, but ultimately winning.”
LMP3: Felipe Fraga finished a lap ahead of the field as the Riley Motorsports No. 74 Ligier JS P320 won the Rolex 24 class for the second consecutive year and third time overall.
With 61 cars, the largest field in seven years, the race featured 17 caution flags that eliminated some big-name contenders.
Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson’s No. 48 Ally Cadillac was among the casualties as he made contact with a GT car near the halfway point, ending his hopes of a win.
STATS PACKAGE FOR 60TH ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
NEXT: The 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season will resume March 19 with the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring (10 a.m. ET, USA/Peacock).