1971 24 Hours of Daytona – Day Break
As the sun began to break over Daytona Beach a brief rain shower hit the speedway causing misery for the corner workers and dangerously slick driving for the 25 cars still in the race.
The repaired Ferrari 512M of Mark Donohue and David Hobbs was trying to make up for lost time but had to pit for rain tires after spinning twice on the slick track. The 512M had passed the Chinetti – Veiga Ferrari 312P to regain third place and they were gaining on the second place Bucknum – Adamowicz Ferrari 512S.
Bucknum and Adamowicz were putting on quite a show with a car that seemed to be ailing. Every time the car came into a corner it belched flames from the exhaust. Later Adamowicz would say that Bucknum broke some valve springs running RPM’s that were too high. This caused the car to misfire and belch flames. To preserve the car for the finish they had to abandon any attempt at keeping up with the 917’s and, as later events would show, lose any chance of winning.
At 9 a.m. the Rodriguez – Oliver 917 was first, Bucknum – Adamowicz 512 was second, Donohue – Hobbs 512M third, Chinetti – Veiga 312P fourth and the Delorenzo – Yenko Corvette fifth.
After 21 hours of driving another J.W./Gulf Porsche 917 victory at Daytona seemed assured. Rodriguez and Oliver had what everyone thought to be an insurmountable lead of 213 miles over the second place car.