Britain's Brian Redman, still coming back from a near-fatal 1977 crash, and three-time winner Hurley Haywood waged a seesaw duel for first place as the 24 Hours of Daytona entered its ninth hour early today.
Film star Paul Newman and car owner Dilck Barbour of San Diego alternated with Redman in one of the two dominant turbocharged Porsches that had left the rest of the field 32 miles behind.
Haywood, a three-time winner here and the 1977 Le Mans champion, had as co-drivers Indy veteran Danny Ongais and car owner Ted Field of Newport Beach, Calif.
A Ferrari factory effort expected to challenge the favored turbo Porshes was pulled for fear that faulty tires threatened the drivers' lives.
Ferrari racing team manager Jean Marc Smadja withdrew the team's three entries barely four hours into the $100,000 endurance event. He decided to pull out after J.P. Delauney blew a tire and wrecked, as did Claude Ballot-Lena during Thursday trials. Neither driver was injured.
Three of the fastest Porsches, including that of Carlo Facetti of Italy who set a qualifying record, had retired with a variety of mechanical troubles.
Redman overtook Maywood shortly before midnight and their cars kept exchanging the lead.
Another turbo Porsche shared by Indy driver Johnny Rutherford, Charles Mendez of Tampa, Fla., and Paul Miller of Honolulu was third. A slower but time-tested Porsche Carrera driven by Diego Febles of Puerto Rico and Phil Currin of Gainsville, Fla., was fourth.
Prerace favorites Peter Gregg of Jacksonville, Fla., Jacky Ickx of Belgium and Bob Wollek of France in a speedy Porsche overcame early turbocharger problems and moved into fifth place. Gregg has won this race four times.