Rolf Stommelen, John Paul and John Paul Jr. rolled to victory in the Daytona 24-Hour race yesterday, continuing the domination of American sports car racing in recent years by the powerful Porsche Turbo 935s.
The older Paul was at the wheel when the record-setting winning car took the checkered flag just seconds after 3:30 p.m., completing 719 laps--2,760.96 miles--at an average speed of 114.794 mph.
The speed and number of laps broke the marks of 114.303 mph and 715, set in 1980 by Stommelen and German teammates Reinholdt Joest and Volkert Merl on the 3.84-mile course.
The total miles broke the previous 20-year high of 2,758.44, set by Pedro Rodriguez and Leo Kinnunen in 1970 on the then-3.81-mile course, revised in 1976.
The German-built 935s now have won six straight 24-hour races at Daytona, with Stommelen codriving in three of those triumphs.
John Paul Jr., at 21 considered one of America's brightest young racing prospects, and the veteran Stommelen split most of the last three hours, with the elder Paul climbing into the car during a brief pit stop 20 minutes from the end.
The team of Bob Akin, Derek Bell and Craig Siebert was runner-up a second straight year. Their Porsche 935 finished 11 laps--more than 40 miles--behind the winners.
Third, 35 laps off the pace, came another of the turbocharged Porsches.