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Nissan Holds Lead as Fog Halts Daytona Race

February 05, 1989|Associated Press

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A heavy shroud of fog rolled in off the Atlantic Ocean early Sunday morning, forcing IMSA officials to red-flag the Daytona 24 Hours Camel GT sports car race to a temporary halt after 10 hours 11 minutes.

The stoppage came at 1:50 a.m. EST with Geoff Brabham, the defending Camel GT champion, leading in a Nissan GTP by two laps.

The race clock continued during the red flag period, with the event still scheduled to conclude at 3:38 p.m. EST Sunday.

Brabham, an Australian-born driver taking part in his first 24-hour event and driving at night for the first time in a race, drove the Nissan into the lead at 11:40 p.m. EST.

He built a 90-second lead over the Jaguar of Jan Lammers, Davy Jones and Raul Boesel during the next hour, but made a scheduled pit stop at 12:40 a.m.

Jones drove past in the Jaguar, retaking the lead that the car, last year's winner, had held several times earlier. But, one lap later, he pulled into the pits with an engine problem.

The Nissan, shared by Chip Robinson and Arie Luyendyk of the Netherlands, moved back into the lead at the end of the 289th lap on the 3.56-mile Daytona International Speedway road circuit.

The fog began to drift over the track shortly before midnight and quickly became thicker, cutting visibility to less than 100 yards.

A caution flag came out at 1:12 a.m. because of a car stalled in a dangerous position in the infield. But, with the thickening fog, the pace car stayed on the track until officials finally decided to stop the field.

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