Daytona 24: Citgo/SAMAX Friday report

SAMAX Motorsport added the final touches to the No. 7 CITGO Pontiac-powered Riley Mk XI on Friday in preparation for this weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona. The crew installed the car's race engine and the drivers lapped the 3.56-mile road course at...

SAMAX Motorsport added the final touches to the No. 7 CITGO Pontiac-powered Riley Mk XI on Friday in preparation for this weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona. The crew installed the car's race engine and the drivers lapped the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway, bedding in new axles and brakes for the 24-hour race.

Dario Franchitti will start the CITGO/SAMAX Riley 15th on the 67-car grid. He will alternate race stints with Milka Duno, Marino Franchitti and Kevin McGarrity.

"The CITGO/SAMAX crew has been working very hard and we set a good time in today's final practice," Duno said. "I'm feeling very comfortable with the Pontiac-Riley. Dario, Marino and Kevin are great teammates and I feel that we work very well together. I think all the ingredients are there for a good race, so I'm really looking forward to it."

training camp

Marino Franchitti has trained hard for the Rolex 24 test and race. He even added workouts on Christmas and New Year's Day.

"Daytona is a fantastic way to start the year. It's as much part of my life now as anything else," he said. "It's a very different New Year when you've got to go testing. There's no partying; it's just 'get ready to go to work'. The training doesn't stop, which is kind of a good thing because it keeps me on my toes. I've spent the time since the test training, most days three times. It's my own self-imposed preseason training camp."

night and night

Newlywed Kevin McGarrity will turn his first Rolex 24 night race laps on Saturday, but he has enjoyed the solitude of night racing in les 24 Heures du Mans. He noted the differences between the 3.56-mile Daytona track and the 8.48-mile Le Mans circuit:

"It gets dark very early here and doesn't get light again until late, but the banking and the infield are quite well-lit. At Le Mans, the pit straight and the parts of the permanent circuit are well-lit, but when you go out the back through the forest, it's very, very dark. And that's the fastest part of the track, so Le Mans is definitely more daunting."

flying racer

Dario Franchitti's race helmet sports an American Eurocopter logo, a sign of his other speed passion -- flying. Franchitti is a licensed helicopter pilot who flies a Eurocopter B3.

-samax-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Milka Duno , Dario Franchitti , Kevin McGarrity , Marino Franchitti