IRL's Sharp Joins Factory-Backed Riley & Scott Effort for Rolex 24 At Daytona
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 27, 2001) -- Riley & Scott Racing and Jim Matthews Racing announced that 1996 Rolex 24 At Daytona and IRL champion Scott Sharp will partner with Brit Guy Smith and team owner Jim Matthews in the 2002 Rolex 24 At Daytona, Feb. 2-3. The 2001 Indy 500 polesitter will copilot a Riley & Scott Mark III-C powered by an Elon Power Products 6.0L V8 engine.
"We're thrilled to continue our long and successful association with Scott," Riley & Scott Vice President Bill Riley said. "This will be our fourth 24 hour race together. With Scott, Guy Smith and Jim, we're prepared for a very competitive race".
Riley also noted that negations were ongoing for a fourth driver in the factory-backed car.
Sharp, 33, first won a professional championship in a Riley & Scott race car in 1991, in the SCCA Trans-Am Series. Sharp teamed with R&S in the company's first factory racing effort in 1996. With Wayne Taylor and Jim Pace, Scott won the 1996 Rolex 24 At Daytona in an R&S Mk III Oldsmobile. Sharp also drove for the team in a Mk III in 1997, and drove a R&S-crewed Chevrolet Corvette C5-R at Daytona in 1999.
Better known as a front-runner in the IRL, Sharp was the 1996 IRL champion. He is the second leading race winner in IRL history with six victories in 51 starts. Sharp also has five IRL poles, including the 2001 Indy 500, a total of seven starts in the Memorial Day classic, and was recently selected to be one of the competitors in the IROC series for 2002.
"I'm very excited to get a chance to win at Daytona again," Sharp noted. "Returning with Riley & Scott and Jim Matthews Racing is a fantastic opportunity to repeat one of the highlights of my own or any driver's career, an overall win in the Rolex 24 at Daytona."
Car owner/driver Matthews is pleased with the addition. "Every element of this project is about having the best chance to win. Scott will be an important part of the team. We've got a lot of testing planned between now and February 2nd. We had a great first test with Guy at Road Atlanta, and we're just going to keep working".
The 40th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona will kick off the 2002 Rolex Sports Car Series season, as well as SpeedWeeks at Daytona International Speedway. Tickets are currently on sale for the Rolex 24 At Daytona and may be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at 386-253-RACE. The Rolex 24 At Daytona will be broadcast on Speedvision.
More information on the Rolex Sports Car Series is available online at www.grand-am.com.