Daytona 24: MSR/Fusion Racing preview

Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing with MSR ready for Rolex challenge (Daytona Beach, FL) 25 January 06-- Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing with MSR is ready to go this distance this weekend in the 44th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The race is the...

Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing with MSR ready for Rolex challenge

(Daytona Beach, FL) 25 January 06-- Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing with MSR is ready to go this distance this weekend in the 44th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. The race is the first of the 2006 Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal season and marks the competition debut for the Graydon Elliott Lexus/Riley machine as drivers Paul Tracy, Kenny Wilden, Paul Mears, and Mike Borkowski are set to take on nearly seventy other cars and twenty-four hours of racing.

Borkowski, who took two podiums in Rolex competition in 2005, is looking to get the 2006 season started off in a big way and thinks the recent test at the 3.56-mile circuit has the team well-placed to have a strong run in the 24.

"We left the test with a car that was really race-able and very quick, and hopefully we can keep improving right up until the race starts," said Borkowski. "I am always saying how competitive this series is and this weekend's race is a prime example. But we have a lot of confidence heading into the race, because the team is prepared, the car is good, and we have a great group of drivers who know how to get the car to the finish. We definitely have a car that's capable of winning this race."

Tracy, who has joined the team for Rolex event, posted some very quick times during the Daytona testing earlier in the month, and is particularly bullish on the team's qualifying chances in advance of the race.

"I think we are definitely getting there with the car," said Tracy. "We still have some progress to make with our race set-up, but there is no question we are right in the ballpark with the car as far as overall speed. I am really happy working with this team, and so far everything has gelled together really well."

Tracy will be sharing the car with another Canadian, fellow Toronto-area native Kenny Wilden, who will be contesting the full Rolex calendar with Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing with MSR.

"I'd never run a DP (Daytona Prototype) at Daytona before the test, so that was a big help for me as far as getting ready for this race," said Wilden, who made a storming run to the podium last year with Borkowski and Michael Shank Racing at Barber Motorsports Park. "I ran with a Pontiac engine last year, so the test was also good for me to get used to the Lexus power, and I'm pretty excited about this race and our opportunity to do well."

Mears, who resides in the Orlando area and will be making several Rolex starts with the team during the 2006 season, was frustrated when an engine issue kept him from finishing the race in 2005, and is looking forward to getting another shot at running the full distance this year.

"The car felt really good in testing and these guys are always improving it," said Mears. "We feel like we should be able to run a good race pace, and hopefully we can be there at the finish and in a good position to challenge."

Fusion Racing Managing Partner Dennis Bainbridge said he is impressed with the efforts of everyone working to get ready for the race and is looking forward to an exhausting, but exhilarating event.

"The results from the test days showed the car is solid and we have a group of fast drivers who work great together. I am really looking forward to a fantastic showing," Bainbridge said.

Practice will get started on Thursday morning, with the first thirty positions up for grabs in the opening qualifying Thursday afternoon in advance of the final night practice session. The team will have two practice sessions on Friday to complete the final preparations for the start of the race at noon on Saturday.

Speed Channel will be providing over thirteen hours of live coverage, commencing with the race start and following the final hours to the checkered flag.

-msr/fr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Paul Tracy , Mike Borkowski , Dennis Bainbridge , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing