Daytona testing wraps up

Rolex 24 at Daytona test session wraps up with no. 54 fastest DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 5, 2003) -- The No. 54 Bell Motorsports Chevrolet Doran Daytona Prototype, winners of the 2003 North American Road Racing Championship, finished atop the...

Rolex 24 at Daytona test session wraps up with no. 54 fastest

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Jan. 5, 2003) -- The No. 54 Bell Motorsports Chevrolet Doran Daytona Prototype, winners of the 2003 North American Road Racing Championship, finished atop the speed chart as the three-day Rolex 24 At Daytona test session wrapped up on Monday at historic Daytona International Speedway.

The No. 54 Chevy, piloted by 2003 driver champion Terry Borcheller, Forest Barber, Andy Pilgrim and Milka Duno, posted the fast lap of the entire test session with a lap of one minute, 48.311 seconds, 118.326 mph followed by the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche FABCAR with a lap of 1:48.635 seconds, 117.973.

Rounding out the top five were the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley (1:48.877 seconds, 117.711), the No. 2 Howard Boss Motorsports Chevrolet Crawford (1:49.038, 117.537) and the No. 27 Doran Lista Lexus Doran (1:49.747 seconds, 116.788).

The three-day Rolex 24 test session featured three NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series stars - Dale Earnhardt Jr., Tony Stewart and Jimmie Johnson - testing in preparation for the twice-around-the-clock challenge. Earnhardt Jr. and Stewart will join forces on the No. 2 Chevrolet Crawford while Johnson will be part of the driving team on the No. 4 Chevrolet Crawford.

The growth of the Daytona Prototype class, the premier class of the Rolex Sports Car Series, also created a stir in the paddock during the test session.

In the 2003 Rolex 24 test session, there were only five Daytona Prototypes on site preparing for their inaugural season of competition. This year, 18 Daytona Prototypes participated in the test session with a 19th Daytona Prototype on site available for purchase.

"I would have never thought it would be like this," said David Donohue, co-driver on the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche FABCAR. "I was hoping last year we would double the car count, but this is ridiculous. It should be a really good race. I think the field is fairly tightly packed considering a lot of these teams are brand new out of the box. Surely they'll come back with more experience and power under their belt as far as being competitive and being prepared."

The Racer's Group, the 2003 Rolex 24 At Daytona overall champions, continued their Daytona success during the test session by recording the fastest time in the GT class. The team's No. 66 Porsche GT3 RS of Kevin Buckler, Jorg Bergmeister, Timo Bernhard and Patrick Long turned a 1:54.785 lap at 111.652 mph, more than a full second better than their 2003 qualifying time.

Next up at the Speedway is NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series testing for the odd-numbered teams in the 2003 owner's standings. The three-day session, which begins Tuesday, is free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DAYTONA USA.

Tickets to the Jan. 31-Feb. 1 Rolex 24 and other Speedweeks 2004 events are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

-dis-

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Milka Duno , Dale Earnhardt Jr. , Tony Stewart , Andy Pilgrim , Jimmie Johnson , Kevin Buckler , Terry Borcheller , David Donohue , Jörg Bergmeister , Timo Bernhard , Patrick Long , Forest Barber , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing