Entrepreneur Considers Racing His Oasis
A drive for excellence spearheads entry into 24 Hours at Daytona for Second Time
MIAMI, Fla. (December 26, 2007) - Following a successful debut at the Daytona International Speedway in 2006, broadcasting entrepreneur Russ Oasis still "drives" for excellence. On Jan. 26, Oasis, 57, will gear up for another spin around the hallowed Daytona track, as he joins teammates Tommy Archer, Jim Stout, Tom Atherton and Jason Daskalos for the 46th edition of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, one of the most grueling races in the world.
From radio to racing, Oasis has always "driven" for excellence. After graduating from Northeastern University, Oasis landed on-the-air at WFUN in Miami, a then industry-famous radio station. In 1980, he moved to a related, but different field, founding what turned out to be one of the most successful advertising agencies in Florida, The Ad Team. In 1987, he purchased two struggling Florida radio stations, WXDJ and WRMA, which he turned-around and sold to Spanish Broadcasting System, for $111 million. Oasis followed the same pattern of turn-arounds, with other radio stations in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne, IN.
Oasis has raced the past five years in the Viper Racing League. He was the league's 2003 Rookie of the Year and finished second in the league's overall standings in 2007. At Daytona, he will race in the GT class, spending his share of 24 hours in a Porsche 997 GT3 Cup Car, a switch from his 2006 Chevrolet C-6 Corvette entry.
"The first time we ran this race, we came in 17th out of 34 [in our class,"] Oasis said. "I am definitely more prepared the second time around."
Archer, the 2004 SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Drivers' Championship winner, who invited Oasis to join his team in 2006, did not hesitate to team with Oasis for a second go-round.
"Russ did a fantastic job two years ago" said Archer. "I coached Russ when he first joined the Viper League so I am familiar with his style and know he is motivated to improve on our 2006 result."
Daytona and The Le Mans, in France, are the two largest automotive endurance races in the world. However, Archer maintains the Rolex 24 at Daytona is more intense.
"Le Mans runs on a longer track with 48 cars," said Archer. "At Daytona, with more cars and a shorter run, drivers are always passing or being passed. You have to be on your toes at all times."
With 80 - 90 cars moving at 180 mph + and a cockpit that reaches 160 degrees, maintaining concentration, speed, and consistency, is challenging. According to Oasis, decisions on how drivers are rotated throughout the 24-hours are often made spontaneously.
Oasis and his team will be competing against the racing world's heavy hitters. Last year's participants included recently-crowned NEXTEL Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson, four-time Winston/NEXTEL Cup Champion Jeff Gordon, 2005 Indy Racing League Champion Dan Wheldon, 2000 Winston Cup Champion Bobby Labonte, 2007 NEXTEL Cup Rookie of the Year Juan Pablo Montoya (who was a member of this race's Daytona Prototype winning team last January) and two-time Indianapolis 500 Champion and recent Dancing with the Stars winner H0x00e9lio Castroneves.
To prepare for the race, Oasis has increased an already intense cardiovascular regimen. The team will start practicing, on track, the first week in January and will be sponsored by Lavender Bridal Salon of Dover, Ohio.