Saturday notes from the Paddock

In its second year of competition, the Daytona Prototype class of the Grand American Road Racing Association car count has jumped from six to 17 in 2004 for the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. Interest around the world has...

In its second year of competition, the Daytona Prototype class of the Grand American Road Racing Association car count has jumped from six to 17 in 2004 for the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway. Interest around the world has jump-started the category, as manufacturers and privateers alike join in to compete.

----

Did you know that Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has captured 28 checkered flags in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, beginning with the Daytona Continental? At first the term "endurance race" was applied here in Daytona Beach for events of four hours or so; Goodyear owns 24 Daytona victories in the current 24-hour format and 14 added wins in the seminal 24 Hours of Le Mans in France.

In 1993, P.J. Jones, Rocky Moran, Mark Dismore and Juan Manuel Fangio II took the Eagle Toyota of Dan Gurney's All American Racers to victory on the same dates as this year's contest, January 31st to February 1st. The significance: the Eagle chassis on Goodyear Eagle tires won the race.

Goodyear tire technician Shannon Baker suffered a few bumps and bruises yesterday while checking air pressures on pit road. He was struck by the Gunnar Racing Porsche Fabcar driven by NASCAR second-generation driver Kyle Petty.

Later Friday evening, Baker was eating dinner at the same restaurant as Petty. Mimicking the famous credit card commercial, he sent Petty a note: "First Aid Kit - $5; New pair of Dockers - $20; Getting hit by Kyle Petty - Priceless. Petty bought dinner for Baker and the entire Goodyear party!

----

PitFit Training's Jim Leo is getting excited about his new job handling the replenishment and comfort of the #01 Daytona Prototype polesitter CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates drivers and crews. He noted the job entails inventorying crew and drivers for food and drink every three hours. It'll be a long day for Leo - let's see how bright and cheerful he is when the race is 12-15 hours old! The polesitter experienced all the highs and lows during the first hour of racing, going from first to 34th to third once more. Pit stops will shuffle the field throughout these 24 hours.

----

Michael Shank Racing has moved from the Toyota Atlantic championship to the Rolex Sports Car Series this season, sinking all their assets into the Grand American Road Racing Association. Entering a Lexus Doran Daytona Prototype, the team intends to run the full series in 2004.

Two new drivers will join the Shank group for the second race of the year at Homestead-Miami Speedway: look for Oswaldo Negri (former Indy Lights standout and Barber Dodge Pro Series pace car driver) along with Burt Frisselle, who campaigned in the Barber Dodge Pro Series at the South Florida round late next month. Frisselle is the son of Brad Frisselle, famous for his sports car exploits in a Frissbee car in the 1970s and 1980s.

----

Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach majordomo Jim Michaelian is putting his right foot where he uses it best, behind the wheel of the #94 Mastercar Ferrari 360GT in the GT class. Hoping to keep the rubber side down on the car during the 24-hour race, Michaelian won notoriety last year with a group of flips during this race. He's pleased to be back again in Daytona Beach.

----

Endurance racing is Hurley Haywood's calling card, having run and won this event five times since the early IMSA days. Driving the #59 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar Daytona Prototype from 9th on the grid, Haywood helped the crew push his mount out to the pre-grid. He started the race, something he's usually tried to do over the years, as the Floridian has a great reputation for patience in the early going.

----

Why does a NASCAR star come to Daytona for the Rolex 24? Kyle Petty is campaigning the #45 Daytona Prototype Gunnar Racing Porsche Fabcar with Gunnar Jeannette, Paul Newman and Michael Brockman. Yes, that Paul Newman, who turned 79 this past Monday. Petty likes sports car racing a lot and has competed here the past few years because, "I make my living with Cup racing but I have a lot of fun doing this. I love Grand American racing," he crowed prior to the start of the race.

----

Ever the gentleman, Grand Marshal Sir Stirling Moss advised - rather than commanding - "Drivers, Please start your engines" to commence the twice 'round the clock endurance race at Daytona International Speedway this afternoon.

----

"I'm tired already," yawned Menards Infiniti Pro Series driver Paul Dana on the pre-grid. This race marks Dana's first drive in a racing car that has a roof and he's never driven a sports car of this type in the wet. He's in the #11 GT JMB Racing USA Ferrari 360Gt with four other drivers. They started from the 37th grid spot in the 55-car field.

----

In 2003 there were only six Daytona Prototype cars entered in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. After an hour of running, there were 14 DP cars leading the race, with Terry Borcheller, who won yesterday's Grand-Am Cup event, leading in the #54 Pontiac Doran of Bell Motorsports.

----

Last year's overall winner #66 The Racers Group - Monster Cable Porsche GT had right rear damage after a spin in turn one shortly into the turn 1 berm. The team's transporter suffered fire damage en route to Florida but the race cars inside the trailer were only minimally damaged.

----

There's more to do at Daytona International Speedway than watching race cars go around. From 2-4PM this afternoon - shortly after the race began - DIS and Southern Wine & Spirits put on a wine and cheese tasting with seven wineries taking part.

Fans were able to taste up to six varietals from each of the wineries (from California and Australia), cleanse their palates between tastings with some cheese and crackers, all while listening to a three-piece jazz ensemble.

The display also offered fine art from various racing artists and photographers (some for sale), including John Lamm, Steven P. Hudak, Jack Lane and Chuck Queener, the latter signing posters from "Daytona Milestones - The Early Years" for the nominal fee of $5.00.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kyle Petty , Mark Dismore , Dan Gurney , Terry Borcheller , Hurley Haywood , Paul Newman , Juan Manuel Fangio , Gunnar Jeannette , P.J. Jones , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Jim Michaelian , Stirling Moss , Paul Dana , Chip Ganassi , Michael Brockman , Rocky Moran , Michael Shank , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing