World's Best Drivers Converge on Daytona for Rolex 24 Testing This Week NASCAR, IRL, Sports Car's Top Drivers Get Ready to Race DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 2, 2002) -- The world's best race car drivers will converge on Daytona International...
World's Best Drivers Converge on Daytona for Rolex 24 Testing This Week
NASCAR, IRL, Sports Car's Top Drivers Get Ready to Race
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 2, 2002) -- The world's best race car drivers will converge on Daytona International Speedway this week for the Rolex 24 At Daytona January Test Days. Top names from not only sports car racing, but also NASCAR, IRL, CART and other major racing series will take to the track, Jan. 3-5, in preparation for the 40th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona that will be run Feb. 2-3.
Leading the list are six NASCAR Winston Cup drivers who will kickoff their 2002 SpeedWeeks a little early by racing in the Rolex 24 At Daytona. 2001 Busch Series champion and Winston Cup Rookie of the Year Kevin Harvick will slide behind the wheel of the RE/MAX Racing #90 Corvette of Flis Motorsports for the first time during this week's testing. Harvick will race in the American GT class with RE/MAX cofounder Dave Liniger, as well as ARCA RE/MAX drivers Rick Carelli and John Metcalf.
Tony Stewart will compete in his first Rolex 24 with the Crawford Race Cars' factory team. Stewart will race a V10 Judd-powered Crawford in the SportsRacing Prototype class. After only three full seasons of Winston Cup racing, Stewart has earned 12 wins and four poles, with his first Winston Cup road racing victory coming last season at Sears Point. Stewart will share driving duties with two road racing experts. Jan Lammers has both Daytona and LeMans wins to his credit, while Johnny Mowlem is the only driver to ever sweep all 17 rounds of the British Pirelli Porsche Cup Championship.
Kyle Petty will race in his second-straight Rolex 24 At Daytona - this time joined by Petty Racing teammate John Andretti in the #43 Porsche GT3 R of Orbit Racing. Petty finished seventh overall in the 2001 Rolex 24 with Orbit Racing. He and Andretti teamed up in an Orbit Porsche at the 2001 Bully Hill Vineyards 250, winning the GT class. Andretti took the overall victory in the 24-hour race at Daytona in 1989. The pair of Winston Cup drivers will race in the GT class with Leo Hindery and Peter Baron.
Robby Gordon will partner with 1996 IRL champion Scott Sharp in the factory-backed Riley & Scott Mark III-C of Jim Matthews Racing. Gordon won the GTO/GTS class in the Rolex 24 from 1990 to 1993, while Sharp earned an overall victory in the historic race in 1996. The pair of road racing veterans will team up in the SportsRacing Prototype class with team owner Jim Matthews and Guy Smith in the #36 Elan-engined Riley & Scott.
Former Winston Cup driver turned commentator Wally Dallenbach will also pair up with an IRL driver - Steve Knapp - in Robinson Racing's #74 Riley & Scott Mark III-C. Dallenbach is a four-time Rolex 24 winner and past Trans-Am champion. Knapp burst onto the IRL scene at the 1998 Indy 500 where he finished third and garnered Rookie of the Year honors.
The duo will join another road racing veteran - Jack Baldwin - in the #74 Judd-powered Riley & Scott. The former Trans-Am and IMSA champion won the GTU class at the 1984 24-hour race at Daytona. He has also competed in IROC and the NASCAR Busch Series during his career. Rounding out the driver lineup in the Robinson Racing entry will be team owner George Robinson.
Another IRL driver, Anthony Lazzaro, is scheduled to partner with top sports car racer Terry Borcheller for the entire 2002 Rolex Sports Car Series season in Rand Racing's #8 Nissan-powered Lola. Lazzaro raced in IRL, Winston Cup and the Rolex Series during the 2001 season, scoring the SportsRacing Prototype II victory with Borcheller at Daytona in the Finale. Borcheller is an up-and-coming sports car racer who captured his first major sports car title in 2001. He also won the SCCA World Challenge and Speedvision Cup championships in 1998. Lazzaro and Borcheller will be joined in the #8 Nissan Lola by team owner Bill Rand and Ralf Kellners.
Doran Lista Racing will field an all-star team to run its new #27 Judd-powered Dallara. CART driver Max Papis will join top sports car drivers Didier Theys and Mauro Baldi in the SportsRacing Prototype entry. Papis scored his first CART victory last season at Homestead. Theys is the 1997 Rolex 24 champion and 1987 Indy Lights champion. Baldi is one of only five active drivers to have won Daytona, LeMans and Sebring, with his Daytona victory coming in 1989. Fredy Lienhard will round out the driver lineup.
Champion Racing has also brought together a stellar driver lineup for the Rolex 24 that includes five-time Rolex 24 winner Hurley Haywood, three-time Rolex 24 winner Andy Wallace, 2001 Rolex 24 GT winner Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maasen. Another team with an all-star lineup is Risi Competizione with former-Formula 1 drivers Eric van de Poele, David Brabham and Stefan Johansson joining Ralf Kelleners in the #13 Ferrari 333SP.
Dyson Racing Team is looking for another Rolex 24 At Daytona victory with two cars full of sports car racing talent. The #16 Ford-powered Riley & Scott will have two-time Rolex Series champion James Weaver, three-time Rolex 24 winner Butch Leitzinger and Formula 1 tester Oliver Gavin behind the wheel, while the #20 Riley & Scott will have two-time Rolex 24 winner Elliott Forbes-Robinson, former-Trans-Am champion Dorsey Schroeder, and the father-son duo of Rob and Chris Dyson sharing in the driving duties.
John Paul Jr. will bring his driving talent to the Jacobs Motorsports' SportsRacing Prototype entry. Paul Jr. has two Rolex 24 At Daytona victories, in addition to several series championships. He will co-drive with Michael Jacobs, Travis Duder and Todd Synder in the #06 Ford-powered Riley & Scott.
Twenty-five year racing veteran Paul Gentilozzi will partner up with another racing veteran, Scott Pruett, in the GTS class #3 Jaguar. Gentilozzi has several series championships to his credit, in addition to a 1994 Rolex 24 victory, while his co-driver Pruett has excelled in several forms of racing, including stock cars, sports cars and open wheel.
Another long-time road racer competing in this year's Rolex 24 will be Irv Hoerr, who holds the record for the most IMSA victories ever. Hoerr will race in the Sky Blue Racing #29 Mustang with Darin Brassfield, Jack Busch and Woodson Byron Duncan in the American GT class.
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.