Daytona 24: Chris Gleason preview

Gleason Joins Defending GT Winners For This Weekend's Rolex 24 JOHNSTOWN, Pa., Jan. 22 - Chris Gleason will not only compete in this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, the Johnstown, Pa.-based driver has a great...

Gleason Joins Defending GT Winners For This Weekend's Rolex 24

JOHNSTOWN, Pa., Jan. 22 - Chris Gleason will not only compete in this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, the Johnstown, Pa.-based driver has a great ride.

Gleason, who has been racing at the professional level for years in some of the most prestigious endurance sports car events in the world while making his living as chief executive officer and chairman of Gleason Financial, has been chosen to join the defending Rolex 24 GT winners, Alegra Motorsports. He will drive one of two Porsche GT3 Cup cars that are being fielded by the Coral Gables, Fla.-based team.

Gleason and his Porsche's co-drivers will campaign one of 42 GT entries this year in a total field of 67. It's the largest GT field ever in the 46-year history of this race, breaking last year's record of 41 GT entries. Gleason will be in car number 29.

The Rolex 24 is one of the most prestigious endurance sports car races in North America. It traditionally kicks off Speed Weeks at Daytona Beach, Fla., which culminates in the Daytona 500 in February. It attracts not only many top endurance sports car drivers but also top drivers from other forms of racing, like Indy 500 winners Dario Franchitti, Dan Wheldon, Helio Castroneves and NASCAR stars like Jimmie Johnson, Kurt Busch and Juan Pablo Montoya.

Last year the Alegra Motorsports/Fiorano Racing Porsche GT3 No. 22 won the GT class by a margin of only 7.072 seconds, leading for just 48 of the 626 laps it completed in the course of the 24 hours.

Although the race is very grueling, Gleason thrives on the challenge. He's competed in this event many times, as well as at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. (His best finish at Le Mans was fourth in the very fast LMP2 class.) Gleason was sixth in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in 2003. He's driven for many top endurance sports car teams, including Kevin Buckler's TRG Group, PTG Motorsports and Turner Motorsports. Most recently he's posted 10 podium finishes in 22 races with the latter team.

"The Rolex 24 is one of my favorite races, and I'm looking forward to being a part of Carlos de Quesada's team for it this year," Gleason said. "We will try to drive a smart race. Our first goal is always to finish. The old saying 'To finish first, first you must finish' is never truer than it is at the Rolex 24. It's a long race and anything can happen, but we'll try our best."

-credit: restart communications

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Turner Motorsport