Daytona 24: Henri Zogaib runs for KidsFinishFirst

Kids Finish First When World-Renowned Driver Takes the Track for Florida Children's Hospital Zogaib and Team Race for Victory on and off the Track at Rolex 24 January 25, 2008 -- Daytona Beach, FL - When race car driver Henri Zogaib puts on...

Kids Finish First When World-Renowned Driver Takes the Track for Florida Children's Hospital

Zogaib and Team Race for Victory on and off the Track at Rolex 24

January 25, 2008 -- Daytona Beach, FL - When race car driver Henri Zogaib puts on his helmet and prepares to start the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Saturday, January 26, he and his team of co-drivers will race for more than the grand prize trophy and custom Rolex Oyster Perpetual Cosmograph Daytona watches. This year, Zogaib and co-drivers Allan McNish, Lucas Luhr, and Mike Rockenfeller will race the No. 2 "KidsFinishFirst.org" Pontiac-Riley Daytona Prototype to benefit Florida Children's Hospital and kids all over Central Florida and around the globe.

A racer who already has several starts in North America's biggest endurance event, the reason for Zogaib's deep commitment to Florida Children's Hospital can usually be found just a few feet away from him.

"This is a cause that is very close to my heart," said Zogaib. "My son Jake came into the world two-and-a-half months ahead of schedule, and there is no question in my mind that the reason he's here right now to watch this race is because of the amazing people at Florida Children's Hospital."

Henri, with wife Jenni and their children Jake and Jenna, recently gave a $1.5 million gift to Florida Children's Hospital. Henri has also joined the Florida Hospital Foundation's Executive Board.

"When Jenni and I left the hospital with Jake in our arms, I said 'I will be back,' and I was also blessed to have my daughter Jenna delivered at the same hospital. So now I am back to try to do whatever I can; to not only show my gratitude, but also to assist the hospital in continuing to help even more people in the future. This is the biggest project I've ever been a part of in my racing career, and I am just amazed at the response we've already had. "

The No. 2 "KidsFinishFirst.org" Pontiac-Riley Daytona Prototype has been redesigned and decorated with colorful artwork to promote Florida Children's Hospital. The newly decorated car will be unveiled at the Rolex 24 At Daytona. When people visit KidsFinishFirst.org they have an opportunity to learn more about the race, Florida Children's Hospital, and how they can help support this important cause.

"This is an amazing gift that Henri is giving to Florida Children's Hospital and the children of Central Florida and beyond," said Terry Newmyer, Florida Hospital Foundation Chief Development Officer. "Not only has he committed a seven-figure donation, but he will join the efforts of Walt Disney World, to help Florida Hospital care for pediatric patients and help build the children's hospital of the future. We're tremendously excited about the opportunity to raise awareness of Florida Children's Hospital, KidsFinishFirst.org and to develop a new group of active supporters that will allow us to continue to provide healing for all children who need it."

Zogaib has joined with SAMAX Motorsport, which led late in the Rolex 24 At Daytona last year on the way to a thrilling second place finish. This year, the team is one of the favorites to win.

"This driver line up is remarkable, and as a Florida-based team, we couldn't be more excited to be a part of this effort supporting Florida Children's Hospital," said SAMAX team owner Peter Baron. "We came tremendously close to a win last year, and want nothing more than to bring them a victory this time around."

The twice around the clock event got underway on Thursday, January 24, with practice and qualifying, and the race is slated for a 1:30 PM ET green flag on Saturday, January 26. The opening ninety minutes of the event will be carried LIVE on FOX network, before moving to the Speed Channel, where millions of people will have the opportunity to see the race and the car that will raise awareness and funds for Florida Children's Hospital.

-credit: hz

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Allan McNish , Peter Baron , Mike Rockenfeller , Henri Zogaib