Daytona 24: Pre-race notes

Racers ready for Rolex 24 at Daytona. DAYTONA BEACH (January 31, 2003) -- Rolex Sports Car Series drivers held their final practice sessions today for the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona. The next time the racers will take to Daytona's 3.56-mile road...

Racers ready for Rolex 24 at Daytona.

DAYTONA BEACH (January 31, 2003) -- Rolex Sports Car Series drivers held their final practice sessions today for the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona. The next time the racers will take to Daytona's 3.56-mile road course will be at the 1 p.m. Saturday start of the historic-twice-around-clock event.

"We're looking good. We've had no major problems. We've got some of our speed back. We're running new shock absorbers, and it was a little bit of a learning curve. We're finally getting it sorted out," said Hurley Haywood, who will be searching for his sixth Rolex 24 victory.

"Our concern is making it to the finish, but it's running reliably so far. We're planning on running a clean, smooth race. My plan at the start is to set a pace. If they want to pass me, fine, they're welcome to. I'll be happy running first, or tenth. We know what we have to do to keep the car in one piece," remarked Canadian Scott Maxwell, who will start the #88 Ford Focus Daytona Prototype of Multimatic from the pole.

Racing veteran Derek Bell will be looking for his fourth Rolex 24 win this weekend, teaming with his son Justin who clocked the quickest lap time during qualifying on Thursday in the Derhaag Motorsports #40 Corvette. "I've won it three times with Al Holbert, but I should have won it many times. This year, it's such an open field. I don't think it's been this wide open in 20 years. My car certainly can win it, but so can many others," remarked Bell.

For the foursome of drivers in the Cegwa Sport #2 Toyota FABCAR Daytona Prototype, this year's Rolex 24 is a first-time experience. All four drivers on the team have never raced in a 24-hour event, but are benefiting from the years of experience that their crew chief John Shapiro has.

"None of our drivers have driven in a 24-hour race. We are talking to a lot of people who have though in preparation," said team owner/driver Darius Grala. "John has been instrumental in not only getting our team and car ready, but our drivers prepared as well. It's comforting to know he knows what to expect."

The green flag will fall to mark the start of the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona at 1 p.m. ET. Tickets for the 41st Rolex 24 At Daytona are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at 386-253-RACE. SPEED Channel will provide 16 hours of live coverage of the Rolex 24 on Saturday, Feb. 1, 12:30 p.m.-9 p.m. ET, and Sunday, Feb. 2, 6 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. ET.

Additional information about the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Rolex Sports Car Series is available online at www.grandamerican.com.

-garra-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Darius Grala , Scott Maxwell , Al Holbert , Derek Bell