Daytona Prototype Field Continues Growth With Two Additional Riley Chassis Entered For Season Finale DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 20, 2004) -- The Daytona Prototype field and Indianapolis-based Riley Technologies' chances of winning the 2004 ...
Daytona Prototype Field Continues Growth With Two Additional Riley Chassis Entered For Season Finale
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 20, 2004) -- The Daytona Prototype field and Indianapolis-based Riley Technologies' chances of winning the 2004 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype chassis constructors' championship have been bolstered in recent days, as two additional teams have announced their intentions to run Riley MKXI chassis in the Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend at California Speedway on October 29-31.
As it pursues Daytona Prototype team and driver championships and an engine manufacturer title for Lexus at the 2004 season finale in California, CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing will run a third Lexus-powered Riley. Meanwhile Auburn, California-based Margraf Racing is set to make its Rolex Series debut in its home state with a Pontiac Riley.
CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing--which has fielded the championship-leading No. 01 Lexus Riley for co-drivers Scott Pruett and Max Papis and the No. 02 Lexus Riley for Mexican Rolex Series rookies Luis Diaz and Jimmy Morales--announced earlier this week that it will campaign a third entry in California. The No. 8 CompUSA Lexus Riley will be shared by 2003 Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon and his Target Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Darren Manning.
Dixon will be making his second Rolex Series appearance of 2004, as he also shared the No. 01 machine with Papis, Pruett and Morales in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona in February. The quartet finished sixth in the Daytona Prototype category and 10th overall in the legendary, twice-around-the-clock race. Dixon will divide his time between California Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, where he will compete in the final round of the 2004 Crown Royal International Race of Champions (IROC) event on Saturday, October 30.
"The 24 Hours At Daytona was a good first-time introduction to endurance racing for me," Dixon said. "We had a fair race at Daytona but the CompUSA team, along with Lexus and Riley Technologies, has really worked hard and improved from that initial race and that really shows in how very successful their first season has been. It will be really interesting to compare the experience. I've never run on the Fontana road course, but I'm really looking forward to it. The team has got a championship on their mind and it'll be great to be a part of it."
Because of Dixon's IROC responsibilities, Manning--who will make his Rolex Series debut at California Speedway--will be tasked with qualifying the No. 8 machine.
"I expect it to be great fun, but we are certainly taking this very seriously," Manning said. "It will be very competitive out there and we'll do our best to run with the leaders. I'm not at all sure what to expect, but I plan on getting a lot of practice in. It'll be fun to be paired up with Scott, and we both have a lot of road course experience going for us. Of course, we have the added benefit of running for a CompUSA team that has had a pretty successful run this season."
Whereas the entry for Dixon and Manning is an extension of the existing CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing program, the Pontiac-powered Riley of Margraf Racing is entirely new to the Rolex Sports Car Series. The team--which cut its teeth in the Toyota Atlantic Championship--will field a Pontiac Riley for Rolex Series newcomer George Nolte and a co-driver that will be announced in the near future. Margraf Racing has diligently put its new Daytona Prototype through testing paces, most recently on October 13 at Infineon Raceway in Northern California.
"It was great returning home and testing at a track that we are familiar with," said Margraf Racing owner Bill Margraf. "We have many years of testing at Infineon and it was very encouraging to see how easily the Pontiac Riley improved when we made changes to the setup."
While Nolte participated in successful "shakedown" runs of the new car at Putnam Park near Indianapolis last month, the Infineon Raceway tests allowed 2004 SCCA Formula Atlantic national champion Robert Stallings, former Trans-Am Series champion Greg Pickett and 2004 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 class winner Rick Sutherland to get a feel for the car with an eye toward the future.
"What a neat car," said Pickett, whose sentiments were echoed by Stallings and Sutherland. "This car is a blast to drive. I need to take a close look at this class."
The additional entries from CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing and Margraf Racing brings the total number of Riley chassis on the Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend entry list to five. In its first year of Daytona Prototype competition, Riley leads Crawford Race Cars of Denver, N.C.--which designs and builds the Crawford DP03--in the chassis manufacturer point standings by 24 points (356-332) heading into Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend.
Grand American Road Racing Association, which sanctions the Rolex Sports Car Series and the Grand-Am Cup Series, is one of the fastest growing motorsports organizations in the United States. Established in 1999, Grand American's stated goal is to bring stability to professional sports car road racing in North America. The 12-race 2004 Rolex Series schedule and the 10-race Grand-Am Cup calendar deliver professional sports car racing to many key markets throughout North America in addition to being televised in the United States and Canada on SPEED Channel and distributed globally through ESPN International. With title sponsorship support from Rolex Watch USA, the Rolex Sports Car Series showcases emerging and legendary drivers from around the globe and thoroughbred racing machines from the industry's leading constructors and the world's top automobile manufacturers. Learn more about Grand American at www.grandamerican.com.