DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 26, 2000) -- America's top sports car drivers will be looking to join a list of prestigious names in Thursday's Paul Revere 250 at Daytona International Speedway. The Grand American Road Racing Association is reviving...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (June 26, 2000) -- America's top sports car drivers will be looking to join a list of prestigious names in Thursday's Paul Revere 250 at Daytona International Speedway. The Grand American Road Racing Association is reviving the famed event, which had many famous winners from 1967 through 1986.
"As a kid, I remember reading about the Paul Revere 250 every year, and I always wanted to go," said Butch Leitzinger, who will co-drive a Lola with Scott Schubot. "I'm glad the Grand American Road Racing Association has resurrected that historic race, and that I'm going to try to join the list of famous winners."
Leitzinger, coming off a second place finish in Saturday's NASCAR Busch Series Lysol 200 at Watkins Glen International, joins a number of Grand-Am drivers who will be competing in their first Paul Revere 250. James Weaver, Didier Theys, Jack Baldwin, George Robinson, Andy Wallace, Mauro Baldi, Mimmo Schiattrella, Ralf Kelleners, Oliver Gavin and Jon Field are among the first-time drivers looking to claim the overall vicory.
Meanwhile, Dyson Racing drivers John Paul Jr. (second in 1980) and Elliott Forbes-Robinson (third in GTU in 1976) will be among the few returning veterans who have raced in the original event.
"It's great to bring the Paul Revere 250 back, along with the Pepsi 400 NASCAR Winston Cup race," said Forbes-Robinson. "We can give the NASCAR fans the opportunity to enjoy some great sports car racing."
Indy Car legend Parnelli Jones won the inaugural Paul Revere 250 in 1967, averaging 105.033 mph in a Mercury Cougar to win the SCCA-sanctioned race. Another Indy Car star, Lloyd Ruby, won the following year, also driving a Cougar in the race that was jointly sanctioned by NASCAR and the SCCA.
From 1969 through 1972, the race was part of the NASCAR Grand American tour. NASCAR driver Pete Hamilton won the 1969 classic in a Camaro, seven months prior to winning the Daytona 500. Jim Paschal won the 1970 event in a Javelin, while two-time NASCAR champion Buck Baker made it three in a row for the stock car contingent, winning the 1971 event in a Firebird.
Vince Gimondo won the 1972 race in a Camaro.
The Paul Revere 250 was sanctioned by the International Motor Sports Association from 1973 through 1983, as part of the IMSA Camel GT championship. Gene Felton dominated the initial event in Camaro, leading all but two laps to outdistance the Porsche Carrera of Hurley Haywood and Peter Gregg.
Haywood returned in 1974 to score his first of four Paul Revere 250 victories. Haywood was joined by Charles Mendez in 1979, Mauricio De Narvaez in 1981, and Preston Henn in 1983. Gregg was a solo winner in 1978, in his trademark Brumos Porsche. Other IMSA winners in the July 4 classic were Hans Stuck (1975 in a BMW), Al Holbert (1976 in a Chevrolet Monza), George Dyer (1977 in a Porsche), John Fitzpatrick (1980 in a Porsche), and Danny Ongais and Ted Field (1982 in a Chevrolet Lola T-600).
The 1984 Paul Revere 250 was a Trans-Am race, run in two heats, with Willy T. Ribbs giving Jack Roush the victory in a Mercury Capri. The final two runnings of the Paul Revere 250 were as a Championship Cup Series motorcycle race. Larry Shorts and Gregg Smrz won in 1985, while Merrill Moen and Otis Lance combined to win the following year. After being dormant for 14 years, the Paul Revere 250 returns to the unique Daytona circuit, which utilizes the ultra-fast high banks with a tricky infield road course. Practice begins at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 28, with qualifying beginning at 9:15 p.m. The 70 lap, 250-mile race will be held under the lights on Thursday, immediately following the 8 p.m. Bud Pole Qualifying session for the Pepsi 400.
Tickets are still available for the Paul Revere 250/Pepsi 400 weekend at Daytona International Speedway. For information, call the Speedway Ticket Office at (904) 253-7223, or visit the web site, www.daytonaintlspeedway.com. For additional Grand-Am information, visit www.grand-am.com.