Nextel 250 Offers South Florida Car Lovers A Little of Everything DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 22, 2002) -- Whether an admirer of American iron or exotic imports, the Rolex Sports Car Series Nextel 250, part of the 20th Anniversary Grand Prix...
Nextel 250 Offers South Florida Car Lovers A Little of Everything
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 22, 2002) -- Whether an admirer of American iron or exotic imports, the Rolex Sports Car Series Nextel 250, part of the 20th Anniversary Grand Prix of Miami, will offer a little bit of everything for South Florida race fans and auto enthusiasts. Some of the most unique sports car in the world will race with traditional favorites on Homestead-Miami Speedway's road course immediately following the Indy Racing League event, March 2.
For the fans of the exotic, the Rolex Sports Car Series' premier SportsRacing Prototype category will offer plenty of appeal. Leading the lineup of prototypes will be the 2002 Rolex 24 At Daytona winner - the #27 Lista Dallara. The Italian-built Dallara chassis was a favorite with the fans in Daytona even before its Judd engine took it to Victory Lane.
English-based Lola will have two types of chassis running on Homestead's road course. Last year, Intersport Racing's #37 Banana Joe's Judd-powered Lola gave South Florida fans a thrill when it battled for the overall lead in the final laps of the race, while three of the smaller Lola chassis swept the podium in the SportsRacing Prototype II class. The Banana Joe's Lola is back looking for the win it narrowly missed last year, and last year's SRPII winner, the Archangel Motorsport Services Nissan-engined Lola, will try to defend its title from the Rand Racing #8 Nissan Lola that is on a two-race winning streak.
Another exotic breed of sports car looking for the SRPII win will be the Italian Picchio chassis. The #07 Momentum Motorcars/USI BMW-powered Picchio is the first of its kind to race in the United States, making its racing debut at the Rolex 24.
Two American manufacturers will also have their own unique prototypes racing in the premier SRP class. Indianapolis-based Riley & Scott saw one of its cars capture the checkered flag at last year's Nextel 250 and hopes that the Miracle Motorsports #6 Ford-engined Riley & Scott will put the manufacturer back there again. But North Carolina-based Crawford Race Cars is still looking for its first victory and should put up a fierce battle for the overall win. The same race car driven by NASCAR Winston Cup driver Tony Stewart at the Rolex 24 will race at the Nextel 250. This time it will be piloted by two-time Rolex Series champion James Weaver of the Dyson Racing Team.
Although the prototype classes offer fans cars like they have never seen before, the GT classes hold a more familiar appearance. Several of the sports cars competing in the GT ranks look similar to those you might see on the highway. Although similar in appearance, under the hood they are purebred race cars. Europeans favorites like the BMW M3, Porsche GT3 R and Ferrari 360GT will run with Chevrolet Corvettes and Ford Mustangs in the three GT classes.
But not all the GT cars have the appearance of productions vehicles. There is still plenty of exotic appeal from the Saleen S7R, Mosler MT900R and Marco Mantis that will all be present in the GT ranks.
Fans can get their first glimpse of racing action during practice sessions at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Thursday, Feb. 28. Qualifying for the Nextel 250 will be held on Friday, March 1 at 2 p.m., and the sports car racing excitement will kickoff at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 2.
Tickets are available for the Nextel 250, part of 20th Anniversary Grand Prix of Miami, on the Homestead-Miami Speedway website at www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com. They may also be purchased by calling 305-230-RACE or by visiting any Ticketmaster outlet.
Additional information about the Rolex Sports Car Series is available online at www.grand-am.com.