Jimmie Johnson sponsor named for Daytona 24H

Lowe's To Sponsor Jimmie Johnson In 2007 Daytona Rolex Races NASCAR Champ To Team With Riley-Matthews Motorsports In Daytona 24 Hours, July Race MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 5) -- Lowe's Companies, Inc. announced today it will sponsor Nextel Cup...

Lowe's To Sponsor Jimmie Johnson In 2007 Daytona Rolex Races
NASCAR Champ To Team With Riley-Matthews Motorsports In Daytona 24 Hours, July Race

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Dec. 5) -- Lowe's Companies, Inc. announced today it will sponsor Nextel Cup Champion Jimmie Johnson in both Grand-Am Rolex Series races at Daytona International Speedway in 2007.

Johnson will team with Riley-Matthews Motorsports for the Jan. 27 Rolex 24 At Daytona as well as the July 5 Brumos Porsche 250, both on the Daytona road course. Jim Matthews, Marc Goossens, and Ryan Hunter-Reay will serve as co-drivers in the No. 91 Pontiac Riley Daytona Prototype.

"This is going to be a lot of fun," Johnson said. "I wanted to do this deal for several reasons. First I want to win the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the experience will help me in road course racing and the Rolex Series is just a fun place to race. Lowe's has been such a great sponsor in NASCAR that it's pretty cool that I can go sports car racing with them."

The team begins testing on Jan. 4 at Daytona International Speedway in preparation for the 45th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The July race at Daytona is held the Thursday night before the Saturday NASCAR Nextel Cup race.

Johnson, 31, earned his first NASCAR Nextel Cup title in November capping a 2006 season that saw him earn four victories for Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson owns 23 Nextel Cup victories.

The El Cajon, Calif. native has competed two times in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. He finished second in 2005 and 28th in 2004 driving for Howard-Boss Motorsports.

"One of the coolest things I have ever done in my career is watching the sun come up over the Daytona Speedway at daybreak from behind the wheel of a prototype. That was such a beautiful sight and such a peaceful, cool feeling. I'm going to make sure I am in the car when the sun comes up this year."

Lowe's is a familiar sponsor to sports car fans as well as NASCAR fans. It sponsored Fernandez racing for a full season in Rolex competition in 2005, earning a trip to victory lane in the Mid-Ohio race.

"Lowe's is proud to have Jimmie back behind the wheel of a Lowe's car," said Bob Gfeller, Lowe's senior vice president of marketing and advertising. "Jimmie's fans in NASCAR and sports car fans all across the world are going to pay close attention to the Daytona 24, and we hope when it is over Jimmie and Riley-Matthews can add another trophy to their already crowded trophy cases."

Riley -- Matthews Motorsports is a sister company of Riley Technologies, LLC. Riley Technologies was formed by famed designer's Bob and Bill Riley. They have been a major force in all forms of motor racing over the last decade, building winning sports cars, IRL cars, and working in the NASCAR series. Bill and Bob Riley partnered with Jim Matthews in 2006 to form Riley -- Matthews Motorsports. Matthews is a veteran Endurance racer with multiple podium finishes at the Rolex 24 Hours.

"This has to be my best shot ever to win the Rolex 24, coming in with Jimmie, Marc, Ryan and teaming up with Bill and Bob Riley. I hope to win one of the famous Rolex Daytonas this year," said Jim Matthews.

Riley Technologies has built the winning car at the Rolex 24 at Daytona the last two seasons including one win with their own race team. A Riley Technologies chassis has won the championship the last three years.

"The Rolex 24 is a pretty special event to me and my family and the company," said owner Bill Riley. "We are very serious about winning and went out to find the best driver we could find. I think it is safe to say that when it comes to drivers we aren't going to do any better than Jimmie Johnson."

Riley said his company has been working for the last year with an eye toward the Rolex 24 race.

"Pretty much after the (2006) Rolex 24, we started working on it. We had the plan in place to start testing as soon as we could after the season. We think we have as good a shot as anyone to win."

The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series is the fastest-growing auto racing class in the world, leading a resurgence of major-league road racing in North America. It is sanctioned by the Grand American Road Racing Association, which also oversees the Grand-Am Cup Series.

Television coverage of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will be carried on SPEED Channel in 2007.

-credit: lowesracing.com

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Marc Goossens , Jimmie Johnson , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Jim Matthews , Bob Riley
Teams Hendrick Motorsports