Michael McDowell gets Champ Car ride

Rolex Series Rising Star Michael McDowell to Pull Double Duty with Champ Car Ride DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 14, 2005) -- Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series standout Michael McDowell will finish his 2005 racing season with a flourish,...

Rolex Series Rising Star Michael McDowell to Pull Double Duty with Champ Car Ride

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (October 14, 2005) -- Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series standout Michael McDowell will finish his 2005 racing season with a flourish, as in addition to completing the Rolex Series season with Finlay Motorsports and his No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley co-driver Memo Gidley, McDowell will also compete in the final two events of the 2005 Champ Car World Series.

Finlay Motorsports and Rocketsports Racing announced today that the 20-year-old McDowell will drive the No. 31 Rocketsports Racing Ford Lola in the Lexmark Indy 300 in Surfers Paradise, Australia on the weekend of October 21-23 and will also drive in the Gran Premio de Mexico on Sunday, November 6. The Mexico event will be McDowell's second in two days, as he will also close out the Rolex Series season in La Gran Final de la Serie Rolex Sports Car on Saturday, November 5 at the same Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City.

"I have a new level of respect for the guys who can drive a Champ Car for three hours at a time," McDowell said following a recent test with Rocketsports. "It's an extremely physical experience. Going back and forth between the two different types of cars, particularly in Mexico where I'll be driving both during the same weekend, will be a challenge. But with two of the best teams in motorsports today backing me up, I'm ready."

McDowell is currently ranked 12th in the Rolex Series Daytona Prototype driver standings on the strength of eight top-seven results in 12 starts this season. In July, he became the youngest driver in Daytona Prototype history to finish on the podium with a career-best second-place performance alongside Gidley in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park. McDowell is wrapping up his rookie season in Rolex Series competition after winning the 2004 Pro Formula Mazda North American Championship title.

"I consider Michael McDowell to be the finest young American driving talent racing in North America today," Finlay said. "He's just 20 years old, he's already won the championship in a highly competitive open-wheel series, and he has a bright career ahead of him. His performances this season in the Finlay Motorsports Rolex Series Daytona Prototype against some of the best and most experienced drivers from around the world demonstrate clearly that he is a champion in the making. I'm delighted to help provide him with this opportunity to showcase his talent with a competitive and professional Champ Car team like Rocketsports."

When he returns to Daytona Prototype competition in Mexico City, McDowell will join a host of other Daytona Prototype drivers who have Champ Car experience on their resumes. Among those drivers are Gidley and his other Finlay Motorsports teammate, Michael Valiante, as well as 2004 Daytona Prototype co-champions Scott Pruett and Max Papis, Pruett's 2005 co-driver Luis Diaz, two-time Rolex Series race winner Christian Fittipaldi, and Champ Car and Formula 1 veterans Stefan Johansson and Roberto Moreno.

Champ Car champions Paul Tracy, Sebastien Bourdais and Cristiano da Matta, as well as championship-winning team owner Paul Newman also drove Daytona Prototypes in the 2005 Rolex 24 At Daytona against a field of world class sports car racers, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series superstars and Indy Racing League IndyCar Series champions.

Next up for the Rolex Series is La Gran Final de la Series Rolex Sports Car on the weekend of November 3-5 in Mexico City. SPEED Channel will televise the 2005 Rolex Series season finale at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez live beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET on Saturday, November 5. Tickets are available by visiting www.ticketmaster.com.mx.

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Stefan Johansson , Memo Gidley , Max Papis , Roberto Moreno , Paul Tracy , Scott Pruett , Michael Valiante , Luis Diaz , Paul Newman , Michael McDowell , Sébastien Bourdais