News and notes 2004-08-19

Rolex Roundup - August 19, 2004 News, Notes & Quotes from the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 19, 2004) -- Officials from Virginia International Raceway and SunTrust Banks Inc. announced yesterday...

Rolex Roundup - August 19, 2004
News, Notes & Quotes from the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (August 19, 2004) -- Officials from Virginia International Raceway and SunTrust Banks Inc. announced yesterday that SunTrust has signed on to become the presenting sponsor of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race at the venue, which will now be known as the VIR 400 presented by SunTrust. The race is scheduled for the weekend of October 1-3, 2004.

"We are thrilled to have the support of SunTrust," VIR general manager Cal Frye said. "They are a vibrant, forward-looking company and they totally understand the value of motorsports, both as a form of entertainment and as a way to market their products and services. We think SunTrust is a perfect partner for VIR and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship."

SunTrust is extremely active in motorsports and the Rolex Sports Car Series in particular. SunTrust is the "Official Bank of the Grand American Road Racing Association," is the sponsor of the Rolex Series' "SunTrust Improve Your Position Award" and is the sponsor of the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley driven by Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli. SunTrust was also recently named as the Official Bank of NASCAR.

"SunTrust Mid-Atlantic is pleased to join forces with VIR to present and promote the VIR 400 as part of the Grand American Rolex Series," said SunTrust Mid-Atlantic Region director of marketing Michael Newbrand. "We see our presenting sponsorship as a logical extension of the SunTrust Racing team's participation in Grand-Am racing. It is a way for us to provide our clients as well as the general public a chance to enjoy this exciting sport at, arguably, the most beautiful road course in North America--all right in our own backyard."

Tickets for the VIR 400 presented by SunTrust are available by calling 1-888-RACE099, ext. 101 or by visiting


In advance of their participation in the upcoming Miami 250 on September 12, JMB Racing is giving Miami-area journalists a "Red Driving Experience" at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Tuesday, August 24. JMB will have three Ferrari 355 Challenge race cars at the 2.3-mile speedway road course, as well as the No. 11 JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena that will compete for the GT class victory in the Miami 250. American driver Matt Plumb--who is scheduled to drive the No. 11 in the Miami 250--will run hot laps with each of the invited journalists throughout the day. Fans interested in participating in an upcoming "Red Driving Experience" are encouraged to visit and for more information.


No. 02 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-driver Jimmy Morales will join many notable award nominees at the end of the year for the second annual Premios Fox Sports, an awards ceremony that celebrates the accomplishments of Latin American athletes. Morales has been nominated in the category of "Outstanding Latin American Motor Sport Driver" joining fellow Mexican drivers Michel Jourdain Jr. and Mario Dominguez from the Champ Car World Series, Formula 3000 driver Jose Maria Lopez from Argentina and Colombian Formula 1 superstar Juan Pablo Montoya. Other notable Latin American athletes to be nominated for Premios Fox Sports awards include Major League Baseball stars Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, Albert Pujois and Vladimir Guerrero, National Baskeball Association standout Manu Ginobli, and boxing great Oscar de la Hoya. The awards are scheduled for December 15, 2004 at the Jackie Gleason Theater of Performing Arts in Miami Beach, Fla. The ceremony will be televised in the United States through Fox Sports Espanol and throughout Latin America on Fox Sports Latin America.


The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype category will have some unique exposure this weekend during the famous Woodward Dream Cruise through suburban Detroit. The No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing Pontiac Crawford driven by Stephan Gregoire and Birmingham, Michigan-native Doug Goad will be on display at his wife, Diane's, Spiralz Jewelry in Birmingham. Spiralz is a sponsor of the car, and fans will have the opportunity to meet Doug Goad and sit in the car. Raffles will also be held, giving fans a chance to win an original diecast model of the No. 09 machine or Spirit of Daytona/Spiralz team shirts.


Wasting no time since last Friday's announcement that Hoosier Racing Tire Corp. will be the exclusive tire supplier to the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series beginning next year, three Daytona Prototypes and four Daytona Prototype drivers participated in early testing of the new rubber on Wednesday and Thursday at Watkins Glen International. Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Burt Frisselle--who earned their Rolex Series career-best result last Friday with a second-place run in the Sahlen's 200 at The Glen--drove the Hoosier-shod No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus Doran, Kelly Collins tested the new tires on the No. 81 Motorsports BMW Doran, and Scott Maxwell tried out the Hoosiers on a Ford-powered Multimatic chassis.

Over two days, the cars logged upwards of 1,100 miles, using both the 2.45-mile Watkins Glen short course and the 3.4-mile long circuit. Although Hoosier had done single-car, private Daytona Prototype testing previously, this week's runs was the first public outing for the tires.

"We're probably ahead of where we thought we were with the tire," said Hoosier Tire Product Manager Mike Kraemer. "Basically, we cut one whole step out of the process, and we can do some small production runs before our next test. We have a solid direction and the drivers gave us good feedback. We have something suitable for the series right now, and we have enough time to make it even better."

Frisselle was equally pleased with the initial performance of the Hoosiers and was grateful for the opportunity to participate in the test.

"I feel that the test went excellent," Frisselle said. "I'm really excited to be driving on Hoosier tires next year. They're very easy to drive and provide very good grip. More than anything, it was great for me to develop a relationship with Hoosier Tire. I was really impressed from my first lap out."

Kraemer said that Hoosier plans another test with up to six teams at Homestead-Miami Speedway on the Monday following the Miami 250 on September 12. He also explained that Hoosier and the teams were hoping for showers at Watkins Glen International to test their rain tires, but the opportunity didn't materialize despite the weatherman's forecast for rain.

"We're all sitting here at the race track wondering when the heck we ever wanted rain," Kraemer said. "We'll have to get rain tire testing done somewhere along the way."


Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing