Father and Sons to Race Together in 2011 Starting with Grand-Am 200 at Daytona Jan. 28
JOHNSTOWN, Pa., Jan. 18 - A father and his two sons will drive in Grand-Am's Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge series this year, which starts Friday afternoon, Jan. 28 at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla. 2 Veteran Chris Gleason of Johnstown, Pa. and his sons - Chris Gleason Jr., 29, of Wayne, Pa. and Kevin Gleason, 23, also of Johnstown - will drive APR Motorsport's No. 181 Volkswagen GTI throughout the 10-race season.
The two brothers are scheduled to share the driving duties at Daytona while their father offers support and guidance from the pits.
Their car will be one of 43 entries in the Street Tuner (ST) class. There are also 28 entries in the Grand Sport (GS) class for a total of 71 cars entered in the endurance sports car race as of press time, so the action will be fast and furious.
The Gleasons will determine their driving roster for the other nine events based on their individual work schedules at the Gleason Group and their previous experiences at the tracks involved. "Chris Jr. will be a father in July, so there will be other demands on his free time," Chris Gleason noted. "It's my first grandchild, and I'm pumped about it!"
Daytona's 2-hour-and-30-minute race, which starts at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time Friday, Jan. 28 and can be followed live on grand-am.com, will be broadcast on a tape-delayed basis at 3 p.m. Eastern Saturday, Feb. 5 on SPEED. The Grand-Am 200 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race supports the Rolex 24, which begins at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Saturday, Jan. 29.
"Driving with my sons is a dream come true," said Chris Gleason, a veteran endurance sports car driver who has driven at Daytona and on all of North America's most famous road courses many times. He's even competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans during his distinguished career. He and co-driver Bill Auberlen of Redondo Beach, Calif., started 51st and finished second in the Grand-Am 200 at Daytona in 2006.
"Our strategy is to be consistent, not take any chances, try to stay out of trouble, have good pit stops, and hope that the race comes to us," Gleason said. "APR is a very good team; they know what they're doing."
APR Motorsport operates out of a 36,000-square-foot facility in Opelika, Ala. In addition to the Gleasons' No. 181 it will field an Audi S4 (No. 91) in the GS class and an additional GTI (No. 171) in ST.
"I couldn't be more excited to be contesting the 2011 season with APR Motorsport," said Kevin Gleason. He finished sixth in last year's Volkswagen Jetta TDI Cup series, third out of 16 rookies in the rookie standings, and was voted that series' most-improved driver.
"I knew from the moment I met the team that this was the place I wanted to be in 2011," added Kevin Gleason, who received a degree in business management last month from Niagara University. "With APR's state-of-the art facility to the quality people who work with the team, I'm looking forward to working extremely hard and achieving some great results.
"To be running the season co-driving with my father and brother is just awesome," he added. "It's something I could have only dreamed of, and to have that dream come true is really special. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Both of the Gleason brothers have extensive experience in the SCCA and NASA Spec Miata series. Chris Gleason Jr. finished third in his most-recent race, a SCCA Spec Miata national event at Watkins Glen, N.Y. last summer. They recently tested the GTI at Talladega Gran Prix Raceway, a 1.4-mile road course near APR's headquarters, to prepare for Daytona.
"Having the opportunity to drive for a high-caliber team such as APR is an incredible opportunity for us," said Chris Gleason Jr. "Over the last few seasons APR Motorsport/VW DriverGear has proven to be one of the most professional and consistent teams in ST, and I look forward to doing my part to keep that tradition alive in 2011.
"The combination of racing an APR-prepared GTI along with my brother Kevin and father makes the upcoming season even more special," Chris Jr. added. "Kevin and I grew up traveling with our father to many of his races. Having the opportunity for the three of us to team together and compete in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge is going to be awesome. Daytona can't get here fast enough!"
In addition to Daytona, the Gleasons will race at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Homestead, Fla. (March 4-5), Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. (April 7-9), Virginia Int'l Raceway in Alton, Va. (May 13-14), Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. (May 27-28), Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. (June 3-4), Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. (June 23-24), Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Salinas, Calif. (July 8-9), New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, N.J. (July 22-24) and the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio (Sept. 16-17).
"Our goal is for the three of us to share a ride in the 2012 Rolex 24," Chris Gleason added.
-source: restart communications