Bell Motorsports Continues To Lead Field At Pre-Season Testing Stewart, Earnhardt Jr. Get First Laps In Daytona Prototype DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 3, 2004) -- Bell Motorsports, winners of the 2003 North American Road Racing Championship, ...
Bell Motorsports Continues To Lead Field At Pre-Season Testing
Stewart, Earnhardt Jr. Get First Laps In Daytona Prototype
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 3, 2004) -- Bell Motorsports, winners of the 2003 North American Road Racing Championship, continued to prove that it will stay a powerhouse in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series during pre-season testing at Daytona International Speedway. For the second day, the team's No. 54 Chevrolet-powered Doran JE-4 clocked the fastest lap time with a 1:48.311 lap at 118.326 mph, nearly two seconds quicker than the Daytona Prototypes track record.
The No. 54 Chevy is piloted by 2003 driver champion Terry Borcheller, Forest Barber, Andy Pilgrim and Milka Duno this weekend.
The No. 58 Red Bull Porsche FABCAR of Brumos Racing once again turned the second-fastest lap of the day with its 1:48.635 lap at 118.973 mph. The Red Bull machine's complete Rolex 24 At Daytona lineup is on hand for pre-season testing, including David Donohue, Darren Law, Sascha Maassen and Lucas Luhr.
The No. 01 Comp USA Lexus Riley of Chip Ganassi Racing was third on the leaderboard on Sunday with its 117.711 mph lap in 1:48.877. Drivers Max Papis and Scott Pruett, who will serve as the team's primary drivers for the entire 2004 season, are testing the car this weekend.
The Howard-Boss Motorsports No. 2 Chevrolet Crawford, sporting an all-star lineup of sports car veteran Andy Wallace and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series drivers Tony Stewart and Dale Earnhardt Jr., turned the fourth-fastest time with a 117.537 mph lap in 1:48.877. Sunday's afternoon session was the first time that Stewart and Earnhardt Jr. had a chance to get behind the wheel of the No. 2 Chevy.
"We got a good race car. We've got to really study it to improve it and get it more comfortable for me. We seem to be right where we need to be - right near the top of the (time) sheet," said Earnhardt Jr. "I was really looking forward to (racing in the Rolex 24). Driving for the Crawfords is a great honor. I'm just trying to get those nerves out, and get comfortable with the car and comfortable with the team, so I can really enjoy it. I'm still a little nervous with it right now."
"Max and all these people did a great job building this car. For guys like Junior, Jimmie Johnson and myself to get in there and, I don't know how many laps I ran, but in about 10 laps I ran a 51 flat. To be able to get in a car and go that quick that soon in it shows how comfortable the car is," remarked Stewart.
The Racer's Group, overall winners of the 2003 Rolex 24, recorded the fastest time in the GT class on Sunday. The team's No. 66 Porsche GT3 RS of Kevin Buckler, Jorg Bergmeister, Timo Bernhard and Patrick Long turned a 1:54.785 lap at 111.652 mph, more than a full second better than their 2003 qualifying time.
The AASCO Motorsports No. 16 Porsche GT3 Cup of Craig Stanton and David Murry clocked the quickest time in the Super Grand Sport (SGS) class with a 1:57.074 lap at 109.469 mph.
In Grand-Am Cup Series testing, Istook/Aines Motorsports once again led the field with its No. 04 Audi S4 recording a 2:06.299 lap at 101.473 mph, more than a second faster than the Grand Sport track record. Drivers Don Istook, Anders Hainer and Blake Rosser are sharing driving duties in the Audi during pre-season testing.
The No. 11 Mustang of Rehagen Racing had the second-fastest time with a 100.167 mph lap in 2:07.946.
Last year's Sport Touring II championship winner, Bill Fenton Motorsports, showed that it will also be a top contender in the Sport Touring division by clocking the fastest time in the class on Sunday. The team's No. 27 Acura RSX-S of Bill Fenton, Eric Curran and Bob Beeded turned a 2:14.437 lap at 95.33 mph.
SpeedSource, which led the class on Saturday with its new No. 70 Mazda RX-8, was the second-fastest entry in the Sport Touring class, recording a 2:14.321 lap at 95.413 mph.
Race fans can watch final testing sessions on Monday at Daytona International Speedway from the Oldfield Tower grandstands. Admission is free of charge and accessible through the lobby of DAYTONA USA.
The 42nd Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona will be run January 29 - February 1. Tickets are currently on sale and can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 386-253-RACE. The Rolex 24 will be broadcast LIVE on SPEED Channel.
Additional information on the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series pre-season testing and Rolex 24 At Daytona is available online at www.grandamerican.com.