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Highcroft Daytona Preview

Dayton, Lally to Compete at Daytona This Weekend DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 27 - Highcroft Racing's Duncan Dayton has a ride in the premier Can-Am class for the 37th annual Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona International Speedway this...

Dayton, Lally to Compete at Daytona This Weekend

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Jan. 27 - Highcroft Racing's Duncan Dayton has a ride in the premier Can-Am class for the 37th annual Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona at Daytona International Speedway this Saturday and Sunday - and it's a very good one.

The U.S. Formula 2000 and vintage racing star will be a member of the Support Net Racing team, co-driving with car owner Scott Schubot of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; Henry Camferdam of Indianapolis, Ind.; and Indy Racing League driver Eliseo Salazar of Hollywood, Fla. That team's Support Net Ford Riley & Scott No. 8 was the fifth-fastest overall in recent testing sessions on the 3.56-mile road course at the famed speedway.

In addition, both Dayton and his Highcroft Racing Formula 2000 teammate, Andy Lally, will compete in a two-hour vintage race at Daytona on Friday beginning at 3:30 p.m. They'll share Dayton's yellow Chevron in that race.

In test sessions earlier this month at Daytona, the fastest lap posted by the Can-Am team that Dayton will be a member of was a 1:42.341 (125.228 mph), just a tick off the leading Ferrari's time of 1:41.015 (126.871 mph). A total of 64 cars participated in the test, and only four cars (two Ferraris and two other Riley & Scotts) were faster than Dayton's car.

Dayton, of North Salem, N.Y., drove on Monday during the three-day testing session. His goal was to get comfortable in the car. "I probably got about 25 laps in, and I was pleased with the car," he said. "It was easier to drive than I thought it would be. The team is excellent too," he added. "The car is being prepared by Phil Creighton and the staff of Transatlantic Racing. But anything and everything can happen in a 24-hour race; just finishing would be an accomplishment."

A new twist to the race this year is that the track's new state-of-the-art lighting system will be used for this event for the first time. Daytona's electrical and maintenance staff has been directed to turn on 20 percent of the system's perimeter lighting just before dusk Saturday night, and leave it on throughout the night until the sun rises again Sunday morning. This will only affect the sections of the track that the grandstands flank. The infield section will be as dark as it has been in the past, illuminated primarily by the race cars' headlights.

Although this car is new to him, this is not Dayton's first experience on Daytona's high banks. That's not the case for Lally, who will be making his first start at Daytona in any kind of car in Friday's vintage-car race.

"I've been trying so hard to get a chance to drive at Daytona, and now it's finally going to happen," said Lally, of Northport, N.Y. "Maybe if we do well in the vintage race, somebody will put me in their car for the Rolex 24 too. To say I'm looking forward to this is an understatement; I can't wait! I probably know the least about this vintage race than any other race I've ever been in, but we have practice on Thursday and Friday before qualifying on Friday morning and the race on Friday afternoon, so we'll just give it our best shot and see how it goes. I'm grateful that Duncan gave me this opportunity and I'm thrilled to be racing at Daytona, especially on the same weekend as the Rolex 24."

The Rolex 24, America's premier road racing endurance event, is the first stop in the 1999 United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC). The green flag is scheduled to wave at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

ESPN2 will cover the start and the finish live with broadcasts on Saturday from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. and on Sunday from 7 a.m. until 1:30 p.m.

A 90-minute highlights show is also scheduled for ESPN the following Saturday night, Feb. 6, at 12:30 a.m.

All times are Eastern Standard.

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Series GT
Drivers Duncan Dayton , Eliseo Salazar , Andy Lally , Henry Camferdam