Flash! It just started raining as I was about to post this…not heavy or hard…yet. And it’s 71 degrees F/21.66C.
There are waves of activity going on in the garages and around the track before the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Early on the queues began for fans awaiting their turn for autographs from the drivers of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No.16. The sun rose at 7:20 am over the far grandstands and it was a stunning rosy sight. The clouds soon covered over, but it wasn’t that cold. The cloud cover held in the heat and it’s been in the sixties all morning. Still no rain or thunder showers, although there was one failed feeble attempt at a spritz.
The first wave in the garage was early arriving teams scuttling around setting up and getting ready. The second wave was race guests, poseurs, fans, white-garbed flag marshals and race officials, and others. By the time the third wave arrived, one took his/her life in hands trying to walk in the garages because of all the hustling pit and race carts, golf carts and other motorized vehicles. The garage was full of tours, groups being led around while the mysteries of the race garage were unveiled. All very colorful, noisy and busy.
On the track were various historic racing cars doing Milestone laps, the Twenty-Four Minutes of Daytona historic race, and other track activities. The Heritage event had an impressive list of cars on track, some actual 24 Hour winners and others perhaps race cars but not winners. That’s still being researched.
AT 8 am the official Rolex 24 grid was released. The three Daytona Prototypes which didn’t qualify are gridded in numerical order, No.2 Beyer Racing Chevrolet Crawford, No.95 Crown Royal/NPN BMW Riley and No.99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley in positions 13-15. The GT class will start thirty-seconds later. Beyer Racing changed an engine after qualifying which technically means it has to start at the back of its field – going from P13 to P15. However, since BOB STALLINGS wants his car to start last, we’ll see. Stay tuned.
There are 44 not 45 cars on the grid. Missing will be Sigalsport No.08 Ferrari F430 Challenge GT. The beleaguered car made a few laps in final qualifying and would have started last of the field. It has officially withdrawn for mechanical reasons. Drivers ROGER YASUKAWA and owner GENE SIGAL will drive in the No.52 Wil Mar Racing Ferrari F430 Challenge, replacing FILLIP MARCHINO and JAY WILTON. All four drivers hail from Los Angeles CA.
The race starts at 3:30 PM EST and runs for 24 hours, with 16 hours of live coverage on SPEED TV in the United States. SPEED has coverage planned for other countries, but details aren’t known at this point. Grand-Am has international TV partners which include Network 10 in Australia, SPEED Latin America and ESPN International. In the UK Eurosport, which broadcasts on the Sky cable and satellite platform, has eight million viewers and is broadcast in another twenty countries across and around Europe, providing 28 million viewers the good fortune to watch the race. Eurosport will air six hours – two at the start, two in the middle and two and the end. As Eurosport is a multi-sport channel, it has to compete with a dozen other high-profile sports.