It’s Saturday at Daytona International Speedway and it’s warm and sunny, with a nice breeze. The weather is picture perfect and there are people with cameras and smart phones everywhere for the 49th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, put on by the Grand-American Rolex Sports Car Series.
The Rolex drivers are all lined up around the Quad, table by table, team by team, signing autographs and posing for pictures with the multitudes of fans.
One new face at the table is Indycar driver, E.J. VISO, who officially added to the last minute Daytona Prototype entry of Starworks – its third car. The drivers when the car late entered Thursday were ENZO POTOLICCIO, ALEX POPOW, ROMAIN INNATE, and GLYNN GEDDIE. Viso said he got the call Wednesday night and flew in Thursday in time for a few laps of night practice. The car was qualified by Potoliccio, and will start sixteenth.
JOIE CHITWOOD, President of Daytona International Speedway, announced that the 2012 Rolex 24 at Daytona will be celebrating its Golden Anniversary, complete with new gold logo and focus. The goal is to locate and invite every one of the past winning cars and drivers whenever possible. The theme is “Where in the World are the Rolex Winning Cars?”
The location of many past winners is known, and a team is already in place working on locating the ones which haven’t been found. Today’s announcement is an open invitation for the start of that search for those who have participated over the years.
Chitwood was smilingly mum about what kind of Rolex watch will be given to next year’s winners – we’ll have to come and see. He did hint it would be a special watch.
Chitwood promised that this would be a story line all year long, with stories on each car and people, as they are found. Makes me think of a famous song, with a new title – Fifty Ways to Find a Winner.
The in-car cameras for the Rolex 24 have been determined, six for each of the two classes.
01 – Chip Ganassi Racing BMW Riley – SCOTT PRUETT, MEMO ROJAS, GRAHAM RAHAL, JOEY HAND
02 – Chip Ganassi Racing BMW Riley – SCOTT DIXON, JUAN PABLO MONTOYA, DARIO FRANCHITTI, JAMIE McMURRAY
7 – Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley- JAN HEYLEN, DOUGLAS PETERSON, R.J. VALENTINE, JARED BEYER, SCOTT MAYER
10 – Sun Trust Racing Chevrolet Dallara – MAX ANGELELLI, WAYNE TAYLOR, RICKY TAYLOR, BRISCOE
55 – Level 5 Motorsports BMW Riley – SCOTT TUCKER, CHRISTOPHE BOUCHUT, LUIS DIAZ, MARK WILKINS
95 – Level 5 Motorsports BMW Riley – RYAN HUNTER-REAY, SCOTT TUCKER, RICHARD WESTBROOK, RAPHAEL MATOS
40 – Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8 – CHARLES ESPENLAUB, JOE FOSTER, PATRICK DEMPSEY, TOM LONG
66 – TRG Porsche GT3 – DOMINIK FARNBACHER, TIM GEORGE Jr, BEN KEATING, LUCAS LUHR
67 – TRG Porsche GT3 – ANDY LALLY, STEVEN BERTHEAU, BRENDAN GAUGHAN, WOLF HENZLER, SPENCER PUMPELLY
69 – SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 – JEFF SEGAL, EMIL ACCENTUATE, NICK HAM, ANTHONY LAZZARO, NICK LONGHI
86 – Mitchum Motorsports Porsche GT3 – RANDY POBST, JOEY ATTERBURY, COOPER MacNEIL, DEREK WHITE, BILLY JOHNSON
94 – Turner Motorsports BMW M3 – BORIS SAID, BILL AUBERLEN, PAUL DELLA LANA, MATT PLUMB