DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Actor Patrick Dempsey, who stars as Dr. Derek Shepherd on the ABC hit television series Grey's Anatomy, made a house call at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday during the final day of Rolex 24 At Daytona testing.
Dempsey flew overnight to "The World Center of Racing" to test his No. 54 Ford Hyper Sport Mustang that he will co-drive in the KONI Challenge Series race on Friday, Jan. 26, part of the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend.
He also participated in an announcement that Supercuts will now provide sponsorship for the Hyper Sport entries - the No. 54 and No. 55 Ford Mustangs - in the KONI Challenge Series.
"I'm having a ball," Dempsey said. "I love it. I can't believe I'm here. I can't believe I got on a plane last night. I had to work late. It's nice to be here for the second time. I feel a little bit more relaxed."
In his second trip to DIS, Dempsey feels like he is making progress on the twist and turns of the 3.56-mile road course.
"I'm really pleased with this morning and where I was last year and where I am this year," Dempsey said. "I hope that continues on."
Dempsey says racing on the historic grounds of Daytona International Speedway has been special.
"It's amazing," Dempsey said. "The first time that I went out on the banking, I couldn't believe I was there. Taking the history and all the races that have happened here through the 24-hour race to all the Cup races, it's phenomenal to be at this track. It's quite special and challenging. When you get out of the car, there's so much joy in completing that and getting faster. I love it. I really do."
Fastest of the day:
Max Angelelli, co-driver of the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley with Wayne Taylor, Jeff Gordon and Jan Magnussen, posted the fastest speed of the entire Rolex 24 test session on Saturday morning with a fast lap of 123.846 mph, 1 minute, 43.483 seconds.
The Italian driver's fast lap exceeded the Daytona Prototype qualifying record speed of last year's Rolex 24 pole winner Lucas Luhr, who turned a lap of 123.220 mph, 1 minute, 44.009 seconds in the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche.
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will roll into Daytona International Speedway beginning Monday for the first day of a three-day test. Among the drivers expecting to test include 2006 Daytona 500 winner Jimmie Johnson, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Kevin Harvick and Greg Biffle.
Testing is free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstand through the lobby of DAYTONA USA.
The first day of NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder Fan Fest will be on Tuesday. The Fan Fest events start at 5 p.m. but fans will be able to enter the NEXTEL FANZONE beginning at 9 a.m. to watch all of the exciting testing action on those days. Admissions for the NEXTEL Cup Fan Fest dates are $15.
Fans will be able to get a sneak peek on NASCAR teams as they prepare for Speedweeks 2007 with inquisitive fan forums with many of their favorite drivers as well as enjoying all the state-of-the-art amenities in the popular NEXTEL FANZONE. Also included in NASCAR Jackson Hewitt Preseason Thunder Fan Fests will be bands, show cars, pit stop demonstrations, displays and a silent auction.
Rolex 24 Tickets available: Tickets for the 45th anniversary of the Rolex 24 on Jan. 27-28 are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or by logging onto www.racetickets.com