DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Dec. 4, 2007) – The stars are beginning to align for the 46th anniversary of the Rolex 24 on Jan. 26-27.
In the past two weeks, two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champions signed up to compete in the twice-around-the-clock challenge as well as a two-time Indianapolis 500 champion.
Wayne Taylor Racing, which already campaigns the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac on a full-time basis in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16, entered into a partnership with Penske Racing to field a second entry in the Rolex 24 featuring an all-star lineup of Penske drivers.
The No. 9 Toshiba Pontiac Riley of Penske-Taylor Racing will be co-driven 2004 Sprint Cup Series champion Kurt Busch, two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Helio Castroneves and open-wheel and sports-car veteran Ryan Briscoe.
Busch, who wheels the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series for Penske Racing, will be making his second career Rolex 24. In his first taste of the prestigious sports car race back in 2005, he finished 27th overall co-driving a Ford Multimatic with Scott Maxwell, Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle.
Castroneves, who drives the No. 3 Penske Racing Dallara/Honda in the IndyCar Series, made his Rolex 24 debut this past season in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing entry with former IndyCar teammate Sam Hornish Jr., Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri Jr. where they finished ninth overall. The 32-year-old Brazilian won back-to-back Indianapolis 500s in 2001 and 2002 and recently captured the “Mirrorball Trophy” as the 2007 champion of ABC-TV’s reality series Dancing With The Stars.
Briscoe, who will jump from sports cars to the IndyCar Series replacing Hornish as Castroneves’ teammate in the No. 6 Team Penske Dallara/Honda, has made two starts in the Rolex 24 At Daytona including a seventh-place finish in the 2005 edition of the Rolex 24 with Chip Ganassi Racing.
The other major name to commit to competing in the upcoming Rolex 24 is Jimmie Johnson, who was just crowned the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series champion for the second straight year.
The 2006 Daytona 500 champion will co-drive with defending Daytona Prototype champions Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, plus 1996 Champ Car champion Jimmy Vasser in the No. 99 Lowe's/GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley.
A native of El Cajon, Calif., Johnson has competed three times in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. He finished second in 2005 and 28th in 2004 driving for Howard-Boss Motorsports and 36th for the Riley-Matthews team last year.
style="margin: 0in 0in 0pt">The next major test session for the Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 at Daytona International Speedway will be January Test Days on Jan. 4-6 with the Roar Before The Rolex 24 fan fest event scheduled for Jan. 5.
Race fans can purchase their tickets for the 46th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 26-27 online at www.racetickets.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. If race fans purchase a two-day advance infield/grandstand ticket by Jan. 19, they will receive a free collectible Rolex 24 hat.