DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Another NASCAR driver has signed up for the 48th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 30-31.
Spirit of Daytona Racing, based in nearby Holly Hill, announced that Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia will return as full-time drivers on the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Porsche-based V8 Coyote. Rice and Garcia, 2009 Rolex 24 overall champions with Brumos Racing, will be joined in this year’s twice-around-the-clock Daytona classic by NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Paul Menard.
Menard just completed his third season in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series driving the No. 98 Menards Ford Fusion for Yates Racing. He also drove in the NASCAR Nationwide Series, competing in 16 races in 2009.
The Eau Claire, WI native is no stranger to GRAND-AM, having previously competed in the series in 2002. Joining the Spirit of Daytona (then known as Flis Motorsports) for two races the in GRAND-AM, Menard posted class wins in both events he entered. For the 2010 Rolex 24, the Spirit of Daytona No. 90 car will compete in the classic Menard yellow livery.
Team Owner Troy Flis is hoping to see history repeat itself, saying, “We are really looking forward to this year’s Rolex 24 and having Paul back on board with.us. Buddy and Antonio won last year’s 24 Hours at Daytona, and Paul has certainly come through for the Spirit of Daytona team in his previous GRAND-AM appearances. When you combine the progress we made last season developing the car with that level of driver talent, then you definitely have Victory Lane potential.”
Menard joined Spirit of Daytona Racing for the December Test Days in Daytona, along with Rice and Garcia.
Menard isn't the first NASCAR driver to sign up for the 2010 Rolex 24. For the third straight year, Jimmie Johnson, the defending four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion, will co-drive the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing entry with the team's lead drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty as well as open-wheel veteran Jimmy Vasser.
AJ Allmendinger, who drives for Richard Petty Motorsports in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, tested at DIS this week during December Test Days with Michael Shank Racing, and is planning on making his fifth straight start with the team in the Rolex 24.
In addition, Bobby Labonte, the 2000 NASCAR Sprint Cup champion who has raced the Rolex 24 previously in the Daytona Prototype class, tested this week with TRG Motorsports and plans to compete in the Rolex 24 for the first time in a GT class car.
Tickets for the 48th anniversary of the Rolex 24 are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.