DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., - The second day of the Roar Before The Rolex 24 test session at Daytona International Speedway brought more star-studded team announcements for the 48th Rolex 24 At Daytona as well as an odd site In Florida – snow.
Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced its 2010 driver lineup featuring a blend of IZOD IndyCar Series, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and sports car stars during an unusually cold second day of the three-day Roar Before The Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.
The three-time GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Cars Series champions, with new manufacturing partner Dinan-BMW, will once again run a two-car effort.
Behind the wheel of the No. 01 TELEMEX/Target BMW Riley will be three-time Rolex 24 At Daytona champion Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, IZOD IndyCar driver Justin Wilson and Marino Franchitti. IZOD IndyCar drivers Scott Dixon and Dario Franchitti will join NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray in the No. 02 Target Dinan-BMW Riley for the 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 30-31.
The two-car driver lineup team features eight overall Rolex 24 wins, three Indianapolis 500 titles, nine championships and over 125 victories.
“We’re real excited about the drivers up here but probably equally excited about our engine package this year,” said owner Chip Ganassi, whose No. 02 entry was fastest in the first session of the day with a speed of 124.036 mph. “BMW has stepped up and said they want to help us out a little bit and we’re really excited about that. I’ve never been as excited about being here, I’ve never been as excited about the driver lineup and the plan that we have and the team that we have built together.”
The Chip Ganassi Racing team had some fun during the morning hours of the test, which was delayed due to the weather, by creating a winter wonderland in the garage with three snow men.
“I think the snowmen probably got the most attention this morning,” joked Rojas, who along with his crew designed the masterpiece.
The snow creations became the talk of the garage and pictures can be found at www.twitter.com/DISupdates.
Michael Shank Racing: Owner Michael Shank unveiled his two-car effort for the 2010 Rolex 24 and is using a veteran driver lineup. Of his eight drivers, only Mark Wilkins hasn’t driven previously for Shank Racing, traditionally a top contender for the overall win of the Rolex 24.
Behind the wheel of the No. 60 Ford Riley, which will carry Crown Royal sponsorship, will be Oswaldo Negri, John Pew, Burt Frisselle and Wilkins. In the No. 6 Ford Riley will be NASCAR driver AJ Allmendinger, Mark Patterson, Michael Valiante and Brian Frisselle.
Shank, whose No. 6 Ford Riley was fastest in the second session on Saturday with a lap of 126.594 mph, is thrilled with his driver lineup.
“We’re really proud that we’ve been able to put these guys in the car,” Shank said. “What you see are guys that have hundreds of miles of laps around this place. We’ve had all kinds of names of drivers in our cars, big names, with these guys right here my plan is to build to experience. We’re really looking forward to this. I’m really excited about the prospect of the year and the (Rolex 24). I’m telling you these two cars will be towards the front of the field.”
The Roar Before The Rolex 24 continues on Sunday with more testing sessions and a photo opportunity with a Brumos Racing Daytona Prototype in Gatorade Victory Lane.
Tickets for the Rolex 24 At Daytona are on sale along with the rest of Speedweeks events. To purchase tickets, go online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by call 1-800-PITSHOP. Stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway)