DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Only two days after hoisting the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series trophy on the championship stage at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the fifth consecutive season, Jimmie Johnson is already talking about racing in the 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona in January.
Johnson said on Tuesday's NASCAR teleconference he will be joining GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing for the fourth consecutive year, sharing the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley with two-time Daytona Prototype champions Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty in the 49th running of the endurance classic on Jan. 29-30, 2011. Jimmy Vasser has completed the driver lineup the past three seasons.
"Really, I just want to be home and enjoy the holidays with my daughter," said Johnson, who locked up the NASCAR title by finishing second in Sunday's Ford 400. "I just want to be home and enjoy what we've accomplished. It's going to go by quick. I'm going to compete in the Rolex 24, running with the GAINSCO guys again, so that's going to eat into my down time as well."
Johnson's first Rolex 24 in The Red Dragon came in 2008, when he finished second overall. He finished seventh in 2009, and 21st overall and eighth in the Daytona Prototype class this past January. Johnson also ran with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing at Watkins Glen International in June, finishing sixth in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.
"I think like the rest of the motorsports world, we're all in awe of Jimmie, not only for his relentless on-track accomplishments, but also because he manages to stay so grounded off the track as well," Gurney said. "We're very lucky to have him at our GAINSCO team and hopefully we can make a little more history with him come the end of January."
Johnson has six career starts in America's premier sports car race dating back to 2004, and finished second overall with Howard Boss Motorsports in 2005.
"I am not shocked at all that Jimmie and then (No.) 48 team won another title," said Fogarty, who has 13 career DP victories co-driving with Gurney. "We have seen first hand at GAINSCO Jimmie's incredible dedication to his profession and obvious talent behind the wheel of anything he is driving. He is good when he is leading, he is good when he is not and he is at his best when it really matters. I am really looking forward to racing with him again at next year's Rolex 24."
Stallings looks forward to once again working with the NASCAR champion.
"We view Jimmie as a member of our team and we look forward to winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona together," Stallings said. "Jimmie is a terrific race car driver and has been a quick study driving The Red Dragon. He is very focused and highly competitive in every way imaginable and shares our strong desire to win the Rolex 24."
The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 will be testing for the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 7-9 at Daytona International Speedway with the Roar Before The Rolex 24.
Tickets for both the Roar Before The Rolex 24 and the 49th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com
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