DAYTONA BEACH, FL -- Motorsports professionals won’t be the only competitors during the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 29-30. The annual event that traditionally kicks off Speedweeks also will mark the crowning of a top student chef competing in the first ever Rolex 24 Grand Marshal Dinner Challenge during race activities which run Jan. 27-30.

The second annual Taste of the 24, billed as an “outrageously unique dining event” that doubles as a fundraiser for the Daytona State College Foundation, will take place on Saturday, Jan. 29 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. high atop the Daytona International Speedway Superstretch grandstands.

“This a great opportunity for folks to come out and enjoy outstanding food and the spectacle that is the Rolex 24 at Daytona, while at the same time helping to support student scholarships and campus growth initiatives at Daytona State College,” said Donna Sue Sanders, Foundation vice president.

Daytona State culinary students competing in the Rolex 24 Grand Marshal Dinner Challenge will vie for a $500 cash prize along with two VIP Rolex 24 hospitality packages, courtesy of International Speedway Corp.

“More than anything, it will be a learning experience for the students,” said Rick Florsheim, chair of the college’s Hospitality and Culinary Management program. “They will submit a three-course menu with recipes, a shopping list and a plan on how they are going to pull off a service for 175 people.”

The top three entries will be judged the week prior to the race, then the winning student chef will work with Americrown to prepare and serve the cuisine during an invitation only event at the Speedway on Jan. 28.

Meanwhile, the Taste of the 24 will feature a delicious blend of food and fast cars, with access all weekend long to the endurance race and Sprint FANZONE. Patrons can enjoy food from 24 of the area’s finest restaurants, a cigar bar, live jazz, beer and wine from around the world, and a chance to win a Rolex watch. The Taste of the 24 will take place in 24 private corporate suites located above the Superstretch grandstands. Food service will be available from 6 to 10 p.m. on Jan. 29.

Seating is limited, so make reservations early. Tickets are $75 per person and include free event parking through Gate 70, Taste of the 24 event admission and one weekend pass to the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Or, pay $95 for Taste of the 24 admission, parking, a weekend race pass and a chance to win a Rolex watch. Tickets for children 12 and under may be purchased at the door for $24.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call or e-mail the Foundation: (386) 506-3724,

For more about the Rolex 24 Grand Marshal Dinner Challenge, contact Florsheim at (386) 506-3254,