DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – To celebrate the historic 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, racing legend A.J. Foyt will deliver the command “Drivers, start your engines” as Grand Marshal for the iconic endurance race in 2012. The prestigious season-opening event of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 returns to Daytona International Speedway on January 28-29, 2012.

The announcement follows the unveiling, in January, of a special-edition gold logo marking the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, along with the launch of a campaign by Speedway officials to locate all Rolex 24 At Daytona overall winning cars for a show-stopping heritage display during the 2012 race.

“The 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona is a significant milestone in the history of Daytona International Speedway and motorsports across the globe,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said.  “We’re honored to have one of the greatest drivers in the history of auto racing – A.J. Foyt – serve as Grand Marshal as we commemorate 50 years of endurance racing at the ‘World Center of Racing.’ ”

Foyt is a two-time overall champion of the Rolex 24 At Daytona with wins of the twice-around-the-clock challenge in 1983 and 1985.  He holds the distinction of leading the first lap of the inaugural Rolex 24 At Daytona in 1962 – then known as the Daytona Continental – in a Pontiac Tempest.  As the only race car driver in history to win the Indianapolis 500 (four times), Daytona 500 (1972), Rolex 24 At Daytona, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans (1967), Foyt was named co-Driver of the Century by the Associated Press and one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers. 

“I am honored to be the Grand Marshal of the Rolex 24, especially with it being the 50th anniversary of the race,” said the 76-year-old Foyt. “I wish I wasn’t so old because I’d like to race in it again. I really enjoyed it when I was down there. I’m glad to be coming back even if it is just to watch it this time.”

The Rolex 24 At Daytona, the kick-off event to Speedweeks 2012 as well as the international motorsports calendar, showcases the world’s best drivers competing against each other lap after lap for 24 hours on Daytona International Speedway’s challenging and demanding 3.56-mile road course.

Tickets for the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona become available May 14 online at or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

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