Nov 30 | 2010 Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge winner Ross Kaiser makes first visit to DIS

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Ross Kaiser, the 2010 Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge winner, got his first taste of Daytona International Speedway as he continues to prepare for the 2011 Rolex 24.

Ross Kaiser
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Ross Kaiser, the 2010 Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge winner, got his first taste of Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday morning.

As Kaiser continues his preparation for the 49th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 29-30, the British racer took a tour of the “World Center of Racing” and rode as a passenger around the newly repaved track in a street car with veteran driver JC France.

Kaiser, the 2010 Radical UK Cup champion, posted the top point average among competitors in four major British racing series to win the Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge and earn a funded seat in a Daytona Prototype for America’s premier sports car event.

“I’m just trying to take it all in,” Kaiser said. “It’s my first visit to Daytona. It’s such a huge place. The spectacle of racing here is absolutely fantastic. I’m just soaking up the atmosphere and seeing all the hard work that is going on getting ready for the Rolex 24.” 

This is the second year that the Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge has been contested in Europe. The competition, which last year awarded a driver’s seat in the Rolex 24 At Daytona to England’s Derek Johnston, is staged among racers in four high-caliber Sunoco-fueled race championships: the Avon Tyres British GT Championship; the Cooper Tires British F3 International Series; Radical UK Cup and SPEED Sports Prototype Series.

Kaiser earned the maximum amount of points in his season-ending events at Silverstone to help propel himself to the victory in the Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge.

“It was getting pretty intense,” said Kasier, who was in a tight points battle with British F3 Series driver Jean-Eric Vergne. “It was a bit too exciting for my liking.”

For Kaiser, he believes the Sunoco Rolex 24 At Daytona Challenge could be a career-changing opportunity.

“The package that they have put together back in the UK really gives someone like me a chance to further my career and put (myself) on the map in the U.S.,” Kaiser said. “It’s a dream come true.”

Kaiser, who will drive the No. 77 McDonald’s Ford/Dallara in the Rolex 24, recently tested the Daytona Prototype for the first time at Virginia International Raceway and is testing again this week at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The test sessions is helping him get use to the bigger and heavier Daytona Prototype as well as other nuances such as a sequential stick shift and the heat from car, all of which he is not accustomed to in his Radical UK machine.

He will have his first opportunity to turn competitive laps at Daytona International Speedway during the Roar Before The Rolex 24 on Jan. 7-9.

“We come back here for the Roar, which should be great. The driver lineup will be finalized. You really get to jell with the other drivers in the team and it’ll be the only chance I get to run here before the Rolex 24. I’m really looking forward to that test.”

Tickets for the 49th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona as well as the Roar Before The Rolex 24 are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Nov 30 | ARCA Racing Series testing dates announced

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The testing dates for the ARCA Racing Series have been announced for December and January.

TOLEDO, Ohio -- ARCA, Hoosier Racing Tire and Daytona International Speedway have jointly announced dates for both the December Hoosier tire test and the January ARCA-sanctioned open test, following the 2.5-mile superspeedway’s recent repaving.

Hoosier Racing Tire will be on site at Daytona International Speedway on Friday, December 17 to conduct tire testing to determine the tire that teams will race on in the February 12 Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 season opener for the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards. The tire selected based on the December test will be available to teams electing to participate in the annual ARCA-sanctioned open test, which traditionally takes place in mid-December at Daytona but will instead take place in January 2011.

“We’re thrilled to have race cars back on the track at Daytona,” said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III. “The new racing surface is very smooth and should produce multiple racing grooves for thrilling door-to-door action. This test session will provide Hoosier Tire the opportunity to collect important data to produce a great racing tire for the Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 during Speedweeks 2011.”

The ARCA-sanctioned open test, originally scheduled for December 2010, will be moved back on the calendar to allow for the tire test and production of tires by Hoosier. The open test for teams in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards will take place at Daytona International Speedway on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, January 11-13, 2011.

Both the December and January testing sessions will be free and open to the public with access to the Oldfield Grandstands through the lobby of the Daytona International Speedway ticket office.

“Any time you manage the variables of compounds and construction on a new surface, there are unknowns,” said Doug Barnes, Hoosier Product Manager. “Based on our recent experience with the repaving at Talladega Superspeedway, which has a lot of similar characteristics as Daytona, we’re expecting a vast difference in smoothness and grip of the racing surface. The December test will allow us to gather the on-track data we need to return with the best possible tire for the January open test and the race in February.”

The thrilling 2010 ARCA Racing Series campaign will close Saturday, December 4, with the series' Championship Awards Banquet at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Ky., near Cincinnati.

The ARCA Racing Series presented by RE/MAX and Menards has crowned an ARCA national champion each year since its inaugural season in 1953, and has toured over 200 race tracks in 28 states since its inception. The series tests the abilities of drivers and race teams over the most diverse schedule of stock car racing events in the world, annually visiting tracks ranging from 0.4 mile to 2.66 miles in length, on both paved and dirt surfaces as well as left- and right-turn street and road courses.

Founded by John Marcum in 1953 in Toledo, Ohio, the Automobile Racing Club of America (ARCA) is recognized among the leading sanctioning bodies in the country. Closing in on completing its sixth decade after hundreds of thousands of miles of racing, ARCA administers over 100 race events each season in two professional touring series and local weekly events.

Nov 29 | Rolex 24 champion Max Papis visits DIS to check-in on the repave project

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NASCAR and sports car driver Max Papis made a surprise visit to Daytona International Speedway on Monday to check in on the historic repaving project.

Max Papis

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR and sports car driver Max Papis made a surprise visit to Daytona International Speedway on Monday to check in on the historic repaving project.

Papis, who was traveling with his family back to North Carolina after spending the Thanksgiving holidays in South Florida, couldn’t pass up the chance of making a pit stop at the “World Center of Racing.”

“I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of stopping by Daytona and seeing the progress of what I consider my home track,” Papis said. “I love this place and this is my home turf.”

Papis, a native of Italy and part of the overall winning team in the 2002 Rolex 24 At Daytona, took a tour of the track with North American Testing Company’s Senior Director of Construction Bill Braniff.

“I have goose bumps every time I come to Daytona,” said Papis, who will race in both the NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race and most likely the Rolex 24 At Daytona during Speedweeks 2011. “I didn’t think it was possible to actually improve this place but you guys did it. The asphalt looks amazing. It looks like it’s a lot more work than what you see from the outside (looking in).

“Daytona is history and this is a new part of the history of this race track. It’s pretty amazing.”

While the legendary 2.5-mile tri-oval isn’t ready for a race car yet, Papis christened the new racing surface by performing push-ups at the start/finish line.

“I wanted to do it my own way and welcome the new surface,” Papis said. “I’m kind of a strange guy. I’m strong, Daytona strong.”

For tickets and more information on Daytona International Speedway events, visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.

Nov 24 | Daytona vs. Michigan in holiday food drive competition

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In the spirit of competition off the race track, Michigan International Speedway and Daytona International Speedway are having a friendly contest to see which track can collect the most food items just in time for the holiday season.

BROOKLYN, Mich. and DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — In the spirit of competition off the race track, Michigan International Speedway and Daytona International Speedway are having a friendly contest to see which track can collect the most food items for people who need it the most this holiday season.

Although it is a competition, both tracks aren’t looking at it as a win-lose situation. All the food donated at MIS and DIS will go to families in need. MIS’ donations will benefit the CCIS Food Pantry in Brooklyn, while Daytona’s will benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida.

The overall weight of all donations collected for each track will determine the winner. The winner of the competition will receive lunch courtesy of the other track.

MIS has already collected some 2,100 items, thanks to a sizable donation from Brooklyn Elementary School. The students collected food throughout the Thanksgiving week.

“This is not only a fun contest, but one that really can make a difference in the lives of the givers and the receivers this holiday,” MIS President Roger Curtis said. “We hope our friendly rivalry with Daytona will inspire others to participate and donate something.”

“We hope the heightened excitement around our contest with MIS will benefit area families who rely on Second Harvest during the holiday season,” said Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III. “We encourage all our employees and local fans to stop by and help make this a wonderful holiday for our community.”

All MIS fans can get involved with this competition. Non-perishable food donations will be accepted at the speedway’s Administration Building from Monday, Nov. 29 to Friday, Dec. 3.

Donations of a non-perishable food item or unwrapped toy may also be made at the speedway’s Track Drive for Charity, scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 4. With every donation, fans will receive a lap around the two-mile oval at a controlled speed. Longtime MIS sponsor GFS Marketplace will provide cider and donuts for all fans who attend the track drive.

All DIS fans that bring at least three (3) cans of food to the DIS ticket office counter on Friday, Dec. 3 and Saturday, Dec. 4 will receive a free admission for the new Daytona International Speedway All-Access Tour.

Daytona International Speedway will also host the WESH-TV “Share Your Christmas” food drive, which also benefits the Salvation Army, on Monday Dec. 6.  Later that day, Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson’s “Caravan that Cares” will begin its route from the main Daytona International Speedway parking lot on International Speedway Boulevard. Fans are encouraged to drop off their non-perishable donations at the Daytona ticket office lobby through Monday, Dec. 6.

Nov 24 | Five-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson will compete in 2011 Rolex 24

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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.

Jimmie Johnson

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

 

Nov 22 | Daytona International Speedway Offers “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday” Ticket Specials

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“Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”, the days surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday, are traditionally the most popular time in the country to find the best bargains. For race fans, Friday, Nov. 26 and Monday, Nov. 29 will be their opportunity to take advantage of special ticket offers for Speedweeks 2011.

Budweiser Shootout

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday”, the days surrounding the Thanksgiving holiday, are traditionally the most popular time in the country to find the best bargains.

For race fans, Friday, Nov. 26 and Monday, Nov. 29 will be their opportunity to take advantage of special ticket offers for Speedweeks 2011 at Daytona International Speedway.

Race fans can choose from one of the following four ticket packages, all priced at $49 per ticket:

• An infield/grandstand ticket with garage access for the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 29-30, a savings of 35%.

• Infield/grandstand ticket for the Budweiser Shootout/Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 12 with admission to the Budweiser Pre-Race Party that includes an appearance by former Daytona 500 champion Kevin Harvick, Hooters wings and beverages, a savings of 29%.

• General admission grandstand ticket for the Gatorade Duel At Daytona qualifying races on Thursday, Feb. 17 and a Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race pass, a savings of 24%.

• General admission grandstand ticket for the NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday, Feb. 18 and a Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race pass, a savings of 24%.

Additionally, on both Friday, Nov. 26 and Monday, Nov. 29, race fans will receive free shipping (a savings of $14) for all tickets purchased (phone orders only) and fans will have the ability to customize a ticket envelope with a holiday gift message.

Children 12 and under are free in Sprint FANZONE during Speedweeks 2011 and free in the general admission areas during the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Budweiser Shootout, Gatorade Duel At Daytona, NextEra Energy Resources 250 and DRIVE4COPD 300.

To help make the race day experience more enjoyable, the speedway recently announced that fans may now carry in soft-sided coolers measuring 14 x 14 x 14 inches or 2,700 cubic inches – six times the size previously permitted.  In addition to the larger cooler, fans can carry in lightweight backpacks or daypacks, approximately 17 inches in length, similar to those used by school students. 

To purchase tickets to any of the Daytona International Speedway’s events, call 1-800-PITSHOP or visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com

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