Jan 26 | Continental Tire Signs Three-Year Partnership Agreement for the Rolex 24 At Daytona; Sponsors the 50 Years of Champions Exhibit at the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona

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Continental Tire, the official tire of GRAND-AM, has agreed to a three-year marketing partnership with Daytona International Speedway to include promotional and display rights at the Rolex 24 At Daytona through 2014.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Continental Tire, the official tire of GRAND-AM, has agreed to a three-year marketing partnership with Daytona International Speedway to include promotional and display rights at the Rolex 24 At Daytona through 2014.  Continental Tire will also serve as lead sponsor for the once-in-a-lifetime 50 Years of Champions Exhibit during the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona Jan 28-29, 2012.

The exhibit will showcase 29 cars from around the world that captured victory in North America’s most prestigious sports car race.  The exhibit is free for fans to enjoy as they visit the “World Center of Racing” for the twice-around-the-clock endurance challenge. 

The tire manufacturer will also serve as presenting sponsor for the Rolex 50 Years of Champions Charity Gala taking place on the evening of Jan. 26 at the Ocean Center in Daytona Beach.  The event to help raise money for the Halifax Health Foundation will feature the winning cars, along with appearances with many of the past champions of the Rolex 24

“We’re extremely excited to announce our partnership with Daytona International Speedway,” said Travis Roffler, director of marketing, Continental Tire.  “This program, along with our sponsorship of the 50 Years of Champions Exhibit, is one more step in our commitment to GRAND-AM.  Continental Tire is proud to be a part of 50 years of racing history.”

On the morning of Jan. 27, the cars will take part in a special procession as they travel through the streets of Daytona Beach from the Ocean Center to their home for the weekend outside the Sprint Tower at Daytona International Speedway.  The championship cars will also participate in a parade lap around the historic 3.65-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway prior to the start of the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

Tickets to the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona and all Daytona International Speedway events are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).

Jan 26 | No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley Captures Pole For 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona

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Qualifying for the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona produced an upset with the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley capturing the pole.

Rolex 24 Pole Winner
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Qualifying for the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona produced an upset with the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley capturing the pole for the twice-around-the-clock challenge at Daytona International Speedway.

Ryan Dalziel of Orlando turned a fast lap of 126.741 mph on the twists and turns of the 3.56-mile road course. Rounding out the front row for the Rolex 24 was the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Corvette with driver Max Angelelli, who posted a speed of 126.590 mph.

“I’m a little bit surprised,” Dalziel said. “I thought the Chevys were going to be the cars to beat and I think they are going to be the cars to beat but we put together a really good lap.”

Dalziel will team with Allan McNish, Lucas Luhr, Alex Popow and Enzo Potolicchio on the No. 8 car, which was assembled in the last few weeks.

“I think it’s just an incredible job these guys have done to put our car together in such a short amount of time,” Dalziel said. “We were the last Riley to be delivered to a team. With everything that has gone on the past couple of days for us, to get the pole is very rewarding but it’s a long race.”

“I can not hide my disappointment obviously leading all the pre practice and now I’m (outside pole),” said Angelelli, who will share driving duties with Ricky Taylor and Ryan Briscoe on the No. 10 car. “I wasn’t expecting ending in (outside pole). I still feel our car is really good, really fast. I still feel for the 24-hour, we will be the car to beat.”

On the second row will be the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley (126.312) and the No. 99 GAINSCO Bob Stallings Racing Corvette (126.242).

In the GT class, it was a back-and-forth battle with the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche and driver Andrew Davis coming out on top with a pole-winning lap of 117.210 mph. The No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD with Ferrari and driver Jeff Segal was second with a speed of 117.194.

“That was an intense session,” Davis said. “I just pushed as hard as I could from the first lap out. The Brumos crew, we struggled in the first couple of (practice) sessions so this is very expected. It just shows that Brumos Racing doesn’t stop fighting. That’s the best that I car had been on balance.”

BMW Performance 200: In qualifying for Friday’s BMW Performance 200 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race, Shelby Blackstock, son of country music star Reba McIntyre, captured the pole in a Roush Performance Mustang with a speed of 109.051 mph. Jack Roush Jr., also in a Mustang, was second with a lap of 108.923. In Sport Touring, Andy Lally, with a lap of 101.222, took the pole in a Kia Forte Koup.

Tickets for the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona are on sale online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).

Jan 26 | Rolex 24 Flashback: From the Record Book

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As we head into this weekend’s 50th Anniversary Rolex 24, we’ve trawled the record books for a few records and superlatives (and whatever the opposite of “superlative” is) based on speeds, margins of victories and lead-lap finishers.

Rolex 24

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- As we head into this weekend’s 50th Anniversary Rolex 24, we’ve trawled the record books for a few records and superlatives (and whatever the opposite of “superlative” is) based on speeds, margins of victories and lead-lap finishers. Will any of these feats be matched or bettered this weekend? Better stay tuned and find out…

GREATEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 49 LAPS (1979): A combination of their own uncontested pace, plus their rivals self-destructing around them, left Interscope Racing’s Porsche 935 and its drivers, Ted Field, Danny Ongais and Hurley Haywood, a full 49 laps clear of the field in 1979. Yet, despite their dominance, collective hearts skipped more than a few beats deep into the final hour. The 935’s turbocharger failed with 10 minutes remaining and Ongais, in a move reminiscent of Dan Gurney in the first three-hour Daytona Continental in 1962, parked it on the apron and only rolled across the flag once the countdown clock hit zeros. Honorable mention: The 1970 race had a 45-lap margin of victory, with three other years featuring 30 or more.

SMALLEST MARGIN OF VICTORY – 0.167 SEC (2009): In the first Daytona 24-hour contest that featured more than two cars on the lead lap at the checkered flag, David Donohue held off a tenacious charge from Chip Ganassi Racing’s Juan Pablo Montoya to secure the win for Brumos Racing – its first overall victory in the Rolex 24 since 1978. Honorable mention: Last year, the margin was the second closest at 2.426 seconds, but that was thanks to a final restart with less than five minutes remaining.

FASTEST ROLEX – 114.794 MPH AVERAGE (1982): Also the distance record, of course, the 1982 race won by John Paul Sr. and Jr. and Rolf Stommelen in a Porsche 935, covered 2,760.86 miles over the then-3.84-mile circuit, to average that record-breaking 114.794mph. In terms of race average speed, the 110mph barrier has only been eclipsed eight times, and only the 111.930mph mark set in 2010 has done so in the last 20 years. Last year’s average race speed was 106.877mph, compared to a pole speed of 128.033mph. The reduction in average pace from qualifying to the race mostly comes down to cautions and the weather. If it stays dry this weekend and the talent-packed DP starting field stays out of trouble and avoids getting intimate with the GT traffic (hey, that might be a big ask – see below…), could the 1982 mark finally be eclipsed?

CAUTIONARY TALES: Since the Daytona Prototypes made their Rolex 24 debut in 2003, there have been a total of 143 cautions for 955 laps in the race, which averages out at 16 cautions for 106 laps over the course of a typical (is there such a thing?) Rolex 24. However, the rain-drenched 2004 running contributed to 308 of those laps during nine caution periods. Exclude that from the total and the average number of cautions is still 16.75, but for only 80.8 laps. In the last four years, the race has had 24, 25, 16 and 23 cautions – roughly one per hour and loose change. As always, anticipating the number of yellows and doing the best to avoid being caught up in them will pay dividends in this year’s running. 

SLOWEST ROLEX 24 – 77.927 MPH (2004): Yes, you read it correctly, and it happened in one of the wettest Daytona race weekends on record. When an average speed is this slow (a full 15mph less than the next slowest, which was also rain affected), some pretty extreme and extenuating circumstances have to be in play. Rain fell for 18 of the 24 hours and led to an extended caution and red flag stoppage (nearly three hours, or 172 minutes to be more precise) that halted the race. Sunday morning, though, still saw a close finish as the leading Howard/Boss Motorsports Crawford-Chevrolet’s left-rear wheel broke with less than 20 minutes remaining. Slowly but surely, the Kodak/Bell Motorsports team picked up the scraps for the first DP overall win at the Rolex 24.

MOST WINS – HURLEY HAYWOOD, FIVE: Haywood signs off at this year’s Rolex 24 for his 40th start having set the benchmark with five overall victories. Four of those came in alternating odd years in the 1970s, with a fifth for good measure in 1991. All came in Porsches, with three in a 911 Carrera RSR, the 935 in 1979, and a 962 in ’91. He goes for another win with Brumos Racing in the GT class on this occasion. Honorable mentions: Pedro Rodriguez, Bob Wollek, Peter Gregg, Rolf Stommelen and Scott Pruett have four. Of that storied quintet, Pruett is sadly the lone guy still with us, and the Ganassi team’s enduring benchmark will be putting in his usual 100 percent effort to try and equal Haywood’s haul this weekend.

MOST CARS ON THE LEAD LAP – 4 (2009, 2011): Ganassi’s No. 01 car has been involved in both events, winning the 2011 edition and losing the 2009 one by that microscopic margin of 0.167sec. Ganassi’s second car also made it home on the lead lap a year ago, equaling the feat Brumos Racing pulled off in 2009 of getting two cars home and unlapped. SunTrust’s DP completed the 2009 quartet on the lead lap while, last year, Action Express and the jointly entered Michael Shank/United Autosports car also finished on the lead lap.

RACES WITH MULTIPLE CARS FINISHING ON THE LEAD LAP – 11: The first two runnings of a major international sports car race at Daytona featured three and two cars on the lead lap, respectively, but those were only three-hour events. It took until 1986 for the first 24-hour race where two cars finished on the lead lap, with the late Al Holbert taking the victory in the Lowenbrau Porsche 962, along with Derek Bell and Al Unser Jr. Five of the next 22 Rolex 24s saw a second car on the lead lap. The last three years have seen four, two and four cars on the lead lap at the end of 24 hours, a testament not only to the competitiveness, but also the durability of the current breed of DPs.

Jan 24 | 47 Rolex 24 overall champions returning for 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona

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Forty-seven overall champion drivers are traveling from all over the world to witness the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona with over half of them participating in the race.

GRAND AM

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – While 29 past overall winning Rolex 24 At Daytona championship cars are returning to Daytona International Speedway for the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29 as part of a historic exhibit, the drivers who steered those legendary racing machines to glory in America’s most prestigious sports car race will also be in attendance at the “World Center of Racing.”

Forty-seven overall champion drivers are traveling from all over the world to witness the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona with over half of them participating in the grueling twice-around-the-clock challenge. Race fans will be able to see Rolex 24 champions on the track and through other appearances during the busy event weekend.

Overall champion drivers that will be in attendance:
• 1970, 1976 and 1981 Rolex 24 champion Brian Redman
• 1973, 1975, 1977, 1979 and 1991 Rolex 24 champion Hurley Haywood (Competing)
• 1977 Rolex 24 champion John Graves
• 1981 Rolex 24 champion Bob Garretson
• 1981 Rolex 24 champion Bobby Rahal
• 1983 and 1985 Rolex 24 champion A.J. Foyt, Grand Marshal for the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona
• 1983 Rolex 24 champion Preston Henn
• 1984 Rolex 24 champion Graham Duxbury
• 1984 Rolex 24 champion Tony Martin
• 1986, 1987 and 1989 Rolex 24 champion Derek Bell
• 1987 Rolex 24 champion Chip Robinson
• 1989 Rolex 24 champion John Andretti (Competing)
• 1990 Rolex 24 champion Davy Jones (Competing)
• 1994, 2007, 2008 and 2011 Rolex 24 champion Scott Pruett (Competing)
• 1994, 1997 and 1999 Rolex 24 champion Butch Leitzinger (Competing)
• 1996 Rolex 24 champion Scott Sharp (Competing)
• 1996 Rolex 24 champion Jim Pace (Competing)
• 1996 and 2005 Rolex 24 champion Wayne Taylor
• 1997 Rolex 24 champion Rob Dyson
• 1997 and 1999 Rolex 24 champion Elliott Forbes-Robinson (Competing)
• 1998 and 2002 Rolex 24 champion Didier Theys
• 1998 Rolex 24 champion Arie Luyendyk
• 2000 Rolex 24 champion Olivier Beretta (Competing)
• 2001 Rolex 24 champion Ron Fellows
• 2001 Rolex 24 champion Johnny O’Connell
• 2002 Rolex 24 champion Max Papis (Competing)
• 2002 Rolex 24 champion Fredy Lienhard
• 2003 Rolex 24 champion Kevin Buckler (Competing)
• 2003 Rolex 24 champion Michael Schrom
• 2003 Rolex 24 champion Jorg Bergmeister (Competing)
• 2004 Rolex 24 champion Christian Fittipaldi (Competing)
• 2004 Rolex 24 champion Forest Barber
• 2004 and 2010 Rolex 24 champion Terry Borcheller (Competing)
• 2005 Rolex 24 champion Max Angelelli (Competing)
• 2005 Rolex 24 champion Emmanuel Collard (Competing)
• 2006 Rolex 24 champion Scott Dixon (Competing)
• 2007 and 2008 Rolex 24 champion Juan Pablo Montoya (Competing)
• 2008 and 2011 Rolex 24 champion Memo Rojas (Competing)
• 2008 Rolex 24 champion Dario Franchitti (Competing)
• 2009 Rolex 24 champion Darren Law (Competing)
• 2009 Rolex 24 champion David Donohue (Competing)
• 2009 Rolex 24 champion Antonio Garcia (Competing)
• 2010 Rolex 24 champion Ryan Dalziel (Competing)
• 2010 Rolex 24 champion Mike Rockenfeller (Competing)
• 2010 Rolex 24 champion Joao Barbosa (Competing)
• 2011 Rolex 24 champion Graham Rahal (Competing)
• 2011 Rolex 24 champion Joey Hand (Competing)

Countries represented by the international drivers in attendance include New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, Colombia, Spain, Belgium, Canada, Italy, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Germany, Brazil, England, France, Monaco, Mexico and Portugal.

Tickets for the 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona are on sale online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).



Jan 20 | BMW to Sponsor the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge BMW Performance 200 on January 27 at Daytona International Speedway

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BMW has partnered with Daytona International Speedway to sponsor the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race on Jan. 27, 2012.

BMW 200
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – BMW has partnered with Daytona International Speedway to sponsor the Grand-Am Continental Tire  Sports Car Challenge race on Jan. 27, 2012.  The agreement marks the first time BMW has sponsored a race at the “World Center of Racing.”  Financial terms were not disclosed.

In addition to the race entitlement, BMW will have display and hospitality rights for the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend, showcasing new models for fans in both the Sprint FANZONE and the midway area inside the historic racing venue.

“BMW is an iconic automotive brand,” said DIS President Joie Chitwood III.  “We’re proud to have them as a partner and hope our fans enjoy their display areas during the race weekend.”

“BMW welcomes all competitors to the BMW Performance 200, the opening act of the 50th Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend, and the start of the 2012 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season,” said Ludwig Willisch, President BMW of North America LLC. “More than 75 cars in two classes will take the green flag and we are sure the race will set the stage for another great year of Grand-Am racing.”

A longtime competitor in Rolex Sports Car and Continental Tire Challenge competition, BMW teams won championships in two of the three Grand-Am series in both 2010 and 2011. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates began 2011 with a BMW Powered victory at the Rolex 24 At Daytona and continued their winning ways to capture a second consecutive sweep of Grand-Am Daytona Prototype Engine Manufacturer, Driver and Team titles. Turner Motorsport added the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Grand Sport Driver and Team titles, contributing to a second consecutive GS Manufacturer’s championship for the BMW M3.

The BMW Performance 200 Grand-Am Continental Tire Series race will be part of an event-filled weekend to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. 

Approximately 30 of the past overall champions in the Rolex 24 will return to Daytona as part of the 50 Years of Champions Exhibit presented by Continental Tire.  The cars will be part of the Rolex 50 Years of Champions charity gala on Jan. 26 at the Ocean Center, an event to help raise money for the Halifax Health Foundation.  The following day, the racecars will take to the streets of Daytona Beach in a special procession from the Ocean Center to Daytona International Speedway.

At the speedway, these championship cars from around the world will be a part of a special exhibit for fans throughout the weekend of the 50th Rolex 24 At Daytona.  The 50 Years of Champions Exhibit is open to fans free of charge and will be located outside the speedway behind the Sprint Tower. 

The championship cars will also participate in parade laps around the historic 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway prior to the start of the twice-around-the-clock endurance challenge on Jan. 28.

Admissions to the Rolex 50 Years of Champions event are available by contacting the Halifax Health Foundation at (386) 254-4111.  This once-in-a-lifetime event will feature the past championship cars on display with a number of the Champion drivers in attendance participating in Q&A’s and interacting with guests.

Tickets to the 50th Anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona and all Daytona International Speedway events are available by calling 1-800-PITSHOP or visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).

Jan 20 | Start Times Finalized For Speedweeks 2012 Events

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For the third straight year, the 54th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26, NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race, is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start time

2011 Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – For the third straight year, the 54th annual Daytona 500 on Sunday, Feb. 26, NASCAR’s biggest, richest and most prestigious race, is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start time (TV – FOX Sports, Radio – MRN Radio).

Start times for the other remaining events of Speedweeks 2012 at Daytona International Speedway are as follows:

• The 50th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race, Jan. 28-29, 3:30 p.m.
• The Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200 ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards, Saturday, Feb. 18, 4:30 p.m.
• The Budweiser Shootout  non-points event, Saturday, Feb. 18, 8:10 p.m.
• Daytona 500 Qualifying Presented By Kroger, Sunday, Feb. 19, 1:05 p.m.
• Gatorade Duel At Daytona, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2 p.m.
• NextEra Energy Resources 250 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race, Friday, Feb. 24, 7:30 p.m.
• DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race, Saturday, Feb. 25, 1:15 p.m.

The day of the Daytona 500 creates legends, breathtaking moments and more unforgettable memories than any other race in the world. Trevor Bayne, who at the age of 20 became the youngest winner of the Daytona 500 in 2011, will gun for back-to-back victories with the legendary Wood Brothers. In addition, Danica Patrick will make her NASCAR Sprint Cup Series debut for Stewart-Haas Racing and become just the third woman to take the green flag in the Daytona 500.

Tickets for the Daytona 500 start at $65. New for 2012, kids 12 and under receive half-off Superstretch seats for the Daytona 500 while supplies last. Tickets are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter (www.twitter.com/disupdates) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/DaytonaInternationalSpeedway).

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