Jan 23 | Gurney Puts No. 99 Corvette DP on the Pole for 52nd Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona

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Gurney Puts No. 99 Corvette DP on the Pole for 52nd Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Alex Gurney drove the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP to the pole position for the 52nd anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the season-opening event for the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship scheduled for Saturday.

Gurney, who will co-drive with Jon Fogarty, Memo Gidley and Darren Law in the twice-around-the-clock challenge, toured the 3.56-mile road course on Thursday afternoon in one minute, 38.270 seconds, 130.416 mph. 

With Gurney behind the wheel, the No. 99 car, nicknamed the “Red Dragon,” was previously on the pole for the 2007 Rolex 24.

“I’m obviously really happy and pretty excited about it all,” Gurney said. “It’s been a really difficult off-season. I have to say a big thank you to (owner) Bob Stallings and everybody on the team. I think most of the teams worked right through Christmas and New Year’s with no real time off with all the rules changes. This means a lot to all of us and our team. We’re not set for the whole season so this is one of our times to shine. It feels really good to pull it off.”

Gurney said the pole for the No. 99 team, which is committed to a limited schedule of TUDOR United SportsCar Championship races, came as a bit of a surprise.

“We were pretty diligent all through the testing and we were here in December kind of concentrating on full tank runs,” Gurney said. “We never went low fuel and showed what we had. When we pulled the fuel out, the time came. We were pretty happy with the car and it’s nice to get one in there. 

Gurney’s father Dan won the inaugural three-hour Daytona Continental (now the Rolex 24) back in 1962. For Alex, he would love to be able to follow his father’s footsteps and win North America’s most prestigious sports car race.

“It would be the biggest thing in my career I think,” Gurney said. “For me personally, it’s the biggest race we do and the one we all want to win.”

In the Prototype Challenge class, Colin Braun, driving in the No. 54 ORECA FLM09, took the pole honors with a lap of one minute, 41.777 seconds, 125.922 mph.

“It is great to be on the pole here at Daytona because it’s a really cool race and as soon as the green flag drops, everyone forgets it,” said Braun, who is co-driving the car with James Gue, Jon Bennett and Mark Wilkins. “We have to enjoy it while we can.”

The No. 48 Audi R8 LMS with driver Christopher Haase took the pole in the GTD (GT Daytona) class with a lap of one minute, 46.973 seconds, 119.806 mph. In the GTL (GT Le Mans) class, the SRT Motorsports No. 91 Viper GTS-R and driver Marc Goossens captured the pole with a lap of one minute, 44.506 seconds, 122.634 mph.

The BMW Performance 200 and Ferrari Challenge

The BMW Performance 200, the season opener to the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge, is set to go green on Friday at 1:45 p.m.

Rolling off in the pole position in the 2 ½ hour timed race will be the Grand Sport entry No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Mustang Boss 302 R, which is co-driven by Jade Buford and Scott Maxwell. Buford topped the speed charts during Thursday’s qualifying with a lap of 110.651 mph. 

Jeff Mosing, who is co-driving with Eric Foss, was fastest in the Sport Touring class driving the No. 56 Team TGM BMW 328i with a lap of 102.718 mph. 

Also on tap Friday will be the first Ferrari Challenge race at 10:30 a.m. and final practice for Saturday’s Rolex 24 at 11:30 a.m.

Tickets for all the Rolex 24 At Daytona Weekend events are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can also stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news all season long.  Fans can follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.

Jan 22 | BMW Performance 200 to Launch 2014 Racing Season at Daytona International Speedway

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Anthony Royer of Allstate Roadside Services to Serve as Grand Marshal.

Woodcliff Lake, N.J. – January 21, 2014 . . . For the third consecutive year, the BMW Performance 200, the opening round of the 2014 Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, will begin the North American racing season as drivers from all over the world assemble at the Daytona International Speedway for the 52nd Annual Rolex 24 at Daytona weekend.
 
Anthony Royer, President of Allstate Roadside Services, will serve as the Grand Marshal of the race and give the “Start Your Engines” command to the field of 64 cars that include 16 BMW race cars.
 
"Allstate Roadside Services is extremely proud of the roadside assistance program we provide for BMW,” said Royer. “We value the relationship and are true believers in The Ultimate Driving Machine."
 
During the weekend, BMW of North America will feature race cars that have highlighted the brand’s competition history and three new road cars that continue to expand its Motorsport foundation – the all-new 2014 BMW M235i Coupe and the fifth-generation 2015 BMW M3 Sedan and BMW M4 Coupe.
 
Of special note, fans at the Speedway will be able to view one of BMW’s 2013 M3 DTM race cars. BMW returned the German Touring Car Series in 2012, winning the manufacturer’s title for two consecutive seasons. 2013 BMW DTM drivers Joey Hand, Andy Priaulx and Dirk Werner as well as 2014 BMW DTM driver Maxime Martin will drive for BMW Team RLL as the Z4 GTLM makes its TUDOR United SportsCar Championship debut. Augusto Farfus, who finished second in the 2013 DTM chamionship, will join Turner Motorsport in the team’s GTD-class Z4. Joining the roster of BMW Team RLL drivers for the Rolex 24 will be Indy Car driver Graham Rahal.
 
In support of David Hobbs, Grand Marshal of this year’s twice-around-the-clock classic, BMW will display two very important cars Hobbs piloted when he served as a BMW factory driver. The flame-throwing BMW 320i Turbo that he drove in the 1978 and 1979 IMSA seasons as well as the radical BMW Powered M1-C, the very first IMSA prototype, will be on hand in the Speedway’s Fan Zone.
 
Instructors from the BMW Performance Driving School, in Spartanburg, SC, will bring a number of ultra-high performance BMW M6 Gran Coupes to give rides around the 3.56-mile Speedway road circuit to lucky fans.
 
“BMW couldn’t be more excited about starting the 2014 racing season at Daytona and the debut of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship,” said Gordon McDonnell, BMWNA Motorsport Manager. “Although this is our first 24hr race with the Z4 GTLM, BMW Team RLL is no stranger to endurance racing and we have one of the best driver line ups I can recall. BMW always goes big at Daytona and fans will have plenty to see on and off the track this weekend. The BMW Performance 200 will be just one of the highlights as we expect our privateer BMW teams to be right up front, fighting for a win. The excitement starts to build as soon as you drive through the tunnel; good luck to all the BMW teams this weekend.”
 
The BMW Performance 200 takes the green flag at 1:45 p.m. Friday, Jan. 24th. The 52nd annual Rolex 24 at Daytona starts at 2:10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25th with FOX Sports 1 covering the first two hours of the race live. A total of 15 hours of the race will be broadcast on FOX Sports channels.
 
More information on the program can be found at www.bmwusa.com.
 
BMW Group In America
BMW of North America, LLC has been present in the United States since 1975.  Rolls-Royce Motor Cars NA, LLC began distributing vehicles in 2003.  The BMW Group in the United States has grown to include marketing, sales, and financial service organizations for the BMW brand of motor vehicles, including motorcycles, the MINI brand, and the Rolls-Royce brand of Motor Cars; DesignworksUSA, a strategic design consultancy in California; a technology office in Silicon Valley and various other operations throughout the country.  BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC in South Carolina is part of BMW Group’s global manufacturing network and is the exclusive manufacturing plant for all X5 and X3 Sports Activity Vehicles and X6 Sports Activity Coupes.  The BMW Group sales organization is represented in the U.S. through networks of 338 BMW passenger car and BMW Sports Activity Vehicle centers, 139 BMW motorcycle retailers, 119 MINI passenger car dealers, and 34 Rolls-Royce Motor Car dealers.  BMW (US) Holding Corp., the BMW Group’s sales headquarters for North America, is located in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey.
 
Information about BMW Group products is available to consumers via the Internet at:  www.bmwgroupna.com
 
Journalist note: Information about BMW Group and its products in the USA is available to journalists on-line at www.bmwgroupusanews.com and www.press.bmwna.com.

Jan 22 | Luke Bryan to Headline the DAYTONA 500 Budweiser Pre-Race Show

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Luke Bryan to Headline the DAYTONA 500 Budweiser Pre-Race Show

Luke Byran

Daytona, FL. -- The reigning Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan will electrify the crowd during the DAYTONA 500 Budweiser Pre-Race Show, the prelude to the start of the “The Great American Race” at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, Feb. 23 (FOX, FOX Deportes, MRN Radio and SiriusXM).

Bryan will perform several of his hits on pit road of the “World Center of Racing” prior to the start of the 56th annual DAYTONA 500 – the prestigious season-opening event to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. All race fans that purchase a Pre-Race/Sprint FANZONE access pass for the DAYTONA 500 can enjoy Bryan’s DAYTONA 500 Budweiser Pre-Race Show up close as well as driver introductions

“We’re thrilled to have a talented artist such as Luke Bryan perform prior to the start of the Daytona 500,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “We’re expecting Luke to put on an exhilarating show that will energize our race fans as we kick off the new NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season."

Bryan’s recently released fourth studio album “Crash My Party” has produced hit singles such as “Crash My Party,” “Drink a Beer” and “That’s My Kind of Night” and has sold over one million copies. In 2013, Bryan was named Academy of Country Music Awards’ Entertainer of the Year and earned American Music Awards Favorite Country Male Artist.

Luke Bryan joins a long list of star-studded performers in the DAYTONA 500 Budweiser Pre-Race Show including Zac Brown Band, Lenny Kravitz, Brad Paisley, Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and Bon Jovi.

In addition to his concert, a special ticket package designed around Luke Bryan has been created that includes a DAYTONA 500 grandstand ticket, Pre-Race/Sprint FANZONE access and VIP area access to Luke Bryan’s performance.  Packages start at $164. Fans that already have race tickets can add Pre-Race/Sprint FANZONE access along with VIP area access for $99.

For more information on tickets for the 56th annual DAYTONA 500 and Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race access, race fans can go online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter (@NASCAR) and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #NASCAR, #DAYTONA500 and #ROADTODAYTONA.  Stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news all season long.  Fans can also follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com

For more information on Luke Bryan, please visit www.lukebryan.com.

Jan 20 | American Blade Runner Blake Leeper Named Honorary Race Official For The 56th Annual Daytona 500

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American Blade Runner Blake Leeper Named Honorary Race Official For The 56th Annual Daytona 500

American Blade Runner

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Paralympic athlete Blake Leeper, known as the “American Blade Runner,” will serve as Honorary Race Official for the 56th annual Daytona 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, Feb. 23 at Daytona International Speedway (FOX, 1 p.m. ET).

As Honorary Race Official, Leeper will be introduced at the driver’s meeting, participate in pre-race ceremonies and ride in one of the honorary race official cars ahead of the 43-car field for the 200-lap, 500-mile prestigious race.

“Blake Leeper is a true inspiration and a legend in the making,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “We are honored to have him participate in the pre-race ceremonies at the ‘World Center of Racing’ for the thrilling and historic Daytona 500.”

Leeper’s story is nothing short of remarkable.  He was born with a birth defect that stopped growth below his knees, yet he was able to build muscle above the knee and began playing sports at the age of five.

In 2008 Leeper started intensively running after the Challenged Athlete Foundation presented him with a grant for state-of-the-art blade prosthetics. He won the silver medal in the 2012 Paralympic Games and the gold medal in the 400m Relay at the IPC Worlds in Lyon, France.

Leeper is currently training for the 2016 Rio Olympics for Team USA, where he would become the first double-amputee American to compete in the Olympic Games. More information on Blake Leeper can be found online at www.americanbladerunner.com.

To purchase tickets for the 56th annual DAYTONA 500 and Sprint FANZONE/Pre-Race access, race fans can visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter (@NASCAR) and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #NASCAR, #DAYTONA500 and #ROADTODAYTONA.  Stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news all season long.  Fans can also follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.


Jan 15 | Madison Rising to Sing National Anthem for DRIVE4COPD 300

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Madison Rising to Sing National Anthem for DRIVE4COPD 300

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Madison Rising, a patriotic, guitar-heavy band, will sing the National Anthem for the DRIVE4COPD 300 NASCAR Nationwide Series race on Saturday, Feb. 22 at Daytona International Speedway (ESPN, MRN Radio and SiriusXM).

“Madison Rising’s modern take on the National Anthem is remarkable and we are excited to have them perform the National Anthem prior to the start of the DRIVE4COPD 300,” Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood III said. “Their popular rendition is energetic, yet true to the original version, something the fans in attendance and at home will enjoy.”

Madison Rising is fronted by lead vocalist Dave Bray, a U.S. Navy veteran who served as an 8404 FMF Corpsman for the 2nd Battalion/2nd Marines stationed out of Camp Lejeune, N.C. Drummer Sam Fishman and bassist Steve Padelski make up the rest of the New Jersey-based band.

Founded on the principles of independence, personal responsibility and liberty, the band brings American-rock back to popular culture with their passionate performances.

Madison Rising’s self-titled debut album was released in October 2011 landing them spots in the top 100 best-selling rock albums on iTunes. Their rendition of the National Anthem became a YouTube sensation in 2012 with more than 5 million views. 

Most recently, their long-awaited second album was released in November 2013 titled “American Hero,” which is dedicated to the men and women of the armed forces, police, firefighters and first responders  The album contains 10 songs, including their popular rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Tickets for the DRIVE4COPD 300 on Saturday, Feb. 22 as well as other Budweiser Speedweeks 2014 events can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter (@NASCAR) and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #NASCAR, #DAYTONA500 and #ROADTODAYTONA.  Stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can also follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.

Jan 14 | Preseason Thunder Wraps Up with NASCAR Camping World Truck Series

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Jeb Burton Fastest of the Two-Day Test; Ben Kennedy Turns First Laps at DIS

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – After six days and three different series, Preseason Thunder testing wrapped up on Tuesday at Daytona International Speedway. 

The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series concluded a two-day test, all in preparation for the season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Friday, Feb. 21, part of Budweiser Speedweeks 2014.

Testing earlier during Preseason Thunder were the stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and NASCAR Nationwide Series. Next up at the “World Center of Racing” will be the Rolex 24 At Daytona Weekend on Jan. 22-26.

On Monday’s first day of NASCAR Camping World Truck Series testing, Turner Scott Motorsports driver Jeb Burton, son of 2002 Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton, posted the top speed of 191.144 mph in the No. 4 Chevrolet. Ben Kennedy, great-grandson of NASCAR and Daytona International Speedway founder William H.G. “Big Bill” France, was second fastest at 190.925 followed by John Wes Townley (190.917), Matt Crafton (190.634) and Darrell Wallace (190.634).

“There’s so much history behind Daytona and it would be really cool to get a trophy here,” Burton said. “It’s only my second time here. Last year we finished fifth and we always have a lot of speed at restrictor plate tracks so I’m excited for 2014.”

On Tuesday, showers delayed the start of testing until early afternoon and only a handful of teams remained to participate on the second day with Johnny Sauter being the fastest at 183.921 mph.

The two-day test was a moment that Kennedy had been dreaming about for many years. Entering his first full season in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driving for Turner Scott Motorsports, Kennedy is the son of ISC Chief Executive Officer Lesa France Kennedy and grandson to Bill France Jr.

He was practically raised at the “World Center of Racing” and turning his first laps around the 2.5-mile tri-oval put a big smile on the rookie driver’s face.

“The first two laps or so I was grinning from ear to ear,” Kennedy said. “It was really awesome to do that. From always being around this racetrack and always watching races here and working here and doing pretty much everything here, I was sort of born and raised here. Being able to go around the track was something special, and being able to race here on the same weekend as the Daytona 500 is something awesome.”

Kennedy is campaigning for top rookie honors in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series after competing in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East since 2010.

Kennedy began his racing career on the short tracks of Central Florida. He has Pro-Truck championship titles at both Orlando Speedworld and New Smyrna Speedway, which he earned in 2009, followed by the Super Late Model championship at Orlando Speedworld in 2010. 

While he has competed at Daytona on the backstretch in last year’s UNOH Battle At The Beach, he had never turned laps on the 2.5-mile tri-oval and had never participated in any kind of drafting sessions until this week.

“I’ve experienced a little bit of drafting, but not to that magnitude,” Kennedy said. “It’s a little bit different from what I expected. The side draft, and all of that different stuff, it was a unique experience.”

For more information on tickets for the 56th annual DAYTONA 500 and the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Friday, Feb. 21, race fans can go online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PITSHOP.

Fans can follow NASCAR on Twitter (@NASCAR) and stay up to speed on the latest news by using hashtags #NASCAR, #DAYTONA500 and #ROADTODAYTONA.  Stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest for the latest news all season long. Fans can also follow the latest on DAYTONA Rising, the $400 million frontstretch renovation at the “World Center of Racing” by using #DAYTONARising on Twitter or visiting www.daytonarising.com.

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