For the first time in more than five months, SportsCars were making laps Friday on Daytona International Speedway’s 3.56-mile high-banked tri-oval/infield road course in preparation for Saturday’s Independence Day (July 4) IMSA WeatherTech 240 At DAYTONA.
When the practice session was over, a familiar face was at the top of the leaderboard. Acura Team Penske driver Juan Pablo Montoya, a three-time winner of the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, toured the iconic layout during the early evening in a Daytona Prototype (DPi) in 1:35.960, slightly better than the time of 1:35.976 of Gabby Chaves in the No. 31 Cadillac (DPi).
“I am so excited to be back in the car,” said Montoya, who won the 2007, ’08 and ’13 Rolex 24 At DAYTONA races. “Dane (Cameron, co-driver with Montoya of the No. 6 Acura) came in from practice and said ‘the car feels pretty good and I think you are going to like it.’ I said, ah, thank you, no pressure! And, he was right. I think we have a really good race car. I felt comfortable and I love driving this car. Everyone on the team is so excited to be back at the track.”
The 2 hour, 40-minute IMSA WeatherTech 240 At DAYTONA is set for a 6:05 pm ET start Saturday that will end under the lights. A limited number of grandstand tickets are available at just $30 while children under 12 get in free. To secure tickets, fans can visit www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or call 1-800-PIT-SHOP. All attendees must be Florida residents, and will adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Montoya, who won the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship title teaming with Cameron, has been a popular figure at Daytona, having also driven on the high banks in 14 NASCAR Cup Series races, including seven Daytona 500s in which his best finish was sixth in 2011.
Part of this year’s overall winning team for the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA in January – Ryan Briscoe and Renger van der Zande – were sixth quickest with a lap turned in by Briscoe in the No. 10 Cadillac. Earl Bamber led the way in the GT le Mans (GTLM) class in the #912 Porsche 911 RSR while Toni Vilander was tops in the GT Daytona (GTD) division in the #63 Ferrari 488 GT3. A total of 26 machines are scheduled to start the race.
All guests who attend the IMSA WeatherTech 240 At DAYTONA will be screened before entering the facility, required to wear face coverings and maintain six feet of social distancing throughout the venue. Full protocols can be found here. The IMSA WeatherTech 240 At DAYTONA will also be televised LIVE on NBCSN.
Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.
About Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway is a state-of-the-art motorsports facility and was awarded the SportsBusiness Journal’s prestigious Sports Business Award for Sports Facility of the Year in 2016. Daytona International Speedway is the home of “The Great American Race” – the DAYTONA 500. Though the season-opening NASCAR Cup Series event garners most of the attention – as well as the largest audience in motorsports – the approximately 500-acre motorsports complex, also known as the “World Center of Racing,” boasts the most diverse schedule of racing on the globe. In addition to at least nine major event weekends, the Speedway grounds are also used extensively for events that include concerts, civic and social gatherings, car shows, photo shoots, production vehicle testing and police motorcycle training.