We sit upon the weekend to start the racing reason in a spectacular fashion. Grand-Am drivers of Daytona Prototypes and GTs share their seats with Formula One, LeMans, Indy and NASCAR drivers for this roar of color and a 24 hour speed parade. For the visiting series drivers this is a fun step away from their regular jobs. It is a chance to shine in an endurance race with exotic cars and maybe get a little ink before their own cars roll out to their respective starting lines. However, the Grand-Am / ROLEX Series drivers bank points on this race to officially start their season.
The Grand-Am / ROLEX season start with the ROLEX 24. Do the regular drivers secretly harbor some hidden issues with these usurpers in their seats? It is a double-edged sword when you turn it over and look at it. On the one hand, the starting series points could be jeapordized by the one race visiting drivers. On the other, the fact of these visiting drivers brings a huge motor sports spotlight on the series as a whole. It is a frenzy of media and speed for this January weekend in Daytona with Grand-Am drivers catching a lot of attention because of the presence of the stars from other dimensions of racing. Is it a good thing…? Yes. Whatever points may be won or lost due to the presence of these other drivers falls in importance next to the attention drawn to Grand-Am racing because of them. The ROLEX 24 is a bright start to the racing season for everyone involved.
Enough commentary and philosophical drivel. Let’s talk racing. Qualifying is done for the 2010 ROLEX 24. There were some incidents during practice sessions that left 3 cars on the lift for repairs. All should be ready to race by Saturday to take the green. The Daytona Prototype pole position is held by the #10 SunTrust Ford Dallara following the drive by Max Angelelli. The outside spot on row one is held by the #60 Crown Royal Ford Riley driven through qualifying by Ozz Negri.
The GT series front spot is held by the #69 SpeedSource FXDD Mazda RX-8 driven to qualify by Jeff Segal. The GT series has a large pool of entries consisting of Mazdas, Porsches, BMWs and Chevy Camaros.
The large field of GT cars sharing the track with the Daytona Prototypes is going to make for some tight racing and challenging pass positions. The size of the road course layout at Daytona makes for a 3.5 mile distance but when these cars bunch up in groups fighting for series position it will be a force of will and patience to move through.
It all adds up to one thing. The ROLEX 24 is a must watch on SPEED this weekend. They will broadcast all but the overnight ours of the race which, in a way, is a bit disappointing. Some of the best racing can happen under the lights. However, those of us who are fans might also benefit from a little sleep and catch the headlight highlights on Sunday dropped in over live coverage.
Get your pizzas and snacks and beverages of choice and get ready to watch some racing to get 2010 off to fast start. The Super Bowl is yet to come so no conflict there. Basketball…? Are you kidding? Hockey…? Do we need to be reminded it’s cold outside? This is racing! This is speed! This is a world wide showcase of some of the best drivers from the hottest disciplines of racing. Put aside anything that has no wheels and watch this. Enjoy.