DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Three days of testing ended Sunday afternoon at the Daytona International Speedway as the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car series toured the track’s infield road course with a genuinely star-studded lineup of drivers.
Stars included those in motorsports (NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, rookie of the year Juan Pablo Montoya, Indy Racing League champ Dario Franchitti); stars in show business (People magazine’s 2007 “Star of the Year,” actor and amateur racer Patrick Dempsey), and at least one star in both areas (two-time Indianapolis 500 winner, and winner of TV’s Dancing with the Stars, Helio Castroneves).
Those drivers and dozens more will be back for the 46th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona on Jan. 26-27. Of the 63 cars that tested, the Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley with driver Scott Pruett was the quickest. Pruett, who will co-drive the car with Franchitti, Montoya and Memo Rojas, turned a fast lap of one minute, 41.232 seconds in the second practice session on Friday. That works out to 126.60 mph on the 3.56-mile track.
Rounding out the top three were the Penske-Taylor Pontiac Riley (1:41.277), with a driver lineup that includes Castroneves and NASCAR regular Kurt Busch, followed by the Shank Racing Ford Riley (1:41.555), with that time logged by another NASCAR driver, A.J. Allmendinger.
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Testing continues Monday at Daytona, with half the NASCAR Sprint Cup field (those cars with an odd-numbered finish in 2007 owner’s points) on track through Wednesday.
Johnson and Jeff Gordon are among scheduled for NASCAR testing this week.
Fans can watch for free from the Oldfield grandstands.