By David G. Firestone
Winter sucks. It’s cold, there’s snow on the ground, and the worst part is that there isn’t auto racing…until 2 pm tomorrow! Yes! It’s the Rolex 24 at Daytona. This year’s field will feature 53 teams from around the world. I’m not a fan of Sports Car racing but I’m looking forward to this. Using the road course configuration, 53 different cars, with 3-4 drivers will race over the course of 24 hours. The goal is to run the farthest in the 24 hour time. In the event of a red flag, the time count will not stop, but the race will.
The history of the event dates back to 1959, when a 1000 km, or 621.371 race was held. In 1962-1963, it was changed to a 3 hour long format, and then to a 2000 km or 1242.742 mile race from 1964-1965. In 1966, the race became a 24 hour long race, which it was until 1971. In 1972 the race was shortened to 6 hours, then returned to 24 hours from 1973 on wards.
If racing has a true “all star race” this is it. Mario Andretti, AJ Foyt, Bobby Rahal, Al Unser, Al Unser Jr., John Andretti, Scott Prutt, Arie Luyendyk, Max Papis, Christian Fittipaldi, Scott Dixon, Casey Mears, Dan Wheldon, Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Sharp,Graham Rahal, Sébastien Bourdais, Justin Wilson, and Charlie Kimball have all won, and the roster of drivers who have raced in the series is legendary. From NASCAR, Rusty Wallace, Tony Stewart, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, Greg Biffle, Kurt Busch, Kyle Petty, AJ Allmendinger, Mark Martin, Jamie McMurray, Kevin Harvick, Brian Vickers, Marcos Ambrose, Clint Bowyer, Michael Waltrip, Robby Gordon, Nelson Piquet Jr.,Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Dale Earnhardt Sr. have raced. From IndyCar, Buddy Rice, Hélio Castroneves, Sam Hornish, Jr., Dario Franchitti, Paul Tracy, Michael Andretti, Marco Andretti, Danica Patrick, Jimmy Vasser, and James Hinchcliffe. Celebrites who love to race show up, including Tim Allen, Frank Beard, Robert Carradine, Patrick Dempsey, James Garner, Gene Hackman, Bruce Jenner, Perry King, Lorenzo Lamas, Phil Mahre, Craig T. Nelson, Paul Newman, Dan Pastorini, Brian Johnson, and Jason Priestly.
This year’s race looks to be a good one, and I’m tingling with excitement. It starts at 2:10 ET on Fox, moves to Fox Sports 2 from 4pm-8pm, then to Fox Sports 1 from 8pm to 10 pm, moves to IMSA.com from 10pm to 7am, and from 7 am to 2:30 will be back on Fox Sports 1. I’m looking forward to it, and I’ll see you there!