Though the Rolex 24 didn't start until late Saturday afternoon, there was lots of other racing action this weekend at the world center of racing. Between the Ferrari Challenge races on both Friday and Saturday, combined with the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge event on Friday afternoon, the spectators got much more than their monies worth!
On Friday, Jan. 25, the drivers of the GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge battled to the finish line on the 3.56-mile road course during the BMW Performance 200 at the historic Daytona International Speedway. The event was the second official race of the weekend, and marked the beginning of the 2013 GRAND-AM series season.
Jack Roush Jr. and Billy Johnson drove the GS class No. 61 Roush Performance, Gary Yeomans Ford to the overall win in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge BMW Performance 200.
Roush Jr. was pleased to earn the race win in front of his father, Jack Roush Sr: “It is a big deal given what he’s accomplished here (at Daytona International Speedway).”
The win marks the team’s second consecutive victory at Daytona and Johnson’s third at Daytona International Speedway.
“This was awesome. The Continental Series is always exciting,” Johnson said.
In the ST class, Vesko Kozarov and Lara Tallman from Skullcandy Team Nissan celebrated their first victory in the No. 33 Nissan Altima Coupe. Tallman is the first woman to win a Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race since Sarah Cattaneo in 2011 (July 23, 2011 at New Jersey Motorsports Park).
“I couldn’t be happier, of course. This is the best place to win and the best place to start the season,” said Tallman.
Though the Continental Tire Series event may have gotten more press, it wasn’t the first race of the day. That honor belonged to the Ferrai 458s of the Ferrari Challenge, which hosted events on both Firday and Saturday mornings. Friday mornings’ event was a 16-lap dash that was won by John Farano from Toronto, Ontario in his No. 85 Ferrari 458CS.
Robert Herjavec from the ABC television hit show “Shark Tank” was involved in an early-race incident on Lap 6 and finished 19th. Farano was on the pole for Saturday’s race.
On Saturday, Jan. 26, the event served as the opening act before the pre-race festivities for the Rolex 24. Friday's winner, John Farano from Toronto, Ontario in his No. 85 Ferrari 458CS, started on pole, but the victory went to Carlos Kauffmann, first overall and first in the Trofeo Pirelli, followed by Emmanuel Anassis (Ferrari of Quebec), best of the Coppa Shell runners ahead of Mark Mckenzie and Onofrio Triarsi (Ferrari of Central Florida) second and third respectively in the Trofeo Pirelli. Completing the Coppa Shell podium prior to the start of the 24 Hours were Brent Lawrence (Ferrari of San Diego) and Ryan Ockey.
Competitors in the America series will be back in action on Apr. 13-14 at Sao Paolo for another truly unique event as part of the second Ferrari Racing Days of the year, which follows on from the opening one in Abu Dhabi at the beginning of March. Also on track will be the amazing cars entered in the non competitive XX and F1 Clienti programmes.
Stay tuned to the West Palm Beach Motorsports Examiner for expanded coverage from the Rolex 24 at Daytona, including an interview with the owner of Scuderia Corsa, and more!
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