Cameron to race Rolex Prototype
Rising open-wheel star Dane Cameron will take a big step up the Motorsports ladder this weekend as co-driver of the Chip Ganassi w/Felix Sabates #19 Z-Line Designs/Mission Residential Lexus-Riley Daytona Prototype in the Grand-Am Rolex Series season finale Sunchaser 1000 at Miller Motorsports Park.
Cameron, currently leading the points battle in the Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear, will be sitting in for regular driver Rob Finlay, who continues to recover from a shoulder injury, and will share the driving chores with one of his racing mentors, Michael Valiante.
“I’m sorry for Rob, who I know really wanted to drive in this event, but I’m excited about the opportunity to work with a top team like Ganassi and to share the seat with a great driver like Michael,” says Cameron, 18, of Sonoma, California. “I was supposed to run a prototype in this event last year and although the car broke early in the race before I got in, I did get some practice laps as well as some work on pit stops and driver changes. I’ve also tested and raced at this track in my Star Mazda car earlier this season, so I’ve got a foundation of experience to build on. My goal for this weekend is to be professional, contribute to a good a finish for the team and hopefully open the door to work with Ganassi again in the future.”
Cameron has dominated the 2007 Star Mazda Championship presented by Goodyear with three wins, five poles, four podium and two top-5 finishes driving the #19 JDC Motorsports/Finlay Motorsports Mazda. He was the 2006 FF2000 Rookie of the Year and finished second in the championship. As a Team USA Scholarship driver, he won the 2006 Palmer Audi Winter Championship in Europe. In 2005 Cameron was the SCCA Formula Jim Russell Series champion and Rookie of the Year.
Cameron is part of the Finlay Motorsports driver development program along with Michael McDowell, the 2004 Star Mazda champion. McDowell, who has raced both Daytona Prototypes and Champ Cars, is currently the hottest diver in the ARCA RE/MAX stock car series with three wins, including the most recent event at Chicagoland on September 8 where he won from the pole.
“I’m disappointed not to be behind the wheel this weekend, but I’m happy that Dane is getting this opportunity,” says Rob Finlay. “As one of the Finlay Motorsports development drivers, he’s proven to be incredibly talented and this is his chance to show one of the top teams in auto racing what he can do. I’m extremely proud of what he and Michael McDowell, both of whom are Finlay Motorsports development drivers, have achieved this season.”
The Sunchaser 1000 is scheduled to take the green flag at 1:00 pm ET. The SPEED Channel will broadcast the race live, returning at 5:30 pm ET for the closing laps.
Cameron resumes his campaign to win the Star Mazda Championship in Round Eleven at Road Atlanta on Friday, October 5. He can clinch the championship with a finish of 8th or better, and would be the first driver in the series’ 17-year history to do so as a rookie. Mazda has established a ‘motorsports ladder’ program reaching all the way from karting to Champ Car and the winner of the 2007 Star Mazda Championship will receive sponsorship to compete in the 2008 Cooper Tires Champ Car Atlantic Championship Powered by Mazda.