Izod IndyCar Series veteran Darren Manning joins an already talented and diverse driver lineup as Spirit of Daytona Racing heads back out on their home track at Daytona International Speedway for this weekend's Roar Before the Rolex 24. The team is confident about its chances for a victory in this year's Jan. 30-31 Rolex 24 endurance classic.
While all four of the Spirit of Daytona drivers come from different backgrounds and racing series, all do have one thing in common - their proven success on the racetrack. 2010's full-time drivers, Buddy Rice and Antonio Garcia, were brought on board with Spirit of Daytona mid-season in 2009, following their unforgettable Rolex 24 victory with Brumos Racing last January. The duo has compiled an impressive list of other victories, with Rice's Indy 500 win and Garcia's 24 Hour of Le Mans back-to-back wins topping that list.
Darren Manning, best known for his success in IRL and the IndyCar Series, has also been an active competitor in the Grand-Am Rolex Series in the past. He joins teammates Rice and Garcia in having visited Daytona's Victory Lane at the Rolex 24, with an overall second place podium finish in 2007 to his credit. His strong performance throughout the night in that race, driving under very difficult conditions, is widely credited as being a contributing factor in his team's success in that event. He returned to Grand-Am competition in 2009, racing in the Daytona season opener with Orbit Motorsports, in addition to his IRL appearances during the year. Manning has raced professionally since his early karting days and competed in a number of Formula Series, winning both Japanese and British F3 Series Championships.
Manning joins NASCAR talent Paul Menard, who has wrapped up his third season in Sprint Cup Series competition, as well as appearing in the NASCAR Nationwide Series for 2009. Menard is making an encore appearance with the team, having posted class wins with them on two occasions as a Spirit of Daytona driver in Grand-Am competition. He attended the December testing in Daytona, and will join Manning for the ‘Roar Before the 24' test days to log some additional track time.
The No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Coyote will appear in the classic Menard yellow paint scheme for the Rolex 24. The 2010 ‘Roar Before the 24' test days will be held at Daytona International Speedway January 8th-10th, followed by the 48th running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 30th. grand-am.com
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