IRL drivers mixup Rolex 24 field
Raphael Matos co-drove the winning GT class car in the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona. This weekend, he'll co-drive the Brumos Racing Daytona Prototype that won the '09 overall title.
Matos, last season's Apex-Brasil Rookie of the Year award winner in the IZOD IndyCar Series, is among several IZOD IndyCar Series drivers who will compete in the 48th annual endurance race on the 3.56-mile, 12-turn Daytona International Speedway circuit. The green flag waves at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Jan. 30.
"I'm with the Brumos team that won the overall race last year and we have a great driver lineup, we have a great package and we have everything that it takes to win that race," said Matos, who competed in the Daytona Prototype class last year with Supercar Life Racing/Level 5.
"Seat time is always good. I spend a lot of time karting in the off-season, and anything you're driving you're keeping your focus and that's always going to help you in an IndyCar."
Also on the Brumos team are five-time race winner Hurley Haywood, who announced it would be his final Rolex 24 At Daytona, three-time winner Butch Leitzinger, and '09 overall winners David Donohue and Darren Law.
"Representing the defending champions is really exciting and I could not be with a better team to achieve my goal of earning an overall victory," Matos said. "I know there is a good chance to make history, not only for myself, but for Hurley and the Brumos team once again."
Reigning IZOD IndyCar Series champion Dario Franchitti and '08 series champion Scott Dixon will co-drive the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates entry with 2000 Indianapolis 500 winner Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray. Justin Wilson, a 2009 IZOD IndyCar Series race winner with Dale Coyne Racing, will co-drive the companion No. 01 car with Marino Franchitti, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.
"It's a good lineup with the 01 and 02," said Dario Franchitti, who co-drove the overall winning car in the 2008 race. "It's always fun to do the Rolex 24 and warm up for the season. You get to race against some of your old pals again, which is kind of cool. My brother is driving with us. I'm really looking forward to being on the same team with him, though it's not in the same car."
Ryan Hunter-Reay, who will drive the No. 37 IZOD car for Andretti Autosport this season, will join Lucas Luhr, Richard Westbrook, Scott Tucker and Christophe Bouchut in the Level 5 Motorsports Daytona Prototype. Buddy Rice, the 2004 Indianapolis 500 winner, will co-drive the Spirit of Daytona car with Paul Menard and Antonio Garcia.
KV Racing Technology co-owner Jimmy Vasser will join Jimmie Johnson, Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty in driving the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing car in Daytona Prototypes.
Roger Yasukawa (Sigalsport) and Vision Racing co-owner Patrick Dempsey (Dempsey Racing) will compete in the GT class.