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Rolex 24 to mainstream Grand-Am Last weekend's Rolex 24 At Daytona may have been "the one." The sportscar endurance race at Daytona International Speedway carried so much momentum, between quality of participant and its first appearance on network television, it may prove to be the breakout event for the series.
Grand American Road Racing leaned heavily on four NASCAR champions plus former Formula One star Juan Pablo Montoya to hype the event, which attracted an enormous infield crowd to the Speedway.
The drivers representing NASCAR included Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Bobby Labonte and Jeff Gordon, who finished third in the No. 10 Pontiac Riley entry.
Better yet was the performance of Montoya, who helped guide Chip Ganassi's No. 01 Lexus Riley to victory with co-drivers Scott Pruett and Salvador Duran.
Grand-Am president Roger Edmondson made no excuses for showcasing the recognized driving talent to promote not only the Daytona 24 but the entire series, which has stops in Mexico and Canada this season.
"Having the drivers with the reputations of Juan Pablo Montoya and Jeff Gordon has drawn attention to this event (from people) who otherwise may not have paid attention," he said after Sunday's marathon had concluded.
"When we run a 30-second ad to the general public we don't have time to explain to them who Max Angelelli or Wayne Taylor are. We have to use the names of drivers who have established reputations and household names all across the country."
The first 90 minutes of broadcast coverage was aired on Fox, then it was kicked over to the motorsports-crazy Speed Network. More at Daytona Beach News Journal
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