Dalziel Unofficially Breaks Daytona DP Record
DAYTONA BEACH, Jan. 10, 2011: Ryan Dalziel won the 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona with Action Express Racing, and finished second with Peter Baron's operation in the 2007 event. Sunday, Dalziel served notice that Baron's Starworks Motorsport is a team to watch in the 49th running of the Rolex 24 later this month, unofficially breaking the Daytona International Speedway track record with a lap of 128.194 mph (1:39.973) in the No. 8 Corsa Car Care Ford/Riley.
Dalziel's fast lap came during the final hour of the final day in the "Roar Before the Rolex 24," a three-day test session for the 2011 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season opener on Jan. 29-30.
"We are contenders, and we've proven that this weekend," said Dalziel. "We do the best we can with what we've got. I think we could have gone faster. I didn't put together a perfect lap, and we didn't have a qualifying setup on the car. We know we've got more."
Dalziel will co-drive with Mike Forest, Colin Braun, Tomas Enge and Jim Lowe in the Rolex 24.
"Having the fastest time in the test pretty exciting," said car owner Baron. "We've put in a lot of hard work since last fall, and Ryan's a phenomenal driver, and you can say enough about Bill Riley's engineering. Our car came off the trailer awesome, and got even better."
Defending Rolex Series Daytona Prototype champion Scott Pruett also bettered the track mark in the Sunday morning session in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley co-driven by Memo Rojas, Joey Hand and Graham Rahal, running a lap of 127.740 mph (1:40.329). David Donohue set the track record in 2009 with a lap of 1:40.540 in a Porsche/Riley.
"Running a fast time was not necessarily our intention," said Pruett, who won nine of 12 races last year en route to capturing his third DP title. "We are focused on going racing and getting to the checkered flag first."
The final day also produced the fastest speeds in the GT class. Leh Keen led the way with a lap of 116.649 mph (1:49.329) in the No. 59 Brumos Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
"We tried a simulated qualifying run and I nailed a lap," said Keen, the 2009 GT champion. "Brumos really has its act together - they squeeze every bit of speed out of these Porsches."
Keen and regular co-driver Andrew Davis will be joined at the Rolex 24 by Hurley Haywood - the lone five-time winner of the event - and Porsche factory driver Marc Lieb.
Practice and qualifying for the Rolex 24 begins Thursday, Jan. 27. The race takes the green flag at 3:30 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, Jan. 29.
NOTES: Doug Peterson was unhurt when he hit the wall in the second infield horseshoe turn during Sunday morning's session, but the No. 7 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley was finished for the test with rear bodywork damage. ... Several of the teams left at noon on Sunday due to winter storm conditions at their connecting and destination airports. ... The Ganassi team left for a different reason - the team hosted Sunday evening's American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association banquet at its headquarters in Indianapolis.