Skip Barber Alumni Sweep Rolex 24
Monday, January 29, 2007 LAKEVILLE, Conn. (Jan. 29) – How’s this for Rolex 24 at Daytona success? Every single Daytona Prototype finishing first through 10th had at least one Skip Barber graduate behind the wheel. Of the 41 drivers in the top-10 finishing DP teams, 20 are Skip Barber trained.
The winning Chip Ganassi TELMEX/Target Lexus-Riley was manned by Juan Pablo Montoya, Salvador Duran and Scott Pruett. Montoya (Three Day, Western Race Series, Barber Pro Series), Duran (Three Day and 2003 Skip Barber National championship runner-up) and Pruett led a combined 468 of the 668 laps.
In fact, of the 15 drivers who led at some point during the race, six have SBRS training on their racing C.V.: Montoya, Duran, A.J. Allmendinger, Scott Sharp, Alex Gurney and Ian James.
Former McLaren F1 driver Montoya was racing in the endurance as a one-off for his new employer Ganassi. The victory means that he is only the second driver ever to win the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 24 Hours and a Grand Prix victory. Montoya will start his NASCAR Nextel Cup campaign with Ganassi at Daytona on February 10.
The second-place CITGO Pontiac-Riley DP was brought home by Patrick Carpentier, Darren Manning, Ryan Dalziel and Milka Duno (Three Day, Southern Race Series). Finishing third was the SunTrust Pontiac-Riley of Wayne Taylor, Jeff Gordon (Three Day), Max ‘‘The Axe’’ Angelelli and Jan Magnussen. Fourth was Hurley Haywood, Joao Barbosa, J.C. France (Three Day), Robert Moreno (Series) and David Donohue (Three Day), followed by Burt Frisselle (Three Day, Series, National and Pro Series), Brian Frisselle (ditto), Mark Wilkins and David Empringham.
Chris Festa and Roger Yasukawa were on the sixth-place team; Memo Gidley and his co-drivers seventh; eighth was B.J. Zacharias and his teammates; ninth was all SBRS – Mark Patterson, Oswaldo Negri, Helio Castroneves and Sam Hornish – while in 10th it was Michael Valiante, Bobby Labonte, Rob Finlay and Michael McDowell.
In the GT class, Kelly Collins, Andy Pilgrim, Paul Edwards and Johnny O’Connell took second place, one lap in front of Jim Pace, Jim Lowe, Johannes van Overbeek and Ralf Kelleners. And the fifth, sixth, seventh, ninth and 10th-place GT teams also had Skip Barber graduates in their driver line-ups: Nick Ham, Randy Pobst, Brent Martini, Emil Assentato, Nick Longhi, Matt Plumb, Hal Prewitt,Mike Borkowski, David Murry, Jason Bowles and Lonnie Pechnik.
And a special call-out to the Driving for Doners/Skip Barber Race Series GT team of Murray Marden, Brent Milner, John Peterson and Mike Gomez, who came home 13th.
More Race Series drivers, Skip Barber instructors and other alumni were in the field:
Frank Del Vecchio
Friday was the Fresh From Florida 200 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series. There were an amazing 93 starters between the Grand Sports (GS) and Street Tuner (ST) classes. Like the Rolex 24, the KONI Challenge field was shot through with Skip Barber drivers. In GS, Hal Prewitt and David Murry finished fourth in the Playboy/Unitech Nissan 350Z while our own V.P. of Racing, Todd Snyder, brought home the ACKCO Consulting Group Mustang GT in seventh place, setting the race’s 12-fastest lap. The winner in the ST class was Karl Thomson and Billy Johnson in an Acura TSX.
Congratulations from the ‘‘home office’’ to all the Skip Barber racers doing the company proud at Daytona.