1989 NASCAR Champion Eying Start In Rolex 24

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Dec. 21, 2005)—Rusty Wallace has retired from NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition, but he's still got one more race on his to-do list – the 44th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29.

Wallace flew down to Daytona International Speedway for the day to shake down a Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford on the historic 3.56-mile road course as he considers competing in the upcoming prestigious twice-around-the-clock race

"This 24 Hours of Daytona has been on my plans for over a year and a half," Wallace said. "I've been on again, off again with it but the last couple of weeks I've really gotten on it again. Jim France gave me a call and said I ought to reconsider and go back down and try it out.

"That's the reason I'm here. The real test isn't until January but since I've never even seen these cars before I wanted to come down here and work all the bugs out and get my rhythm and breaking points going and really understand what I'm doing when I come back for the real test in January."

Wallace just completed his final season in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Since making his first Cup start in 1980, Wallace accumulated one championship (1989), 55 victories, 36 poles and more $40 million in earnings.

But he said at the beginning of the 2005 season, that he wanted to do one more race after the conclusion of his NEXTEL Cup career and that was the Rolex 24 – North America's most prestigious sports car race.

"The Rolex is an internationally known race," Wallace said. "It's a real popular race. It's a worldly race. It's not like a 12-hour race somewhere or a timed race. It's a race that the world's greatest drivers have run – A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti – people like that, just to name a few. The late Dale Earnhardt drove it. Tony (Stewart) drove it. He likes it and he told me you got to try it.

"When the record books are closed on Rusty Wallace's driving career, I want the 24 hours to be included."

While Wallace might be comfortable in a stock car flying around Daytona International Speedway, but it's going to be a different story on the 3.56-mile road course in a Daytona Prototype, which serves as the premier class to the Rolex Sports Car Series.

"I've won nine times on road courses – Sears Points, Riverside and Watkins Glen. I won at all those. I don't have to prove to anybody that I know how to road race," Wallace said. "But this is a different animal and these drivers are pretty darn good drivers. It's not like I'm out there by myself running for 24 hours. I've got four different drivers and I'm going to be one small part of the puzzle. When it's all said and done, I get to say that I did it. Hopefully we'll be on a team that's capable of winning the thing."

Wallace says that the Howard-Boss Motorsports team hopes to have a driving team finalized within the week that will include him and a couple of sports car specialists.

Sports car aces and former Rolex 24 champions Butch Leitzinger and Elliott Forbes-Robinson have been giving Wallace tips on the twists and turns of the road course as well as the Daytona Prototype.

"He wanted to come down and see what it's about," Leitzinger said. "He said he's never been around the road course. Elliott Forbes-Robinson took him around in a van to show him where it went. He seems to be very excited. He's asking all the right questions about shift points and breaking points. Just the kind of boring things you need to know before you get in the car. I think he'll really enjoy it. It's a good friendly car that's fast."

Wednesday's test was a star-studded one with several major drivers getting shake downs in Daytona Prototypes. Among the teams participating include Cheever Racing (Eddie Cheever, Christian Fittipaldi, Bill Lester, Paul Menard and Patrick Carpentier), Finlay Motorsports (Memo Gidley), Alex Job Racing (Patrick Long) and Brumos Racing (Hurley Haywood, David Donohue, Ted Christopher, JC France and Darren Law).

"We had a lot new customers with the Crawfords and they needed some time in the car and find out what they're doing," said Forbes-Robinson. "Eddie Cheever just picked up a car today. A lot of teams want to come down here and see what these new cars are like before we get into the test in January."

Tickets for the 44th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.
Rusty Wallace Shakes Down Daytona Prototype At DIS

1989 NASCAR Champion Eying Start In Rolex 24

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Dec. 21, 2005)—Rusty Wallace has retired from NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition, but he's still got one more race on his to-do list – the 44th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29.

Wallace flew down to Daytona International Speedway for the day to shake down a Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford on the historic 3.56-mile road course as he considers competing in the upcoming prestigious twice-around-the-clock race

"This 24 Hours of Daytona has been on my plans for over a year and a half," Wallace said. "I've been on again, off again with it but the last couple of weeks I've really gotten on it again. Jim France gave me a call and said I ought to reconsider and go back down and try it out.

"That's the reason I'm here. The real test isn't until January but since I've never even seen these cars before I wanted to come down here and work all the bugs out and get my rhythm and breaking points going and really understand what I'm doing when I come back for the real test in January."

Wallace just completed his final season in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series. Since making his first Cup start in 1980, Wallace accumulated one championship (1989), 55 victories, 36 poles and more $40 million in earnings.

But he said at the beginning of the 2005 season, that he wanted to do one more race after the conclusion of his NEXTEL Cup career and that was the Rolex 24 – North America's most prestigious sports car race.

"The Rolex is an internationally known race," Wallace said. "It's a real popular race. It's a worldly race. It's not like a 12-hour race somewhere or a timed race. It's a race that the world's greatest drivers have run – A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti – people like that, just to name a few. The late Dale Earnhardt drove it. Tony (Stewart) drove it. He likes it and he told me you got to try it.

"When the record books are closed on Rusty Wallace's driving career, I want the 24 hours to be included."

While Wallace might be comfortable in a stock car flying around Daytona International Speedway, but it's going to be a different story on the 3.56-mile road course in a Daytona Prototype, which serves as the premier class to the Rolex Sports Car Series.

"I've won nine times on road courses – Sears Points, Riverside and Watkins Glen. I won at all those. I don't have to prove to anybody that I know how to road race," Wallace said. "But this is a different animal and these drivers are pretty darn good drivers. It's not like I'm out there by myself running for 24 hours. I've got four different drivers and I'm going to be one small part of the puzzle. When it's all said and done, I get to say that I did it. Hopefully we'll be on a team that's capable of winning the thing."

Wallace says that the Howard-Boss Motorsports team hopes to have a driving team finalized within the week that will include him and a couple of sports car specialists.

Sports car aces and former Rolex 24 champions Butch Leitzinger and Elliott Forbes-Robinson have been giving Wallace tips on the twists and turns of the road course as well as the Daytona Prototype.

"He wanted to come down and see what it's about," Leitzinger said. "He said he's never been around the road course. Elliott Forbes-Robinson took him around in a van to show him where it went. He seems to be very excited. He's asking all the right questions about shift points and breaking points. Just the kind of boring things you need to know before you get in the car. I think he'll really enjoy it. It's a good friendly car that's fast."

Wednesday's test was a star-studded one with several major drivers getting shake downs in Daytona Prototypes. Among the teams participating include Cheever Racing (Eddie Cheever, Christian Fittipaldi, Bill Lester, Paul Menard and Patrick Carpentier), Finlay Motorsports (Memo Gidley), Alex Job Racing (Patrick Long) and Brumos Racing (Hurley Haywood, David Donohue, Ted Christopher, JC France and Darren Law).

"We had a lot new customers with the Crawfords and they needed some time in the car and find out what they're doing," said Forbes-Robinson. "Eddie Cheever just picked up a car today. A lot of teams want to come down here and see what these new cars are like before we get into the test in January."

Tickets for the 44th anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona are available online at http://www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.