Locals featured in Florida endurance race
Forget the Winter X Games. Part-time Aspen resident Gary Stewart and Basalt resident Paul Dallenbach are doing something arguably more extreme this weekend on one of the most storied tracks in auto racing. Both are slated to race in the 44th running of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, the most prestigious endurance sports car race in North America.Stewart, who lives in Aspen part of the year and owns the local land development company Aspen Equity Group, will drive a Porsche he owns in the race which starts Saturday and ends Sunday.Stewart has won the Rolex 24 [race] before, earning the 1999 GTT class victory driving a Ford Mustang Cobra with co-drivers Kyle McIntyre, Andy Petery, Craig Carter and Les Delano. Dallenbach and his brother Wally Jr., also a car racer and TNT broadcaster, have set aside sibling rivalry to join together to race for the Robinson Race Team for a second year. Last year the team finished 19th in its class.”The 24 Hours at Daytona is an intense race on a grueling course, but with such a great field of competitors. I love to participate,” Dallenbach said.This year the Dallenbach brothers will be joined by teammates Darin Brassfield and George Robinson in a Pontiac-Riley race car. This is Dallenbach’s eighth appearance – his best finish coming in1988 when he finished second in his class. His brother has also raced at the Rolex24 Hours of Daytona several times, winning his class four times.The Dallenbach name is synonymous with championship racing. Wally Dallenbach Sr. was inducted to the Colorado Motorsports Hall of Fame for his accomplishments in NASCAR and as a CART steward, as well as his son’s successful racing careers.For this year’s race, Stewart will be joined in the No. 93 Apple Motorsports Porsche by his three nephews, Rob and Dave Stewart and Bob Gilbert. The fifth driver will be professional race car driver Tony Ave of Mooresville, N.C. When the Apple Motorsports team left Daytona after last year’s 24-hour race, it did so leaving unfinished business behind. Stewart and his teammates were forced to pull out after their white Porsche was hit from behind during a caution period.The team was running seventh in its class at the time.This weekend’s race will be covered live on the SPEED network, which plans to show the race in three parts this year: from its start at noon until 6 p.m., then from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. Saturday and from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Sunday. All times are Eastern Standard.This year, the field of 75 total race cars includes 33 Daytona prototypes and 42 GT machines.
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