Sport: Zanardi stars in heavyweight lineup at Rolex 24 at Daytona - - PressFrom - US
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SportZanardi stars in heavyweight lineup at Rolex 24 at Daytona

23:15  26 january  2019
23:15  26 january  2019 Source:   ap.org

Don’t know the Rolex 24? You should. Here’s why.

Don’t know the Rolex 24? You should. Here’s why. A primer for those new to North America's premier endurance race.

- The Rolex 24 at Daytona has started with a heavyweight lineup that includes beloved champion Alex Zanardi in a field full of superstars. It sounds like BMW will be documenting Zanardi 's training in a "Road to Daytona " series leading up to the race. Apparently, Zanardi is already at work

Rolex 24 At Daytona . Thursday, February 7, 2019. Rolex 24 At Daytona . WeatherTech Championship. Sunday, January 27, 2019.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The Rolex 24 at Daytona has started with a heavyweight lineup that includes beloved champion Alex Zanardi in a field full of superstars.

'It was deathly quiet' - Witnesses recall Zanardi's crash

'It was deathly quiet' - Witnesses recall Zanardi's crash The medical team had no idea where to even find injured driver Alex Zanardi as they raced toward the scene of his crash at the EuroSpeedway Lausitz in Klettwitz, Germany. The debris field stretched out for hundreds of yards on the gray pavement and the carnage looked like a war scene straight out of the movies. Dr. Terry Trammell hopped out of the safety vehicle and tried running toward Zanardi but immediately slipped and fell. He assumed he slid in oil and was stunned to see it was actually Zanardi's blood pouring down the banking in a pool so slick Trammell had to crawl on his knees to the injured driver.

The 24 Hours of Daytona , currently known as the Rolex 24 At Daytona for sponsorship reasons, is a 24 -hour sports car endurance race held annually at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona

The 24 Hours of Daytona —known as the Rolex 24 since the watch company started sponsoring the race in 1991—has been America’s premier sports The DPi chassis is built to a similar set of specs, but the engines and bodywork are all up to the manufacturers—names like Acura, Cadillac, Mazda

The two-time CART champion and former Formula One driver is racing in North America for the first time since both legs were severed in a 2001 crash in Germany. BMW designed a steering wheel that allows Zanardi to race without his prosthetics using levers to brake, accelerate, shift and adjust the fuel parameters in the engine.

The Bobby Rahal-owned team didn't reveal its driver rotation before the start of Saturday's race but Zanardi was expected to get in the car at the first driver change. The team has choreographed the stops to roughly 15 seconds and that includes swapping the steering wheel for his teammates.

The Italian has been swarmed by fans and competitors in Daytona and has been an inspiration for his attitude and accomplishments -- he's won four gold medals in hand cycling in two different Olympics -- and he's overshadowed all the other drivers in the field. John Edwards, his teammate on RLL, went to the grocery store in his uniform Friday night and was stopped by a fan who wondered if Edwards had ever met Zanardi.

Zanardi looks ahead with realistic expectations

Zanardi looks ahead with realistic expectations Motor racing: Zanardi looks ahead with realistic expectations

The 2019 24 Hours of Daytona (formally the 2019 Rolex 24 at Daytona ) was an International Motor Sports Association (IMSA)-sanctioned endurance sports car race held at the Daytona International

Relive all the action from the Rolex 24 At Daytona , the first race of the 2018 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season and Round 1 of the Tequila

Edwards opened the race with Zanardi on deck based on the rotation the team used when practicing driver swaps.

Chip Ganassi Racing's reigning class champion team had the first major problem of the event when Ryan Briscoe went off course roughly an hour into the event. His Ford GT suffered damage and Briscoe went down three laps from the leaders. The team of Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon won the GT Le Mans class last season.

Mazda Team Joest broke a 26-year-old track record in qualifying for the pole and driver Oliver Jarvis led the field to the green flag at the start of the twice-round-the-clock endurance race. He had a pair of Acura's from Team Penske right behind him and Juan Pablo Montoya, a three-time overall Rolex winner, needed roughly 40 minutes to get past Jarvis and take over the lead.

Ricky Taylor started the race in the second Penske car and followed his teammate past Jarvis to put the Penske cars 1-2 in the opening hour. Watching from his perch on the pit stand was team owner Roger Penske, who promised he'd watch the entire 24-hour event and not take a nap for the second consecutive year.

A fiery ending for the pole-sitter of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona

A fiery ending for the pole-sitter of the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona The No. 77 Mazda DPI suffered a terminal mechanical problem after 220 laps.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) -- Alex Zanardi slid into his BMW for a second stint around Daytona Full of nervous energy when he finally got to race in the Rolex 24 at Daytona , Zanardi 's first stint After losing his legs, Zanardi took up hand cycling and has won four gold medals - six total medals

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - - Starters for Saturday's 37th Rolex 24 At Daytona at Daytona International Speedway, Round One of the USRRC Can-Am and GT Championships with qualifying position, car number in parenthesis, team, drivers with hometowns, class, car, time and speed in miles per hour.

Penske, who turns 82 next month and will be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday night, said he refused to risk stepping away and missing a critical moment for his race cars.

"It would be my luck to look at the scoring, see we are 25th and have no idea what happened," Penske said roughly an hour before the race. "I'm here to be part of the solution if there's a problem."

Jordan Taylor was at the wheel for Wayne Taylor Racing in the opening stint. Waiting for his chance in the Wayne Taylor car was Fernando Alonso, retired from Formula One in November, back at the Rolex for a second consecutive season.

Bia Figueiredo started the race for an all-female lineup driving for Meyer Shank Racing, a project formed by scientist Jackie Heinricher in her bid to promote women in the sport. Heinricher is the amateur on the team but hurt her back testing the car in December and is not driving at Daytona. She brought in two-time IMSA class champion Christina Nielsen to fill the gap. The lineup also includes Katherine Legge and Simona de Silvestro.

IMSA is celebrating its 50th anniversary season this year, and the Rolex is considered the kickoff of the motorsports calendar. The star-studded field and debut of NBC Sports as the series' television partner has raised the enthusiasm around this event. NBC had Townsend Bell and AJ Allmendinger, who are both driving in this race, open the coverage as contributing analysts.

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Racing result secondary to Zanardi's journey to Daytona.
Alex Zanardi basked in the adulation he received over the last month at Daytona International Speedway. His first race in North America since his legs were severed in a 2001 accident was problem-plagued but the affable Italian took pleasure from the journey to the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

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