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Rolex 24 At Daytona Field Features 19 Indianapolis 500 Veterans

Nearly 1,000 miles separate the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Daytona International Speedway, but the Rolex 24 At Daytona will have a “Back Home Again in Indiana” feel Jan. 26-27, with 19 veterans of the Indianapolis 500 scheduled to compete in North America’s most prestigious endurance sports car race.

The Rolex 24 At Daytona starts at 2:35 p.m. (ET) Saturday on the 3.56-mile “roval” road course that combines an infield section with portions of Daytona’s high-banked oval, with 47 cars competing across four classes. The opening race of the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will finish at 2:35 p.m. Sunday.

Indianapolis 500 veterans are competing in each of the four classes this weekend. The premier Daytona Prototype International class features the most Indianapolis 500 veterans, with nine drivers among the 11 cars in the class.

Three winners of “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing” are racing in DPi cars. Three-time winner Helio Castroneves and 2016 winner Alexander Rossi are teammates with Ricky Taylor in the No. 7 Acura Team Penske entry fielded by 17-time Indy 500 winner Team Penske, while two-time winner Juan Pablo Montoya is in the sister No. 6 Acura Team Penske prototype along with Indy 500 veteran Simon Pagenaud and Dane Cameron.

1995 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Christian Fittipaldi faces an emotional weekend, as he plans to retire after this event. Fittipaldi is driving the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Racing Cadillac, which he also co-drove to victory last year. Fittipaldi is seeking to close his illustrious sports car racing career with his fourth overall Rolex 24 At Daytona victory, also winning previously in 2004, 2014 and 2018.

Montoya also is seeking his fourth overall win. His previous titles came with Ganassi Racing in 2007, 2008 and 2013.

Fittipaldi and Montoya are trying to join elite company at Daytona, as only six drivers have won the overall title four times or more at the Rolex 24, which first was run in 1962.

2017 Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year Fernando Alonso is continuing his American racing journey by racing in the Rolex 24 for the second consecutive year. He is driving with Renger Van Der Zende, Jordan Taylor and Kamui Kobayashi in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac DPi-V.R.

Alonso will attempt to make his second Indianapolis 500 start this May, with McLaren. He is trying to become just the second driver to win the “Triple Crown” of the Indianapolis 500, Monaco Grand Prix and 24 Hours of Le Mans. Graham Hill is the only driver to achieve that feat.

2008 Indianapolis 500 winner and five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon is teaming with fellow Indy 500 veteran Ryan Briscoe and sports car ace Richard Westbrook in the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT in the GT Le Mans (GTLM) class. That class features purpose-built, factory-supported sports cars with professional driver lineups.

Dixon is seeking his fourth career class victory at Daytona, as he won overall in 2006 and 2015 and was part of the winning GTLM team from Ford Chip Ganassi in 2018. Briscoe has two GTLM class victories at Daytona, in 2015 and 2018.

NTT IndyCar Series standout and four-time Champ Car champion Sebastien Bourdais is driving with Joey Hand and Dirk Mueller in Ganassi’s No. 66 sister Ford GT in GTLM. Bourdais seeks his third class victory and the coveted Rolex chronograph watch for class winners, as he was part of the overall winning team in 2014 and won the GTLM class in 2017.

Six Indy 500 veterans will race in the GT Daytona (GTD) class, which features GT3 production sports cars with only limited modifications allowed and lineups featuring a mandated mix of professional and amateur drivers.

NBC/NBCSN analyst Townsend Bell will attempt to earn his second GTD class victory in the No. 12 AIM Vasser Sullivan Lexus RC F GT3.

The No. 57 Heinricher Racing with Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 features an all-female lineup of four drivers, including Indy 500 veterans Ana Beatriz, Simona De Silvestro and Katherine Legge.

NBCSN will televise the Rolex 24 At Daytona live from 2-5 p.m. (ET) Saturday, 9 p.m.-3 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 6 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Visit IMSA.com for live timing and scoring and for live coverage of the entire 24-hour race on IMSA Radio.

INDIANAPOLIS 500 VETERANS IN 2019 ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA FIELD

Daytona Prototype International (9): Fernando Alonso, Rubens Barrichello, Helio Castroneves, Christian Fittipaldi, Kyle Kaiser, Juan Pablo Montoya, Simon Pagenaud, Alexander Rossi, Tristan Vautier

Le Mans Prototype 2 (1): Sebastian Saavedra

GT Le Mans (3): Sebastien Bourdais, Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon

GT Daytona (6): AJ Allmendinger, Ana Beatriz, Townsend Bell, Simona De Silvestro, Jack Hawksworth, Katherine Legge

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