This was the 50th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Daytona and the spectacle is gaining a reputation of an expensive, quality wine. As the years go by, the race keeps getting better and better.
- A.J. Foyt was scheduled to be the Grand Marshall and give the command to fire the engines. He was hospitalized just prior to the weekend when an infection developed after having knee surgery two weeks ago and did not make the trip to Daytona. The fill-in replacement as Grand Marshall? None other than Jackie Stewart. His command to start engines will not go down as a legendary call. But he is Jackie Stewart. Any speedway is honored to have him on the grounds in any capacity. Our best wishes go out to Foyt for a quick recovery.
- The crowd was estimated to be the biggest in the 24 Hours’ history, somewhere in the 60,000 to 80,000 range. Don’t let the near-empty grandstand fool you. The infield is filled to capacity. The fans’ ability to party and enjoy the race is at full capacity too. Daytona’s sports car crowd can go head-to-head with Talladega’s for enjoying a race to the fullest.
- The Chevrolet Corvettes showed plenty of muscle at the Roar Before the 24 pre-season testing. The make was favored to dominate when teams returned for the race. While quickest in the weekend’s practices, the Ford of Starworks Motorsport surprised many with a pole position run. Michael Shank Racing’s Ford wound up seeing the checkers first. The race is not always to the quickest in testing.