Derhaag Motorsports had a busy and successful test of their new Rolex Cup Daytona Prototype last week at Daytona International Speedway. The test was in preparation for the first race of the 2006 Grand American Series season--the Rolex24 at Daytona, which is scheduled to begin at noon Saturday, January 28th.
The overall driver lineup for the 2006 Rolex24 at Daytona looks like a "who's who in international racing" and joining that esteemed group will be the drivers of Derhaag Motorsports. Complementing the team's full season drivers, Randy Ruhlman and Chris Bingham, will be Chevrolet factory driver Ron Fellows and endurance specialist Justin Bell. Engineered by Buddy Fey, the #40 Preformed Line Products Daytona Prototype Pontiac Riley features the familiar blue and white color scheme, while also carrying the sponsorship logos of Coyote® Closure, Park Place, Ltd and KeyBank.
All four drivers are experienced endurance racers. Ron Fellows has an overall Rolex24 win to his credit, as well as multiple wins at LeMans. Bell and Bingham have considerable experience at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Bell is also a Rolex24 and LeMans class winner. While this will be his first Rolex24 at Daytona, Ruhlman competed in endurance racing early in his career, concentrating more recently on the Trans-Am Series Championship.
Moving over full time to the Grand American Daytona Prototype Series for 2006, Derhaag Motorsportshas endurance racing success, as well as a background of over 20 years in Trans-Am and other racing series. The team includes a qualifying pole at the 2003 Rolex24 at Daytona in GTS in its credits.
Chris Bingham is a two time Grand American GTS Champion with experience in the Busch Grand National Series, open wheel racing in Indy Lights and IRL, and a background in endurance racing. Nominated as one of the "Best Road Racers of the Year" in 2002, Bingham made his return to full time Grand American Rolex Series racing in 2004. He piloted the #15 CB Motorsports car before joining the Derhaag Motorsports team for 2006.
Returning to Derhaag Motorsports for the fourth straight year, driver Randy Ruhlman was the 2005 Trans-Am winner of the Long Beach Grand Prix and Cleveland Grand Prix races. He was named the 2005 BBS "Most Improved Driver of the Year" and was the runner up for the 2005 Trans-Am Drivers' Championship. Fourth overall in Trans-Am Series history with 85 top five finishes, Ruhlman has driven in endurance series, in IMSA GT (with a win at Del Mar) and has circle track experience in the ASA and NASCAR short track series.
Ron Fellows is recognized as one of road racing’s most accomplished and talented drivers. An overall winner at the Rolex24 in 2001 and at the 24 Hours of LeMans in 2001 and 2002, the Canadian driver has wins in sports cars, Trans-Am, and ALMS, as well as in the NASCAR Busch and Craftsman Truck Series. Fellows has numerous Championships to his credit, including the American LeMans GTS Championship in 2002, 2003 and 2004 (with Johnny O'Connell). Fellows will join Ruhlman and Bingham again for the longer Rolex Cup races at Watkins Glen in June and at Miller Motorsports Park in late August.
Justin Bell has competed numerous times at LeMans, as well as at the Rolex24 at Daytona, with multiple wins in class at both races. The Great Britain native won the 1997 FIA GT2 Champion and was the 2001 Trans-Am Rookie of the Year, scoring two wins in Trans-Am Series competition. Bell has competed with Derhaag Motorsports in the past in Trans-Am and at Daytona, where he set the 2003 GTS qualifying record.
The Rolex 24 at Daytona gets under way on Thursday, January 26th with both day and night pr actices for drivers and pit crews practices and continues on Friday. The 24-hour race is scheduled to start at noon on Saturday, January 28th with live television coverage on the SPEED Channel. The Rolex24 at Daytona is the premier endurance race in the United States. It hosts a world-class talent pool of drivers from every form of international racing from Formula1 to NASCAR. The Rolex24 at Daytona is held at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida, and is celebrating its 44th year of competition.
The Grand American Series is the fastest growing road racing series in the world. Its beginnings and continuing ties to the NASCAR family of racing series affords it great visibility and longevity. The series, which looks to host over 45 Daytona Prototype entrants, has a full Television package on the SPEED Channel with the majority of races shown live or same day coverage.
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