Wednesday, January 21, 2009

3 Days to Blogathon: 24 Hours of Daytona Preview

With Martin Luther King Day and the Inauguration behind us, the NFL on its playoff hiatus week, and 3 Days to what most consider the official start of the Racing Season, we couldn't be happier than ever!

We're looking forward to the first annual Furious Wedge 24 Hours of Blogathon, where we intend to live-blog about every sporting thing we can during this coming weekend, centered of course around the 24 Hours of Daytona race.

We invite everyone and anyone to join in following our smarmy, witty, odd, insightful and stupidly-sleep-deprived bits of analysis. We also want to invite all to comment and discuss back with us, follow us on twitter; and for any of you bloggers out there who want in on the craziness even if only for a small portion of the time, we'll gladly make any of you guys an honorary member of the Furious Wedge for the blogathon.

So with 3 days to go, lets dive in and preview the first of many events we plan to cover throughout the blogathon:

The 47th Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona

This race is easily the biggest collection of drivers, teams and manufacturers in motorsports. Simply put, If you follow racing in any way, you will find something or someone you know:

We are currently looking at over 200 drivers entered from everywhere: IndyCar, NASCAR, AMA Supercross, Motorcross, Formula One, Grand-Am, American LeMans, Atlantics, GP2, StarMazda, SCCA and more!

8 different engine makers: Lexus/Toyota, Pontiac, Ford, Porsche, BMW, Chevrolet, Ferrari & Mazda; a multitude of chassis to choose from: Riley, Crawford, Coyote, Dallara, Lola, Pontiac, Porsche, Mustang, Mazda, Corvette and Ferrari!

While that may be a bit much to take in for the common observer, lets start at the basics:

1) The Race is 24 Hours, whichever car goes the furthest wins the Overall Race.

2) there are 2 classes on the track, and each class awards a winner:

A)Daytona Prototype - faster, designed for racing, not resmbling anything in particular but the DP formula (white headlights at night); chances are about 90% that the Overall Winner will come from this class.

B) Grand Touring - these cars are based on their consumer counterparts; meaning when someone drives a Mustang, Porsche, or Ferrari, it looks just like a Mustang, Porsche, or Ferrari (yellow headlights at night). Because these cars are based on the consumer counterparts they do not go as fast but that doesn't mean they are slow. And as lately as 2003 a TRG Porsche from the GT class won the Overall 24 Hours.

3)This track is a combination of the famous Daytona oval speedway and the road course inside the oval, meaning drivers get tested in both aspects.

4) Only rules to know: a) No driver can drive more than 3 hours consecutively & b) a driver MUST be out of the car for at least 1 hour before he gets back in

That's it.... that's all anyone needs to know. Now what incentive and stories are out there??? Pick whatever one(s) you like, I've linked to stories and team pages so you know what car to look for and if I miss any, comment about it and we'll add it, also go to Grand-Am's preview linked at bottom for even more:

-- Attempting the first time ever back-to-back-to-back-to-back; Ganassi/Sabates 01 entry filled with its Grand-Am regulars Scott Pruet and Memo Rojas and joined by last year teammate 24 Hour co-driver Juan Pablo-Montoya.

--Attempting GT back-to-back and trying to buck the odds once again going against what seems like 300 Porches (really only 17); is the Mazda RX-8 of Speedsource sporting regulars Nick Ham and Sylvain Tremblay (who tragically lost his wife in a car-accident) but this year minus Raphael Matos who seems to win in every series he runs in (has moved up to the DP class this year see below).

--Dempsey Racing: Patrick Dempsey, McDreamy from Grey's Anatomy and also of movies like Enchanted and co-owner of Vision IndyCar team, owns a team and himself drives in a a pink Mazda that can't be missed. Why pink? Because the team has partnered with the great Avon Walk for Breast Cancer charity.

--Staying with Charity: Two doctors, Ron Yarab and Michael Gomez, will be driving in the GT class #85 and in the process raising money: "Each lap the team completes will raise money pledged by donors to the Children's Tumor Foundation's Racing4Research"

--Spirit of Daytona AMA - Are you a motorcross/supercross fan? Then I suggest following the #09 DP entry filled with a trio of motorcyle winners: Scott Russell, Jason Pridmore & Jeff Ward who many also know as former IndyCar driver and 1999 Indy 500 runner up.

--IndyCar fan? There is no shortage of past and present open-wheel racers with Juan Pablo Montoya, Danica Patrick, Buddy Rice, Darren Manning, Jimmy Vasser, Tomas Enge, Ryan Dalziel, Raphael Matos, A.J. Allemendinger, Scott Pruet, Ryan Briscoe, Jeff Ward, Jeff Bucknum Casey Mears, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alex Figge & Max Papis; but for IndyCar overkill we recommend:

Ganassi's 02 entry features the 2007 & 2008 IndyCar Series and Indy 500 champs along with the 2007 Indy Lights Champion in Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon & Alex Lloyd.

--NASCAR fan? While you don't get as many choices you do get Jimmy Johnson leading the way in last year's runner up, Juan Pablo Montoya, Casey Mears, A.J. Allemendinger, Colin Braun, Kyle Petty, Bill Lester, and Bodine Bobsled Champion, NASCAR analyst and racer Boris Said in a Mustang!

--Formula One fan.... Jan Magnussen

--Like your boy-toys young ladies? PR-1's drivers have an average age of 25...

--Like the Total Underdog? Its now been 6 years since a GT class car won the Overall; doing so in a TRG Porsche; take your pick of any GT car, any car, watch many, root for any, you can't go wrong with 24 hours of straight racing.

The true beauty of the race is the cars; 24 hours straight running an engine at its peak, you can't do it with just a driver, just a good car, just good strategy, just good mechanics, you need them all. No one ever really thinks about that... so just let it sink in for a minute....

Imagine running your car for 24 hours straight... now imagine topping it out on the interstate for 24 hours straight... a true test of man and machine, where the mechanics shine just as much as the drivers; we give you the 24 Hours of Daytona!


Meesh said...

don't forget Alex Figge in the open wheelers! He's co-driving at AIM Autosport this weekend.

are you guys down there or are you couching it like me? LOL! (actually, I'll be barring it as I don't have cable... unless Speed is airing it online like they do with ALMS)

Allen Wedge said...

Thanks, Figge added.

We'll be doing all this craziness from our couches and whatnot. I'm newly out of D.C. and 'Furious' is in Nashville so neither of us is really in range, though as Mrs. Wedge astutely proclaimed last year when I introduced her to the 24 Hours; "We could leave now and drive to this race and still catch the end of it"

Of course we lived out of Baton Rouge then (slightly closer) and also 'Furious' is still new to this whole racing thing; (took him and his awesome sons to their first at Nashville-IRL last year).

Yeah as far as online coverage, I'm not sure; I'll be doing double TV's in order to watch Daytona and NHL Skills at same time, then computer-to-TV for A1GP; but I'm not even sure what to do for the off-TV hours of Daytona, last year they had some camera's and track announcers online but I'm not seeing any of that this year, only live timing.

I've e-mailed Grand-Am to ask, hopefully they'll respond in time; let you know if I find anything though.