In Saturday’s inaugural Daytona Prototype qualifying race for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve VIR 400 (SPEED, Live, 1 p.m. ET) No. 19 Playboy/Uniden/Palms Ford Crawford driver Michael McDowell took the lead from Mike Rockenfeller in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Championship Racing Team Porsche Crawford on the final lap to earn the victory
As a result of McDowell’s victory, new co-driver Guy Cosmo will start from the pole position for tomorrow’s VIR 400, with Grand American rules requiring that the qualifying race driver cannot start the feature race. Cosmo is standing-in for Memo Gidley, who was injured during practice for the Crown Royal Grand American Challenge of Long Beach two weeks ago, and will be participating in his first Daytona Prototype race since 2003.
“This was the easiest race I’ve ever won,” said Guy Cosmo following McDowell's win. “Michael put us in a great position for the start of tomorrow's race. It’s unfortunate that Memo will not be sitting on the pole with all the hard work and effort he’s put into the Playboy/Uniden/Palms Ford Crawford. However, I’m looking forward to doing my part during the race."
“There were a lot of firsts for the team today,” McDowell said. “This was the first win for the No. 19 Playboy/Uniden/Palms car and the first win of the season for Ford. I’m just glad we were able to run a clean race and take the win for our sponsors. I was pushing hard during the last few laps of the race, and when I saw the 23 car lift a bit coming down the front straightaway, I saw an opportunity and took it. I really enjoyed the qualifying race format. I think it adds a level of excitement for the entire series.”
"I plan on handing the car back to Michael[McDowell] in a position for him to take the team’s second win of the season," added Cosmo. "I'm confident by the end of Sunday's VIR 400 we’ll be back on the podium."
Guy Cosmo's extensive background with open-wheel formula cars and sports prototypes has earned him a reputation as one of the most successful and versatile young racing drivers in North America. The 2005 American Le Mans Series Rookie of the Year ranks among the top-level road racers in the world. He has earned overall racing titles and major successes in many disciplines including karting, Formula Ford, Formula 2000, Star Mazda, Toyota Atlantic, Grand American and American Le Mans. You can learn more about Guy Cosmo at www.guycosmo.com.
The Grand American Road Racing Association was established in 1999 to return stability to major league sports car road racing in North America. As the organization begins its sixth season of competition in 2005, Grand American is universally regarded as one of the world’s fastest-growing motorsports organizations.
SPEED Channel will provide live coverage of Sunday's VIR 400 beginning at 1:00 p.m. ET, while the Grand-Am Cup Series VIR 200 will air on SPEED at 1:00 p.m. ET on April 29. Live Timing & Scoring data and audio webcasts in English and Spanish will be provided on the official web site of the Grand American Road Racing Association, www.grandamerican.com.