Former WSB champion Scott Russell earned the nickname "Mr. Daytona" with his two-wheel prowess at Daytona International Speedway, winning the Daytona 200 five times.
Now Russell joins fellow two-wheel stars Jason Pridmore and former motocrosser Jeff Ward in preparing to race in American sports car racing's premier event, the 47th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 24-25.
The trio began a three-day test at Daytona that concluded Monday, co-driving the No. 09 AMA Pro Racing Motorcycle Team Porsche Coyote on the 3.56-mile road circuit.
"It's definitely been a big transition for us, not only for myself, but for Jason and Jeff as well," Russell said. "It's hard to get a lot of track time, sharing the seat with the other drivers."
The three are sharing the wheel of the Daytona Prototype, which runs in the premier class of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.
"It's a great opportunity, and I'm very happy that they've given me the chance to come out here and do this," Russell said. "We're having a great time. I like these guys. They've welcomed me in and we're having a lot of fun. It's real easy for me to hang out with them and not feel too out of place."
In recent years, the Rolex 24 has showcased stars of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the IndyCar Series and international sports car racing, becoming America's unofficial race of champions. However, the pairing of three motorcycle legends is unique in the star-studded field.
"I don't think there's a motorcycle racer out there who hasn't sat back and said he'd like to try this race," said Pridmore, a two-time AMA Pro champion. "All three of us have watched this race on TV forever, and Jeff's even driven in it once. If there ever was a car I've wanted to race, it was a Grand-Am car. That's how I've always felt, and I'm tickled to get the chance to do it."
Opening practice and qualifying for the Rolex 24 will be Thursday, Jan. 22, with the green flag dropping at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 24, 2009. For additional information, visit www.grand-am.com.