Bits and Bites Again At The Rolex 24
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© Andrew S. Hartwell

The paddock is alive with activity this morning as teams take measures to insure their cars are ready for the long day into night into day ahead. Brakes are checked, windshields cleaned, tires balanced and marked, fenders shined up and, in some cases, repairs are underway.

And everything the crew members are doing is being watched by a thousand eyes. The grounds are filled with spectators. The lines for the autograph sessions began forming two full hours before the official 12:15 start time. With another hour to go, the lines already snake along the fan zone area, past the Rolex Legends exhibit.

Yes, there is a sense of racing excitement in the air here, and that excitement isn't limited to the folks on the sidelines. For example, Daniel Graeff, one of the drivers of the No. 85 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3, certainly expressed his sense of excitement when he said, "Since I was a boy, I've dreamed of this place, these cars and this race. For some, it's conquering Everest or the Tour de France, but for a racer this is the pinnacle. (This is) a hallowed place that has tested individual and machine and sought out greatness. I am awed, honored and blessed to be here where giants have walked. There is nothing, nothing more challenging to the core than running this race, with and against these great drivers and these great teams."

And Steve Johnson, in the No. 88 Farnbacher Loles Porsche feels he brings a unique advantage that enhances his excitement levels. "I love racing at Daytona! Aside from the history and tradition, it is one of my favorite tracks for several reasons. First, it's fast. Second, in the three areas that it is imperative to be quick (turn 1, the Kink and the Bus Stop), my body weight works to my advantage. Lastly, watching the sun come up with a car still on the lead lap is one of the greatest accomplishments in all of sports."

More excitement - especially for the ladies - is derived from the presence of TV and Movie star, Patrick Dempsey. He is here continuing to pursue his alternate career as a racer, driving the Dempsey Racing No. 40 Mazda RX-8. He is also promoting the AVON Walk for Breast Cancer fundraising challenge.

From the www.Avonwalk.org website:
The Avon Foundation is thrilled to partner with Patrick Dempsey and Dempsey Racing to help bring new energy and excitement to our long commitment in the fight against breast cancer. While two very different types of endurance events, the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer and Sports Car Racing have the common tie of the mental and physical stamina required for success!
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