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Chip Ganassi Racing's Sprint Cup drivers will help pilot one entry Chip Ganassi Racing announced Thursday that Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona , the season-opening event in the 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teammates for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will be making return trips to the 24-hour endurance event, which will take place Jan. 24-25 at Daytona International Speedway . They will team with a pair of Indianapolis 500 winners in Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan for a four-driver effort in the No. 02 Ford-powered Riley Daytona Prototype chassis. McMurray will mark his seventh appearance in the road-racing classic; his best Rolex 24 finish was a runner-up performance in 2011. Larson, the 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the Sprint Cup Series, will be making his second Rolex 24 start, one year after finishing 15th overall in the No. 02 with Dixon, Kanaan and Marino Franchitti. Ganassi will also field the No. 01 entry for primary driver Scott Pruett, who has scored all five of his Rolex 24 triumphs with the venerable team owner. Pruett will team with road racer Joey Hand, IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball and developmental driver Sage Karam. "I love this race because it is one of the few times that we are able to bring all of our drivers and partners together in one race," Ganassi said. "NASCAR, INDYCAR and IMSA drivers and partners are all represented in this unique endurance event. We have had the good fortune of having success in this event, which is the result of a lot of hard work by the crew, talent behind the wheel and at some level, a little luck. But I think the best thing about the Rolex 24 is that it is the first event of another season. I can't wait." The 53rd running of the Rolex 24 signals not only the kickoff event for the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season, but also offers a prelude to Daytona's Speedweeks MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
Race debuted in 2013 on temporary oval layout of backstretch Daytona International Speedway will discontinue the UNOH Battle at the Beach in 2015. The event, an invitational showcase for NASCAR's regional touring and weekly series, enjoyed a successful two-year run using a temporary oval layout on the 2.5-mile speedway's backstretch. This year, a mix of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series, Whelen Modified Tour and Whelen All-American Series will focus on near-nightly racing at nearby New Smyrna Speedway . In a statement, DIS track president Joie Chitwood III said the decision came "after much consideration." "It was necessary for us to make this difficult decision given that we will open 40,000 new seats during Budweiser Speedweeks 2015 as part of the Daytona Rising redevelopment project and will remove the backstretch grandstands prior to 2016 racing season," Chitwood said. "We are pleased to see the NASCAR K&N Pro Series and the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series will remain in Central Florida during Budweiser Speedweeks at New Smyrna Speedway and encourage fans to attend those exciting races." Track officials broke ground on the $400 million Daytona Rising project in July 2013. The redevelopment, which will feature a modernized 101,000-seat grandstand as the centerpiece, is scheduled for completion by the season-opening Speedweeks in February 2016. The Battle at the Beach debuted in 2013 with close-quarters racing and last-lap contact deciding the outcome of all three events in its opening year. The inaugural running was noteworthy not only for Kyle Larson 's victory in the Whelen All-American Series race, but for Mike Stefanik's grumpy post-race interview with Ray Dunlap, a video that went viral after Steve Park bumped aside the seven-time modified champion on the final lap. Daniel Suarez (K&N) and Doug Coby (Modified) prevailed in the Battle at the Beach in 2014. Chitwood said the track looked forward to continuing its relationship with the University of Northwestern Ohio, which sponsored the event in each year of its existence. MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
DIS President Joie Chitwood explains changes coming to the track in 2015 and how they will effect the July race at Daytona International Speedway .
'Topping out' ceremony latest marker as construction carries on RELATED: Play NASCAR Fantasy Live " Sign up for RaceView today Photo courtesy of Daytona International Speedway 's Facebook page DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- In keeping with a long-held construction tradition, Daytona International Speedway participated in a "topping out" ceremony this afternoon to install the highest piece of steel in the $400 million Daytona Rising project. And in keeping with the bigger-is-better tradition of NASCAR's crown jewel race facility, Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood marked the occasion in a unique way -- enlisting the help of NASCAR's founding France family and hundreds of employees and construction workers. "When we found out about that, we said, let's 'Daytona-ize' that, let's have some fun with it,'" Chitwood said. "So I reached out to the (France) family and they definitely wanted to participate so we created a really nice activity so the family can truly put their stamp on this construction. "We've got a really nice plaque that will go on this piece of steel and have all the family members sign this piece of steel. "Then when you lift it into place, everyone blows whistles during the lift and install. "It also commemorates our halfway point so it's hard to believe we are halfway through our project and have only 15 more months to go. There's a lot of work to do but this is a great way to keep our momentum going as we cross the halfway point." International Speedway Corporation Chairman of the Board Jim France, along with ISC CEO Lesa France Kennedy and her son, Camping World Truck Series driver Ben Kennedy are among those from the family who signed the plaque to commemorate the "topping out" occasion. The $400 million construction project represents the largest infrastructure investment in ISC history. New seating is among the massive state-of-the-art improvement plan and Chitwood said 40,000 of the new seats will be in place for the 2015 Daytona 500 in February. "I think it's really important to celebrate these milestones because it's such a significant project," Chitwood said. "As we kind of walk in the footsteps of Bill [France] Sr. and reimagine this icon, these are the times to celebrate what we've done so far. And it's impressive. The steel looks great, the structure is awesome, the concourses are exactly what we thought it would be and this is another way to stay excited for what 2015 will be." The highest point steel beam will include signatures from the France family on a special plaque and it will fly a DIS flag and American flag as well as a tree, per tradition. Chitwood said the construction is top speed right now with the rainy summer season in Florida finished. The Daytona 500 is still five months away and this is the longest stretch without being "race ready." "To think a year and three months ago there was no structure above the ground or below the ground, no structure anywhere,'" Chitwood said. "We've done all this in a little more than a year and it's amazing how much work has happened. "It also gives you a sense of how enormous this will be when it's done, the magnitude of it. All the designs look great, the creative, but to see it in reality and how big it is and how much steel it is, it really makes you understand we're involved in something very special." MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
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