Dalziel overcomes turmoil

Helps team win 24-hour race after financial pitfalls

February 03, 2010|By Tania Ganguli Tribune Newspapers

Completely unknown Action Express Racing won the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona over the weekend, America's premiere sports car race.

"We're definitely thrilled, and I think it does make a little bit sweeter just to be the underdogs," said Ryan Dalziel, who drove for the team that was barely 2 months old.

But Dalziel's victory was heartwarming for reasons beyond his team being the underdog.

Two years ago, a con artist within the Grand-Am scene, Henri Zogaib, convinced Dalziel and his family, among many others including Richard Petty Motorsports' A.J. Allmendinger, to invest in iron ore with him. Zogaib promised a 40 percent return on the investment within months. He told everybody he was making a special deal just for them.

As it goes with such schemes, Dalziel and his fellow investors realized too late that Zogaib's deal was suspect.

Allmendinger is believed to be one of, or the only, investor to recover his money. Dalziel and his family lost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Dalziel's success is nice to see.

Shootout rules change: The rules to get into Saturday's Budweiser Shootout changed again this year.

Can we stick with this, please, for a few years? Enough with the yearly changes, already.

Remember the good ol' days when the race was for pole winners and past Bud Shootout champions?

In 2009, NASCAR changed the rules so the top six cars from each manufacturer in the 2008 season would make the race.

They also admitted past champions and a wild card from each manufacturer.

This year the rules have changed again. Last season's Chase drivers, last season's rookie of the year and any past Bud Shootout winner, DIS points-race winner or series champion who has raced in the last two years, are eligible.

It's a better format than last year's. Chase drivers from just a season ago are more recognizable and deserving of a preseason exhibition show. It's still a departure from the race's history. That's fine. Start a new tradition, but let this one stick a while.

Things learned this week:

1. Danica Patrick will race at least 12 NASCAR Nationwide races - Daytona if she feels like it, California twice, Las Vegas, New Hampshire, Gateway, Michigan, Dover, Charlotte, Chicagoland, Texas, Phoenix and Homestead.

2. Chip Ganassi Racing is stoppable in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona. Just barely, though. A blown engine derailed the Jamie McMurray/Juan Pablo Montoya/Dario Franchitti/Scott Dixon team and the other team finished second.

3. Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus really are just like brothers.

4. And on that note, if HBO made a show about a blade of grass, I would watch it.

5. Joey Logano won the Toyota All-Star showdown. Second-place finisher Sergio Pena, a Drive for Diversity driver, might be on his way up the stock-car chain.

6. ARCA driver Leilani Munter's brother-in-law is Grateful Dead co-founder Bob Weir. Weird.

7. Another fun fact from ARCA PR, nine women participated in ARCA's December test at Daytona (including Patrick, who will make her stock-car debut in that annual demolition derby).

8. NASCAR's Camping World truck series went from 30 teams locked into races to 25 teams this year, throwing more spots up for grabs and adding a little bit of drama.

9. Juan Pablo Montoya said on Twitter he recorded Tom Tom voices on Tuesday.

10. Scott Speed wants to start his own fashion line, says Toyota PR. From any other driver, that would be surprising.

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