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Auto Racing

Racing legends invading Sebring

Staff
Published:   |   Updated: March 22, 2013 at 03:05 AM
SEBRING -

It would be hard to imagine a more fitting location for the finale of the inaugural Legends of Motorsports season than Sebring International Raceway. Bobby Rahal, a former 12 Hours of Sebring winner himself, apparently agreed, choosing the venue to wrap up the first season for Legends of Motorsports, a company Rahal started, along with Zak Brown and Peter Stoneberg.

"Given the history and prestige of this fabled track, I can't think of a more fitting North American venue to cap our first year," Rahal said. "For generations, Sebring has been famous for drawing the best cars and drivers in the world. It is a challenging and often unforgiving course, making any race won here a memorable accomplishment."

Sebring is the fourth stop on the Legends of Motorsports calendar for 2010, as previous events were held at Barber Motorsports Park, Watkins Glen and Canada's Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant, and definitely was a venue Rahal wanted to be at.

"When it comes to Sebring, for me it's personal," Rahal said. "I have fond childhood memories of watching my dad race here in 1969, 70 and 71. I came back later and crewed on a team one spring break in March. My first race here was in 1976 on behalf of my great friend and mentor Jim Trueman. Then finally, after some close encounters with success, I was able to co-drive to a 12-Hour win in 1987.

Due in part to the prestige of the 12 Hours of Sebring, as well as having previously watched my dad race here, to this day I count it as one of the most important wins in my racing career. More recently, I had the fatherly pride of seeing my son Graham at the tender age of 16 co-drive in the 12 Hours in a factory Porsche entry."

On Thursday, a downtown rally will depart at 11:30 a.m., giving fans the opportunity to see some of the cars and drivers, which is part of the Lunch With Legends event planned for the Circle, which will take place between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sebring Mayor George Hensley will present Rahal with a key to the city.

Practice and qualifying takes place Friday, which is when the Raceway is open for fans. During lunch hour, fans who have purchased tickets will be able to drive their cars around the track.

Rahal will also serve as the grand marshal for Sebring's Christmas Parade on Friday, which will begin lining up at 4 p.m. at Shontee Avenue and will proceed south on North Ridgewood Drive, around the Circle and onto South Commerce Avenue and ending on McClain Lane.

On Saturday, qualifying will begin at 8 a.m. and the morning session will conclude with a 50-minute enduro and the afternoon session will consist of qualifying races.

During lunch, Rahal and Brian Redman will appear in fan forums, where fans can ask questions to the two legendary drivers, at the Hall of Legends Building.

A season-ending awards banquet will take place Saturday evening at The Four Points by Sheraton Chateau Elan.

On Sunday, warm-ups will begin at 9 a.m. and the first feature race will begin at 10:40 a.m.

During the lunch break, Rahal, Redman and Doc Bundy will be signing autographs between noon and 12:45 p.m.

The opening ceremonies take place at 1:05 p.m. and the afternoon will consist of five feature races.

"We're looking forward to hosting the season finale for Legends of Motorsports," Tres Stephenson, president and general manager of Sebring International Raceway said. "This series is truly taking historic racing to the next level in North America. It's an experience that both the fans and the competitors won't forget, especially at a venue with the history of Sebring."


The Highlands Today sports staff can be reached at 863-386-5841 or sports@highlandstoday.com.

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