Into the night: NASCAR stars have long history with Rolex 24 at Daytona
Always an emotional driver, Allmendinger was thrilled to win the 2012 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona driving for Michael Shank Racing. He drove a Ford-powered Riley with teammates Oswaldo Negri Jr., John Pew and Justin Wilson. The 'Dinger also finished second with the team in 2006 and third here in 2013.
Driving for Chip Ganassi, Mears came home sixth in the 2005 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in a Riley Lexus co-driven by Scott Dixon and Darren Manning. But just a year later, Mears was the race winner, co-driving with Dixon and the late Dan Wheldon.
Second overall in the 2011 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, McMurray shared a Chip Ganassi BMW-powered Riley with Dario Franchitti, Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Dixon. The next year, McMurray finished fourth.
The six-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion was the runner-up in the 2005 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, driving a Howard Boss Motorsports entry with Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Butch Leitzinger. Johnson scored another runner-up finish in 2008.
Most famous for his rollover crash at Texas in 2008, McDowell came home third in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in 2012. He co-drove a Michael Shank Racing entry that was the teammate to race winner AJ Allmendinger. McDowell's co-drivers were Jorge Goncalvez, Felipe Nasr and Gustavo Yacaman.
In the 2005 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, Tony Stewart piloted a Crawford Pontiac to third place overall. His co-drivers were Andy Wallace and Jan Lammers.
In the 2007 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, the four-time Sprint Cup champ drove a Pontiac-powered Riley to third place overall. He shared the ride with Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli and Jan Magnussen.
In the 2008 running of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, Busch finished third overall in a Roger Penske co-owned car. Busch shared driving duties with Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves.
DALE EARNHARDT, DALE EARNHARDT JR.
A sensational run for the father-and-son Earnhardt duo, who finished fourth overall in the 2001 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, where they co-drove a Corvette with sports car veterans Andy Pilgrim and Kelly Collins.
OK, J.C. France isn't a NASCAR regular. But his dad, Jim France, is one of NASCAR's owners. J.C. came home fifth overall in the 2003 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, where he drove a Fabcar Porsche along with Scott Goodyear, Scott Sharp and Hurley Haywood. Four years later, he bested that with a fourth-place effort.
TONY STEWART, DALE EARNHARDT JR.
One of the most dramatic performances in the history of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona came in 2004, where Tony Stewart nursed his wounded Crawford Chevrolet to a fifth-place finish despite the rear suspension suffering a massive failure. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Andy Wallace co-drove.
Also in 2001, Kyle Petty finished seventh overall in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, one of five drivers who piloted the No. 43 Porsche GT3 RS. Petty's teammates were Peter Baron, Leo Hindery, Gian Luigi Buitoni and Tony Kester. Petty would finish 15th a year later and sixth in 2003.
In 2009, Patrick had a great run in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, finishing eighth with co-drivers Casey Mears, Rob Finlay and Andy Wallace.
TERRY AND BOBBY LABONTE
The brothers Labonte lost a Pontiac engine in their Doran but still finished ninth in the 2005 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.
The Kansas dirt-track racer finished 16th overall in the 2013 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, where he shared a Ferrari 458 with Michael Waltrip Racing co-owners Rob Kauffman and Michael Waltrip, and Rui Aguas.
Getty ImagesChris Trotman
Yep, 1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope raced in the 2003 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. He finished 18th after engine failure in his Lola Nissan. Cope's co-drivers were Larry Oberto of beef jerky fame, Chris Bingham and Brian DeVries.
Another NASCAR regular who tackled the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in a Corvette, Menard finished 21st in 2003, when he co-drive with Doug Goad, Paul Mears Jr. and Jim Briody. Menard also finished 15th in 2004.
KURT BUSCH, MATT KENSETH, GREG BIFFLE
Then teammates at Roush Fenway Racing, the trio of Busch, Kenseth and Biffle lost a halfshaft in their Multimatic Ford and finished 27th in 2005.
In 2012, Waltrip drove a Ferrari 458 to a 35th-place finish. Also driving were Michael Waltrip Racing co-owner Rob Kauffman, Rui Aguas and Travis Pastrana.
SAM HORNISH JR.
In 1999, long before he set foot in NASCAR, a young Hornish finished 42nd in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, co-driving a Lola-Ford with Jon Field, Ryan Jones and Mike Shank. Hornish would improve to ninth in 2007.
DANICA PATRICK AND RUSTY WALLACE
Here's an odd couple for you: Patrick and Wallace finished 50th in 2006, after the Howard Boss Motorsports entry they shared with Jan Lammers and Alan McNish overheated.
KEVIN HARVICK — The 2014 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champ raced in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona in 2002, with a Corvette, which he shared with Rick Carelli, his old buddy from the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, and John Metcalf and Davy Lee Liniger. Unfortunately, an engine failure left them 69th.