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Jarett Andretti Set for Double-Duty, Joins 1989 Rolex 24-winning Father at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (January 18, 2012)—John Andretti received an invitation to attend the 50th Anniversary Rolex 24 At Daytona by virtue of being a former winner of the event.

Instead, the 1989 Rolex 24 winner came to the recent Roar Before the Rolex 24 looking to land a rides in the most anticipated road race in North American sports car history for both himself and his 19-year-old son, Jarett.

Andretti was successful on both counts - with an added bonus for his son. The duo will compete in the Rolex 24, sharing the No. 36 Yellow Dragon Motorsports Mazda RX-8 wtih Taylor Hacquard and Anders Krohn. In addition, Jarett will make his Daytona International Speedway debut in Friday's Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season-opening GRAND-AM 200, joining Tyler Cooke in the No. 27 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5.

John Andretti co-drove with Derek Bell and Bob Wollek in Jim Busby's Porsche 962 in winning the 1989 Rolex 24. He also was entered in the 1993 classic, but his TWR Jaguar failed to finish. He returned in 2008 with Vision Racing, taking 12th in DP in Porsche/Crawford co-driven by Vitor Meira, Ed Carpenter, A.J. Foyt IV and Tony George.

The younger Andretti will be making his debut in GRAND-AM, as well as his debut at the track where his father won his first NASCAR Sprint Cup race, the 1997 Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola. He had the opportunity to drive the Freedom Autosport Mazda during the Roar, but is very much looking forward to racing at the historic Daytona circuit.

"I want to keep expectations realistic for my debut," Jarett Andretti said. "We are a young team. But we want to go out there and run as hard as we can for as long as we can, and see where we take it. If we have a shot to win it, we'll take every opportunity to do it."

And how does Andretti go about learning a new track, a new car, and a new series? "Usually I just start with the basics: read the rulebook. I try to build up speed gradually. I still have a lot to learn, and I look forward to learning from such a professional organization like Freedom Autosport," he said.

Cooke, 17, will campaign the entire season with Freedom Autosport. Already a veteran with experience in Spec Miata and the Playboy MX-5 Cup, Cooke was on hand two weeks ago to test the No. 27 MX-5 at Daytona.

"I thought the test was great; it really got me accustomed to the track in that kind of car," Cooke said. "I really enjoyed how the crew handled it; they did a spot-on job. I have to thank the entire team for their help. It was a perfect test for us. I think the Mazda MX-5 is the best car out there for braking and cornering."

Freedom Autosport has worked hard over the off-season to remain one of the top competitors in the Street Tuner class. The team built two new MX-5 chassis and rebuilt a third.

"We delivered Mazda the manufacturers championship last year, and we want to do the same again this season. We're looking forward to more success, as well as the chance to raise awareness of the Semper Fi Fund," said Freedom Autosport co-owner Derek Whitis.

"Freedom Autosport continues to be a solid contender in the ST class with three MX-5 entries and a history of wins and podium finishes," added team co-owner Rhett O'Doski, who will share the No. 26 MX-5 with Andrew Carbonell. "In addition to having veteran drivers on this team, it's also exciting for us to foster the talents of young drivers like Tyler and Jarett."

"I think the ST class is more competitive than ever. It will be an interesting season with all of the manufacturers who are involved in the series now, but I think the MX-5 will continue to be a strong championship contender," said Freedom Autosport Team Manager Tom Long. He and Whitis will co-drive the No. 25 MX-5.

Freedom Autosport will field three Mazda MX-5s in the series opener on Friday, January 27, at 1:30 p.m. ET, launching the 10-race Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season.

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