Chip Ganassi Racing announces Daytona lineup

CHIP GANASSI RACING UNVEILS FORMIDABLE LINEUP FOR ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA INDIANAPOLIS (January 4, 2006) -- Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today a two-car effort for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series' 44th running of the...

CHIP GANASSI RACING UNVEILS FORMIDABLE LINEUP FOR ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA

INDIANAPOLIS (January 4, 2006) -- Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates announced today a two-car effort for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series' 44th running of the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona, featuring six drivers representing championships each year dating back to 2003. Scott Pruett, Luis Diaz and Max Papis will unite for the twice-round-the-clock classic to form the driver lineup for the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley, while CGR Team Target IndyCar pilots Scott Dixon and Dan Wheldon join NASCAR NEXTEL Cup stablemate Casey Mears in the no.02 Target Daytona Prototype.

The Ganassi roster is an impressive group of North American motor racing Championship talent, representing the 2005 Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar Series Championships (Wheldon), the 2004 Daytona Prototype Team and Driver Championships (Pruett and Papis), and the 2003 IndyCar Series titlist (Dixon).

In all, the sextet boasts three championships, 20 wins and 24 poles combined over the past three seasons in Grand American, IRL and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series competition.

"I think what you have is a lineup representative of what this team strives for each year, in each series -- and that is contending for championships," said Ganassi of his Rolex Series entries. "We know that Scott and Luis can get the job done, and bringing Max back for this is another bonus for the team. We have, in the past, utilized our drivers from other series to expand our Rolex 24 program, and Casey, Scott and Dan will complement the no.01 car and provide us an excellent chance of winning this race."

Daytona Prototype team anchorman Scott Pruett returns to the Rolex 24 in the familiar no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley with 2005 co-driver Luis Diaz of Mexico. The duo, which claimed Rolex Series Runner Up honors in last season's championship battle, is joined by Pruett's former CompUSA teammate Max Papis, who together romped through Daytona Prototype grids with 11 poles and four wins en route to the 2004 Team and Driver Championships.

Diaz rejoins two-time defending 24 hour race polesitter Pruett in handling the driving responsibilities for the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley entry after steering the team's 500hp Daytona Prototype to three wins and four poles last season. The Mexico City native will be making his second Rolex 24 start after piloting alongside Pruett for a top-10 showing in 2005.

Completing the lineup for the no.01 machine will be the likeable, well-traveled racer Max Papis. No stranger to the Chip Ganassi Racing family, the Italian dubbed "Mad Max" will re-up with former teammates Pruett and Diaz hoping to return to the form that brought the team the 2004 Rolex Series Championship hardware. Papis re-joins the CGR driver lineup for the Rolex 24 looking to duplicate his overall win in 2002 and SR class win in 2000 at DIS.

Team Target returns to Rolex Series action with the no.02 Daytona Prototype, making its second-straight Rolex 24 start with the Target Bullseye logo prominently displayed throughout the car's eye-catching paint scheme.

The Target car made its Grand American debut last season at the Rolex 24, finishing sixth overall at the hands of its trio of drivers (Dixon, Mears and Darren Manning). This year, 2003 IndyCar Champion Dixon

and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series ace Mears again return to the Rolex Series fray in the Target machine, bringing with them recently-acquired IndyCar Series steamroller Dan Wheldon. Often seen taking checkered flags and rarely looking in his rearview mirror, the reigning IRL and Indianapolis 500 champ is chomping at the bit to bring his new team owner home another one of the coveted "big races" in all of motorsports.

Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Rolex 24 At Daytona Driver Quoteboard

SCOTT DIXON (no.02 Target Riley) "My first Rolex 24 race was quite the experience in 2004, and I think it'll be great to have another year of experience coming back this year. It's a cool race that represents the best of a number of racing disciplines. This is going to be a really fun event, but it's also going to be ultra competitive out there."

DAN WHELDON (no.02 Target Riley) "I ran this race last year for the first time with another team and had a blast. But this year it will be different. Anytime you run in one of Chip Ganassi's cars, you expect to run up front. This time around at the Rolex 24, I have two strong teammates in Scott Dixon and Casey Mears. But actually I have five great teammates if you take into consideration the no.01 car and their experienced driver lineup. These guys all know how to win races, and I look forward to racing with all of them at the end of the month in Daytona."

SCOTT PRUETT (no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley) "We had some issues last year here that prevented us from showing how competitive the CompUSA car really was. The Ganassi team has proven it can win poles, races and championships in the Rolex Series, but we still have some unfinished business in the form of this classic 24 hour endurance race. Bringing Max in for the race is a huge boost for the team. All the guys know him and he knows how to wheel a Daytona Prototype around the track, that's for sure. I'm looking forward to getting started and putting the CompUSA car in the winner's circle. Hopefully the third time is a charm."

MAX PAPIS (no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley) "I can't tell you how excited I am to be back with Chip Ganassi Racing, Scott Pruett and all the guys for this very special race. I've missed a lot of my friends over there the past season, and I expect Scott and I to pick up where we left off after winning the championship in Fontana in 2004. We know that we are going to face a hard challenge and we're going to have to compete against people that have a great history in racing. It's really all I can think about right now...Champ Car champions, IndyCar champions, Indy 500 champions. All of this motivation is just adding to the excitement to go racing."

LUIS DIAZ (no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley) "I anticipate having a strong team for the race this year. I was in the team's second CompUSA car in 2004, so I didn't have a chance to work directly with Max during that time. We shared information as a team through our engineers, and I think Max is a perfect fit for the team. He knows us, and we know him. He's a champion and knows how to win with this team. Working with Scott and Max will be great. What more can you ask for in terms of teammates? These guys are winners."

CASEY MEARS (no.02 Target Riley) "Getting another shot at a race like the Rolex 24 is a great opportunity for me. It's an honor to get asked back to join the Target IndyCar drivers, and a win in this one looks great on anyone's racing resume. I think last year there were over 100 championships represented, and the road racing element is something I'm very familiar with. I'd like nothing more than to get this one under my belt for Chip Ganassi Racing."

Fans of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates can follow the team at the Rolex 24 At Daytona by logging onto the Rolex Sports Car Series website at www.grandamerican.com for free live timing, and keep up with the team's successes throughout the 2005 season by logging onto the official website at www.chipganassiracing.com for news, features, photos and much more. The Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend at Daytona International Speedway is set for January 26-29. Check your local listings for television times on SPEED Channel.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Darren Manning , Casey Mears , Max Papis , Scott Dixon , Scott Pruett , Luis Diaz , Dan Wheldon , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing