Chip Ganassi Racing scores fifth Rolex 24 at Daytona win

The win marks the 151st for CGR Overall and Scott Pruett’s record 10th Rolex At Daytona class victory. The No.02 was retired after it lost power.

DAYTONA BEACH – Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) returned to victory lane this weekend in the Rolex 24 At Daytona as the No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW with drivers Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Juan Pablo Montoya and Charlie Kimball triumphed and picked up another prestigious Rolex watch. The win was the fifth for CGRFS in just 10 appearances at the twice-around-the-clock endurance race, and the fifth for Pruett who ties Hurley Haywood’s record for most overall wins in the event.

DP podium: class and overall winners Charlie Kimball, Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas celebrate
DP podium: class and overall winners Charlie Kimball, Juan Pablo Montoya, Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas celebrate

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

The race came down to the final hour as four cars battled fuel mileage and on-track positions. Montoya drove the final stint, coming back after falling to fourth following a late-race restart. He regained his position as the leader, and then prevailed in a battle of splash-and-go fuel stops in the closing minutes to beat Max Angelelli to the checkered flag by 21.922 seconds. The victory marked the third win for Montoya and Rojas in the Rolex 24, and the first win for Kimball in his first GRAND-AM start.

The No. 02 Target/TELMEX Dinan-Prepared BMW with drivers Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Jamie McMurray and Joey Hand were a fixture among the lead pack and were running in second 15 hours into the marathon race before they encountered problems. McMurray brushed the wall while exiting pit road following a green flag pit stop, costing the No.02 seven laps in the garage for repairs. The No .02 returned to the track and gained five laps back when the car lost drive with less than three hours remaining, ending their chance for redemption. The Target/TELMEX team would finish out the race in 37th position overall.

Scott Pruett – No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW “This was an incredible day all around. At the end of it, having known Hurley (Haywood) real well over the years by racing with him and just as a friend and then to have him there was a very pretty special thing. One thing when you get together with a group like this with Memo, Charlie and Juan, you don’t try to be Superman. We’ve got some very incredibly talented guys that can step in and close it out. I’m proud to be part of the team, and it was exciting to finish up on top.”

Memo Rojas – No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW “This was the best way you can start the year because first of all we are in the points lead, and second, it's great as far as motivation for everyone in the team. The crew works so hard at the shop first of all to prep for this race, and our season ends at the beginning of October, and immediately they start working on the 24 hours. The cars get stripped away, and it's so much so that everybody really kind of needs this kind of motivation. We won the championship last year, and the expectations are high, so we set ourselves a high goal and we were going to try to win the 24 hours first, and hopefully we can go for another championship.”

Juan Pablo Montoya – No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW “One of the cool things about doing the Rolex 24 with Chip is that you’re a favorite every time you come here. You always have a chance of winning. Everybody that comes here with Chip finds that out. It’s fun and it’s exciting. I think personally it's a boost getting the job done. The last few years we finished second, we finished fourth, we finished third, we've been there all the time, and it's been painful. I feel bad for the guys in our No. 02 because they had a ton of speed and they could have easily won, too.”

Charlie Kimball – No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW “Having these guys as teammates takes a heck of a lot off my shoulders because I knew that I could settle in, and as long as I was smart and didn't make too many big mistakes and kept us in the race they'd put us in a position to win at the end. Overall what an incredible race, though. It's unbelievable, and with about four hours to go, I looked up and thought, we have the whole Indy 500 left to run as far as time, and my second thought was, why do they only do this once a year, because what an incredible event. It's hard on everybody, mechanics, team, drivers, but it's such an awesome event and such a great race.”

Chip Ganassi Racing

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About this article
Series GRANDAM
Article type Race reports
Tags bmw, dixon, franchitt, ganassi, grandam, hand, kimball, mcmurray, montoya, pruett, rojas, rolex24