Daytona 24: CGR No. 03 race report

Team Target Trio Finish Sixth at Rolex 24 at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 6, 2005) -- Team Target was poised for a podium finish when 2003 IndyCar Champion Scott Dixon reported fuel pressure and brake problems on the no.03 Target ...

Team Target Trio Finish Sixth at Rolex 24 at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 6, 2005) -- Team Target was poised for a podium finish when 2003 IndyCar Champion Scott Dixon reported fuel pressure and brake problems on the no.03 Target Lexus-Riley while sitting atop the scoring pylon during the 24-hour endurance race. After a commanding lead at hour 16, Dixon was forced to bring the Target car behind the wall for repairs.

"It was a lot of fun today," said Dixon took. "I had no rear brakes and we were forced to come in and repair them. All I had left were front brakes, and it's impossible to drive here without them. All three of the Chip Ganassi Racing cars were great, we each just had our share of problems. But I would definitely come back next year for a third try."

Dixon qualified the no. 03 Target Lexus-Riley fifth in preparation for the 43rd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona. He took the green flag for the Target Team before turning the helm over to Casey Mears and IRL teammate Darren Manning (no.10 Target Toyota).

Mears, driver of the No. 41 Target Dodge in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, made his debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. One of nine NASCAR Cup drivers in the race, he piloted the no. 03 for three different stints, and while he enjoyed the race, was disappointed by the outcome.

"This was such a unique experience Target, Chip [Ganassi] and Felix [Sabates] gave us," said Mears. "I have a new respect for the guys who have won this race. The no. 03 Target Lexus-Riley was consistently one of the quickest cars on the track. It's a shame that our finish doesn't show how good the car really was and how well the three of us adapted to the Daytona Prototype. This Target Team worked hard preparing this car and it shows how committed Chip and Felix are to their teams, no matter what series."

The Target Team changed brake pads during a full-course caution while Mears was piloting the car. The team fell one-lap down to the leader, but the no. 03 car was fast enough to earn the lap back. After completing his portion of the race, Mears handed the wheel over to Manning.

Manning is no stranger to the Rolex Sports Car Series, he earned a podium finish with Dixon at California Speedway in the final race for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates in 2004. Manning, who ran an entire two-hour stint without radio contact, enjoyed the challenges of the endurance race.

"This was my first 24-hour race," said Manning. "I don't think anyone else in the race had three guys that could turn the times we were able to run. We were one of quickest cars all day until we had to go to the garage. It was a lot of fun, it was just a shame we had a few problems."

Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will return to Daytona for the NASCAR NEXTEL 2005 season debut as Casey Mears will be back behind the wheel of the no.41 Target Dodge to vie for the Daytona 500 crown. Target teammates Scott Dixon and Darren Manning return to their IndyCars for the IRL season debut at Homestead Miami Speedway on March 5th at 2:00 pm ET (ESPN Live). Follow the team's progress throughout the race weekend by logging on to the official website at www.target.com/racing for news, features, photos and much more.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Darren Manning , Casey Mears , Scott Dixon , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing