Daytona 24: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

TELMEX/TARGET TEAM MAKES IT TWO IN A ROW FOR CHIP GANASSI RACING WITH FELIX SABATES AT 45TH ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 28, 2007)--Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates drivers Scott Pruett, Juan Pablo Montoya and Salvador...

TELMEX/TARGET TEAM MAKES IT TWO IN A ROW FOR CHIP GANASSI RACING WITH FELIX SABATES AT 45TH ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 28, 2007)--Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates drivers Scott Pruett, Juan Pablo Montoya and Salvador Duran led 468 of 668 laps at Daytona International Speedway in the No.01 TELMEX/Target Riley to win CGRFS' second straight Rolex 24 At Daytona. Pruett was behind the wheel when the car rolled off the grid in 12th, and sealed the flawless drive as he crossed the checkered 1:15.842 seconds over his nearest competition.

The team's sister car (No.02 Target/TELMEX Riley) with defending racewinners Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon and rookie Memo Rojas started eighth overall and finished 21st in the Daytona Prototype class, leading seven laps and running in the top-five for the majority of the race before a Lap 538 on-track incident relegated them to the garage for the remainder of the event.

The win was a record-breaking event on a number of levels for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, who posted their 77th win as an organization. Pruett's second career overall Rolex 24 win (1994 & 2007) tied him for first on the Rolex Series win list with 13 victories (James Weaver), and marked the 2004 Rolex Driver Champion's seventh 24-hour class win (2007, 2002, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1988, 1987)--another all-time record.

The CGRFS Grand American program also extended its record tallies with 14 wins and 25 podiums, while delivering Lexus its second straight Daytona 24 hour win after scoring its first manufacturer's title in 2006.

CGRFS' No.42 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series pilot Montoya made it two-in-a-row for Texaco/Havoline drivers in the Rolex 24 after Casey Mears took them to Victory Lane last season with Target IndyCar drivers Dixon and Wheldon. With the win, Montoya joined fellow Texaco/Havoline racing great Mario Andretti as the only other driver to win the Daytona endurance race, the Indianapolis 500 (2000), a Champ Car title (1999) and a Formula One race.

Also noteworthy is the fact that Montoya won both the Indianapolis 500 and the Rolex 24 at Daytona in his first attempts. Both were with Chip Ganassi Racing, making him the first and only driver to do so with the same team owner. Next up for Montoya will be another first attempt; the Daytona 500 in February in a CGRFS car.

For Duran, the 21-year-old Mexico City native came to CGRFS and left Daytona with a perfect record in his first appearance in the Rolex 24. Never putting a wheel wrong in his driving shifts with Pruett and Montoya, the two-time A1 GP racewinner impressed as the No.01 car took the checkered flag with little to no exterior damage.

Up next for Pruett and Rojas and the No.01 TELMEX team is the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez circuit in Mexico City, March 3rd LIVE on SPEED Channel (Check your local listings).

CGRFS Driver Quoteboard

SCOTT PRUETT (No.01 TELMEX/Target) "The job that this TELMEX team did today was just outstanding, and the car performed flawlessly. We always hear that this event sports the best group of drivers in all of racing, and it turned out to be one hell of a shootout at the end with three cars battling for the win. I think it says a lot about our team and this series. What a fantastic feeling."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA (No.01 TELMEX/Target) "I thought it was pretty tough overall. Max Angelelli and Darren Manning (No.10 car) gave me a run for my money through my last stint, doing everything they could to make my life miserable. I starting thinking about all the things that could go wrong after leading 18-20 hours, and then not winning the race. I wanted to go as fast as I could and pass people, but I also didn't want to be remembered for taking someone out of the race in its final stages. This is a great win for the team and I look forward to running for Chip and Felix in the upcoming NASCAR season."

SALVADOR DURAN (No.01 TELMEX/Target) "For a rookie in this event, I felt really good going in with a team like this behind me and the great drivers I was fortunate enough to have been paired with. I think I learned that this race is all about consistency and confidence. Scott and Juan played their cards right, while at the same time giving me the confidence to drive to the best of my ability. I think I was able to make the right moves at the right times, and that ultimately led to this team getting through the race nearly incident free."

SCOTT DIXON (No.02 Target/TELMEX) "The team did such a great job. There were a lot of ups and downs but while it is disappointing not to finish this year's race because of all of the hard work that went into it, it's always so much fun to take part in the Rolex 24. I'm really happy the Chip Ganassi Racing team was able to defend the win. It really is cool to win back to back."

DAN WHELDON (No.02 Target/TELMEX) "The effort put in by the entire team is really incredible and it really showed with the second consecutive team win at the Rolex 24. It's amazing to drive for so long and still be as close as it was all the way to the finish line. It was just so exciting. It's too bad that we weren't part of it at the finish as well but this was definitely a team win."

MEMO ROJAS (No.02 Target/TELMEX) "We had two fires, rain, offs and a lot of traffic to negotiate in my first sports car race. I had high expectations for myself and for the team, and I'm disappointed that we could not finish the race the way we wanted to. It's unfortunate for the guys that put so much time into this, but I hope to use the rest of the season to make up for it. I learned a lot from the team and these great drivers. This was an incredible experience for me."

-credit: www.chipganassiracing.com

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing