GANASSI, LEXUS FASTEST IN ROLEX 24 TESTING; TAKE AIM AT RECORD THIRD CONSECUTIVE '24' WIN

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 6, 2008) -- Defending race champion Scott Pruett registered the fastest overall time in the three-day Rolex 24 test at the Daytona International Speedway as his Lexus-powered Chip Ganassi Racing team continued to prepare for a run at a record third consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona team victory.

Pruett turned the weekend's fastest lap in his #01 TELMEX Lexus/Riley during Friday's afternoon session, but the Ganassi squad continued to run strong throughout the weekend and had at least one car in the top three in every session of the weekend, and in the top two in all but one.JJ"The car felt really good," relayed Pruett, the all-time leader in Rolex 24 victories with seven. bI really didn't spend a lot of time driving this weekend. We worked hard to make sure that Dario (Franchitti), who hasn't spent much time in these cars at all, and Juan (Montoya) became acclimated and comfortable in the car, so the speed and, maybe most important, consistency that we showed was a definite positive."

Pruett will be joined by reigning Indianapolis 500 winner Franchitti, Montoya and 2007 Grand-Am Rookie of the Year Memo Rojas in the #01 car, while Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon, Salvador Duran and Alex Lloyd will campaign the team's #02 Target Lexus/Riley.

After winning in 2006 with Dixon, Wheldon and Casey Mears, and in 2007 with Pruett, Montoya and Duran, the Ganassi team can become the first team ever to win the Rolex 24 three straight years with a victory in this year's event.

In addition to the on-track news, Southard Motorsports team owner Steve Southard announced that former Toyota Craftsman Truck Series star Bill Lester will campaign the full-season with co-driver Shane Lewis in the #3 Southard Motorsports Lexus/Riley. While best-known for his NASCAR exploits, Lester will be returning to his racing roots after getting his start in sports cars in his native northern California.

SPEED and FOX Sports will combine to offer a record 17 hours of television coverage from the 46th Rolex 24 at Daytona Jan. 26-27, beginning with 90 minutes of coverage on the national FOX network beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday, Jan. 26.

-credit: lexus/toyota motorsports