Daytona24: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

Ganassi's One-Two Rolex 24 Finish Completes 'Chip Slam' of Motorsports

Team Owner Wins Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Indianapolis 500 and Rolex 24 At Daytona in 12-Month Stretch

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 31, 2011)--Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) continued the best stretch in Rolex 24 At Daytona history by sweeping the top-two positions in the sports car classic Sunday. Defending GRAND-AM Daytona Prototype Champion and now four-time Rolex 24 At Daytona winner Scott Pruett (with co-drivers Memo Rojas, Graham Rahal and Joey Hand) crossed the finish line at the 24-hour mark ahead of teammate Scott Dixon (with co-drivers Dario Franchitti, Jamie McMurray and Juan Pablo Montoya) to give CGRFS a record fourth Rolex 24 At Daytona victory (2006, 2007, 2008, 2011). It marked the first time a team has reached the four-win mark since Brumos Porsche (1973, 1975, 1978, and 2009), and the quickest to do so in the race's 50-year history.

Pruett (No.01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley), coupled with co-driver Joey Hand's prior stint, overcame a combined 52-second deficit in the final hours and took over the race lead in the final 47 minutes when CGRFS teammate Dixon brought the No. 02 Target/TELMEX Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley down pit-road for its final stop. Pruett survived a green-white-checkered finish and scored the victory by 2.07-seconds ahead of Dixon to give CGRFS the top two podium positions.

Team Owner Ganassi, who in 2010 was responsible for the motorsport 'Triple Crown' (Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 wins), adds the first ever 'Chip Slam' of motorsports to his resume with the Rolex 24 At Daytona victory (all four major wins in a 12-month period).

NOTES OF INTEREST:

- The victory gave BMW its second overall victory in the Rolex 24, as their last came in 1976 with Peter Gregg, Brian Redman and John Fitzpatrick

- The win gives Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. its 135th victory

- The victory marks Pruett's fourth Rolex win, joining Pedro Rodriguez, Peter Gregg, Rolf Stommelen and Bob Wollek as lone four-time Rolex 24 winners

- Pruett holds the all-time class victory mark at the Rolex 24 At Daytona with nine (2011, 2008, 2007, 2002, 1994, 1993, 1992, 1988 and 1987). He has a record 32 overall GRAND-AM Rolex Series wins in addition to four overall wins at the Rolex 24 (2011, 2008, 2007 and1994)

- The team has now won 10 of the past 13 GRAND-AM Rolex Series events

- Pruett leads all drivers with 32 victories in the 103 Daytona Prototype races to date

- CGRFS has the greatest six-race stretch in Rolex 24 At Daytona history with four wins and a two second-place finishes dating back to 2006

- CGRFS has four championships (2010, 2008, 2006, 2004) and 33 race wins since their introduction to the circuit in 2004-- all GRAND-AM records

- Pruett and Rojas continue to be the most successful driving duo in series history by winning their 19th GRAND-AM race

- Pruett's victory marks his fifth consecutive top-two finish in the Rolex 24, and extends his GRAND-AM record of podium finishes to 61

- Pruett and Rojas extend their GRAND-AM win streak to four, winning the last three events of the 2010 season

- Joey Hand led the most laps, leading 116 of the No. 01 car's race-leading 231 laps. Hand led the race six times

- The victory marks Graham Rahal's first victory with team-owner Chip Ganassi. Rahal's victory comes 30 years after his father Bobby won the event in 1981

CGRFS QUOTEBOARD

CHIP GANASSI -- Team Owner

"I don't drive the cars, I don't change the tires, I don't work on the engines, and there are a lot of great competitors that it takes to make up a team. I'm just the guy that gets to stand up here and talk about it. You're just really fortunate to be in any sport or any business or any endeavor with a group of people that Felix and I are as lucky to have working for us, driving for us and being a part of the team, It's a great thing to be a part of a group of people that want to be a team, and they want to excel and they want to do well. That's a great thing to be a part of in life."

FELIX SABATES -- Team Owner

"I thought it was a shame that they don't have co-winners because I would have loved to have seen both cars finish first. But one had to finish first and the other had to finish second and that's all I could think of. All of these guys work very hard. The Indy guys that helped with the 02 car deserve a tremendous amount of credit because they just do this once a year and maybe one of these days, they will have co-winners."

SCOTT PRUETT -- United States (No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley)

"There's a lot of should've, would've, could've, I was right there the last two years. ... I lived it. Chip as well. We lived it the last two years. So it's certainly nice to be back in Victory Lane. At the end of the day, it's exciting for our team to have a 1-2 finish. That's how you one-up what you do here. I think that's absolutely amazing. To have a 1-2 finish is just incredible. Our No. 01 car has finished every lap here the last five years and won it three times. That in itself is a true testament to what the Ganassi organization does and the preparation on getting this car on the track. They've been busting their butts getting our cars ready for this race since October."

MEMO ROJAS -- Mexico (No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley)

"Just like Joey mentioned, like how he got to share the car with the great drivers through the BMW program...I got the same deal with Scott Pruett the last four years. You know, Scott is one of America's best drivers and it's been an honor and a pleasure working with him and learning from him. You know, he certainly has made me a better driver, just learning from him, seeing how he approaches things, not only on the track, but off the track, as well. And certainly, I'm a different driver nowadays than a few years ago."

GRAHAM RAHAL -- United States (No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley)

"It feels so sweet to do it here. And we are also now looking at these watches thinking, these are things you just dream of. You know, looking at Dad's for many years and imagining someday I might have one. Well, I didn't think it would come this soon. It feels tremendous and these guys did a great job. I mean, all of them throughout the night and Joey and Scott there at the end, the stints they put in to catch up after the penalty, it feels really good, and obviously I've got to thank Chip for making this all happen. We have been talking about it for a long time, but to finally be here, it feels really sweet."

JOEY HAND -- United States (No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley)

"It's awesome. What happened in that last stint was we got that penalty call, and just like I was telling the guys, I was at ramming speed. I was a little bit ticked off at the call, and so I just tried to put my head down and get as much back. I knew if I got a lot of it back that I could get -- that Scott was getting in next, I knew he would definitely seal the deal. I just wanted to make sure we were in the hunt and able to have something for it. But for me, I have worked on Chip Ganassi and Mike Hull for probably 15 years since I was a kid chasing around Laguna Seca. For me it was king of a goal to drive for this team, one of my racing goals. And so not only did I get to drive for them, but I got to win with them and so especially this one, The Chip slam thing, winning all four of these things in a calendar year is quite a big deal. And I'm just happy to be a part of it."

SCOTT DIXON -- New Zealand (No. 02 Target/TELMEX Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley)

"It was a very tough race. We had to overcome many obstacles and the team did a first class job in repairing the car. Just disappointed we didn't have the speed at the end. Fantastic result for the team."

DARIO FRANCHITTI -- Scotland (No. 02 Target/TELMEX Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley)

"I think with the IndyCar program, we share the shop with the GRAND-AM guys and that winning mentality just kind of seeps through the building and if we can keep building on that with the success of both Indy car and GRAND-AM last year in the building and then the GRAND-AM guys winning, a one, two finish, our car, the 02 car, the team is all IndyCar guys kind of moonlighting down here for the week really. It's just a good feeling for the building and a good way to start the year. Boss has a smile on his face, too, so that's always a good thing."

JAMIE MCMURRAY -- United States (No. 02 Target/TELMEX Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley)

"I think that, for all of us, it's really quite amazing what Chip's done, Chip was known for his IndyCar program for a long time, and the NASCAR program wasn't really where it needed to be. And then the GRAND-AM program was winning championships, and I feel like the NASCAR program's as good as it can be right now--doing really well everywhere. To come back and not only win this, but to have a one-two, it's really amazing what he's been able to do."

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA -- Colombia (No. 02 Target/TELMEX Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley)

"I've been with Chip for many years and everything he does is to win. The reason when we talked about doing NASCAR, I thought we would be really good, because I know when he wants to get things done, he'll do whatever it takes to win, and we have proven so, so it's pretty cool. They have a really established IndyCar team, GRAND-AM team and the NASCAR is coming long to that same direction. So, yeah, it's pretty amazing."

The GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Cars Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 resumes with the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway March 5.

-source: cgr

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