Daytona 24: Chip Ganassi Racing No. 3 team preview

Target Trio Ready to Tackle Rolex 24 at Daytona Dixon, Manning and Mears Ready For Rolex 24 INDIANAPOLIS (February 3, 2005) -- Team Target's IndyCar and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series programs will unite this weekend in the form of a third Chip ...

Target Trio Ready to Tackle Rolex 24 at Daytona
Dixon, Manning and Mears Ready For Rolex 24

INDIANAPOLIS (February 3, 2005) -- Team Target's IndyCar and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series programs will unite this weekend in the form of a third Chip Ganassi Racing Daytona Prototype entry for the 43rd running of the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona. The Team Target lineup of drivers will bring together 2003 IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon (no.09 Target Toyota), IRL teammate Darren Manning (no.10 Target Toyota) and Casey Mears (no.41 Target Dodge), who wheeled the team's 800hp stock car to two poles last year in NASCAR competition.

Although Mears will be making his first Rolex Sports Car Series start, Dixon and Manning return to the series after a podium run for Chip Ganassi Racing to close out the 2004 season at California Speedway

Dixon paired with 2004 Rolex Series Champions Scott Pruett and Max Papis, and Jimmy Morales in last year's Chip Ganassi Racing Daytona Prototype maiden run that won the pole position and finished 10th at Daytona, and the New Zealand native arrives in the Sunshine State this weekend poised to make his third career Rolex Series start.

"My Rolex 24 race was quite the experience last year, and I think it'll be great to have all three Target drivers together in the no.03 Target Lexus-Riley," said Dixon. "Both Darren and I have a little more experience now after the podium in the Rolex season finale last year, and I know Casey is going to pick it up really quickly. This is going to be a really fun event, but it's also going to be ultra competitive out there."

Dixon's IndyCar teammate Manning got a feel for the Lexus-powered DP machine last October, and hopes to bring some of the lessons learned from a third-place showing in SoCal to pit lane for Team Target.

"I got a good taste of what Grand American racing is like last year, but this will be my first 24 hour endurance race and I'm really excited about it," said Manning. "There are so many things that can happen in a two hour race, and this will be like running 12 races back-to-back, so it's going to be really interesting. The three of us all have good road course experience and we work really well together, so I'm sure we'll be able to hold our own out there and give them all a run for their money."

After a successful sophomore season in the no.41 Target Dodge highlighted by a track-record tear for the Brickyard 400 pole, Mears returns to his road coarse roots in what will be the 26-year-old's first Rolex 24 At Daytona.

"This will be something really fun and new for me, and I'm really looking forward to the race," said Mears. "These Lexus Riley Daytona Prototypes are a happy medium of cars I have driven in the past. They have the down force of an IndyCar on the straightaways and they are slower in the corners like a stock car. It'll be a lot of fun, especially if we can make it to the checkered flag first."

Fans of Target Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates can catch the no.03 Target Lexus-Riley in action at the Rolex 24 at Daytona beginning Saturday, February 5th at 12:00 pm ET (LIVE, SPEED Channel). Follow the team's progress throughout the race weekend by logging on to the Rolex Sports Car Series website at www.grand-am.com for free Zippo live timing, and keep up with the team's successes throughout the 2005 season by logging onto 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 , Max Papis , Scott Dixon , Scott Pruett , Jimmy Morales , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing