Daytona 24: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

CHIP GANASSI RACING WINS OVERALL ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA TITLE DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 29, 2006) -- The no.02 Target Lexus-Riley with drivers Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon and Casey Mears led Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates at Daytona ...

CHIP GANASSI RACING WINS OVERALL ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA TITLE

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 29, 2006) -- The no.02 Target Lexus-Riley with drivers Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon and Casey Mears led Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates at Daytona International Speedway, crossing the finish line first after 24 hours of racing. The no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley of teammates Scott Pruett, Luis Diaz and Max Papis was not as fortunate, after an oil pump issue ended its run at 5:30 am with Pruett behind the wheel.

The two Ganassi Daytona Prototypes led a total of 360 out of 734 laps in the event, and ran first and second for the majority of the night session before the no.01 car was relegated to the garage. The Target car picked up the lead at 6:29 am and never looked back, marking the first win for Chip Ganassi Racing at the Rolex 24 in just the team's third attempt.

Next up for the team is the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez March 2-4 in Mexico City.

CGR Driver Quoteboard

SCOTT DIXON "The race started well for the Target Team off the front row, but shortly thereafter we had a brake failure that we had to overcome. After that, we had to replace a gearbox and an alternator -- things that usually take quite a while to fix under any circumstances. The guys just continued to amaze me with their work under pressure and their ability to keep the car running at all costs. The whole effort is a credit to Chip Ganassi Racing and the kind of team we have."

DAN WHELDON "There are some great names associated with the Rolex 24 At Daytona, and some even more impressive ones that go hand in hand with Chip Ganassi Racing. This is simply one of the biggest races around, and to be a part of winning this for Team Target and the whole crew is something I've very proud of for sure. This team prides itself on winning the big races, and now I can say I'm a part of delivering one for those for the whole organization."

CASEY MEARS "I just cant believe I'm sitting here right now as a winner of this race. I honestly didn't think this would happen like this, so I'm very excited to have this one. First off, what a team Scott, Dan and I had behind us. I just can't explain it. These Ganassi guys went over the wall and back all night to keep this car running. Without them there's no way we could have accomplished this. I talked to Benny Parsons in Victory Lane and he said to me now that I've been to this place and seen Victory Lane, you're allowed to come back and visit. Hopefully that's exactly what I'll be doing when I come back here in a few weeks in the NEXTEL Cup Series car."

SCOTT PRUETT "It's tough to swallow a break like that this late into a 24 hour race, but that's just what happens. We had little things go wrong here and there, but nothing we couldn't overcome. The oil pressure light went on and we tried to take a look at the oil pump pulley. We thought we'd give it a go and went back out. In the end, the damage was too extensive for the CompUSA team to fix. We deemed it terminal, and again, it's a tough pill to swallow."

LUIS DIAZ "I'm not really sure what to say. We were progressing as the race came along, just improving our position. We had an excellent opportunity to regain spots after falling behind at the start, and we took advantage of some cars falling out of the race to gain position overall. I was set to get in the car after Scott, but I never had the chance to go back in. It's very disappointing."

MAX PAPIS "I was actually in Casey's motor home sleeping with the radio on in the background when Casey came in and said he was sorry for what happened. I had no idea we had the problem and I just couldn't believe it. This is my 15th endurance race like this, and I've seen many ups and downs in these types of situations. And now for me, I move on to my next challenge in racing because Chip Ganassi Racing will continue on. I'm sure all the CompUSA guys are disappointed with the outcome, and I didn't even get a chance to really go over the specifics with Scott and Luis. It was an honor to race with my old family again, and I look forward to having the opportunity to do so with this top level team in the future."

-www.chipganassiracing.com

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Casey Mears , Max Papis , Scott Dixon , Scott Pruett , Luis Diaz , Dan Wheldon , Benny Parsons , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing