Daytona 24: Chip Ganassi Racingt No. 02 team preview

New Century CGRacing Takes on Rolex 24 at Daytona McMurray Joins Johansson and Wagner at Rolex 24 in Daytona INDIANAPOLIS (February 3, 2005) -- After watching CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates climb the Rolex Sports Car ...

New Century CGRacing Takes on Rolex 24 at Daytona
McMurray Joins Johansson and Wagner at Rolex 24 in Daytona

INDIANAPOLIS (February 3, 2005) -- After watching CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates climb the Rolex Sports Car Series ladder to the championship rung in 2004 in the team's first season of Grand American competition, New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing looks to take lessons learned from the top Rolex Series squad and parlay them into a successful season as the no.02 sister-car begins its assault on this year's championship battle with the 43rd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

The no.02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley joins the three-car Ganassi stable at Daytona International Speedway a step ahead of the competition after the team inked deals with sports car racing staple Stefan Johansson and two-time Rolex Series GT titlist Cort Wagner. The duo will campaign a full 14-race season together alongside the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley, but will have no.42 Texaco/Havoline Chip Ganassi Racing Dodge pilot Jaime McMurray of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup ranks accompanying them for the 24-hour drive.

Johansson brings a wealth of racing knowledge to the New Century Mortgage team, leaving countless wins, poles and podiums in his wake after successful stints in sport cars and Formula One. A win at the Rolex 24 would make Johansson just the eighth driver in history to win Daytona, Le Mans and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

"The Rolex Series has really grown in the past few years, but as strong as the level of competition was last year, this year's line-up for both the Rolex 24 hours race and the rest of the season is already shaping up to be even more ultra competitive," said Johansson, who will turn his first official laps behind the wheel of a sleek Daytona Prototype this weekend. "The quality of the drivers and teams in 2005 is very impressive, but I'm just so pleased to be part of an organization that is so dedicated to being successful. I know that we'll have a shot at winning every time we take to the track."

Wagner will contest his second full season of Daytona Prototype competition, but this time under the New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing banner, looking to grow a Grand American track record that includes 44 starts, 13 class wins and eight pole positions.

"I'm very pleased to join Chip Ganassi Racing because this is a team that is no stranger to winning," said Wagner, who snared eight top-10s in Daytona Prototypes last year. "And to have New Century Mortgage, a company I've had a relationship with for five years, come on board is very exciting because these are two companies that will complement each other very well. The team's Grand American program has had a lot of success in their first season, and Stefan and I expect to contribute our experience and build on that in order to vie for the championship starting this weekend."

Finally, the team will look within its championship-caliber stable of drivers and pluck NASCAR NEXTEL Cup racewinner Jamie McMurray from the confines of North Carolina to complete the lineup in what will be his first venture into the most prestigious sports car race in America.

"I've watched the Rolex 24 At Daytona race on television, but never had the chance to take it in as a fan or from the driver's seat like I will this year," said McMurray. "This will be my first race in a DP, but my teammates have the experience and I'm picking up a lot from them really quickly. This will definitely be something fun to do, but we'll be going for the win. There are lots of my NASCAR buddies out there this year and we're all fighting for bragging rights too."

Fans of New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates can catch the no.02 New Century Mortgage 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.chipganassiracing.com for news, features, photos and much more.

About New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates

Founded in January 2005, Indianapolis-based New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates fields the no.02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype class for accomplished international racer Stefan Johansson and 2002-2003 Rolex Series GT Champion Cort Wagner.

-www.chipganassiracing.com

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Stefan Johansson , Jamie McMurray , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates , Cort Wagner
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing