Daytona24: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

Grand Slam: Team owner Chip Ganassi, who was responsible for the motorsport 'Triple Crown' (Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500 and Brickyard 400 wins) and weekend 'Chiple' (three wins in three series in one weekend) in 2010, now looks to add the first ever 'Grand Slam' of motorsports to his racing resume (Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400 and Rolex 24 At Daytona wins in a calendar year). Last season Earnhardt Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver Jamie McMurray claimed the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 while Target Chip Ganassi Racing driver Dario Franchitti claimed the Indianapolis 500, as Ganassi looks to complete another feat that no owner has ever accomplished in motorsports history.

CGRFS in the Rolex 24 At Daytona: CGRFS has three wins (2006-Dan Wheldon, Scott Dixon, Casey Mears; 2007-Scott Pruett, Salvador Duran, Juan Pablo Montoya; 2008-Pruett, Memo Rojas, Franchitti, Montoya), two poles (2004, 2005), seven top-fives, 10 top-10s and 1680 laps led.

Record Performance: In the last five Rolex 24 At Daytonas CGRFS has claimed three wins (2006, 2007, 2008) and two second-place finishes (2009, 2010), continuing the best five-race stretch in the history of the event dating back to the first race in 1962.

CGRFS at Daytona: In 23 starts at Daytona International Speedway in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, CGRFS has earned five wins (2006-Wheldon, Dixon, Mears; 2007-Pruett, Duran, Montoya; 2008-Pruett, Rojas, Franchitti, Montoya; 2008/2010-Pruett, Rojas), five poles, 11 top-fives, 18 top-10s and 1809 laps led.

Managing Director Mike Hull on the Rolex 24 At Daytona: "The Rolex 24 At Daytona is a Big Race, and getting it right means that you're "THE" winner. Being there at the end with a legitimate chance defines you clearly as a winner. The whole Chip Ganassi Racing organization will be working as a team to be there on Sunday afternoon."

Fifth Anniversary: This weekend will mark the fifth anniversary of CGRFS' first Rolex 24 At Daytona victory. In 2006, Dixon, Wheldon and Mears started second on the grid and led 272 of 734 laps en route to the victory.

Rewind: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams scored a record 19 wins in 2010 across three national touring series (NASCAR Sprint Cup, INDYCAR and GRAND-AM Series). The 19-win total eclipsed the previous mark for victories in a single season (14) set in 2008. The past five seasons for the team have proven to be the most successful in history (1990-2009), as 69 of the 134 wins, or 51%, have been scored in that stretch.

Championship Form: Chip Ganassi Racing Teams once again returned to championship form in 2010, not just in the GRAND-AM Series but also in the IZOD IndyCar Series. Franchitti's second-consecutive INDYCAR title, coupled with Pruett/ Rojas' GRAND-AM title gave Ganassi two championships in 2010. It marked the second time in history Chip Ganassi Racing Teams have recorded two championships in a single season (2008: INDYCAR-Dixon, GRAND-AM-Pruett/ Rojas).

Award-Winning: Ganassi was honored in the off-season for his team's incredible 2010 with a whole slew of post-season awards, including: the Autosport Lifetime Achievement Award, the NSSN Champion of Champions Award, Pittsburgh's Dapper Dan Athletic Award, the International Motorsports Industry Show Achievement Award, as well as being named the honorary chairman of the Motor Sports Hall of Fame inductions in Detroit. In addition, Ganassi was honored on the field by his hometown Pittsburgh Steelers prior to the game on Dec. 12 for his many contributions to the "City of Champions". He was presented with a Steelers jersey by Art Rooney II.

2010 All-Americans: Pruett, Rojas and Franchitti were all named to the Auto Racing All-America first team as voted by the American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association (AARWBA). The teams are composed of drivers who best represent their respective discipline of motorsports. Pruett is now an 11-time first team All-America honoree and has been on the team 12 times. Only drag racing legend John Force - a 14-time first teamer and 15 overall - along with sprint car standout Steve Kinser have been honored with first team recognition more than Pruett, who is tied with drag racing's Don Garlits. Rojas, who had a series-leading four poles, won his first All-America honor. It was Franchitti's sixth All-American honor.

Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas/Graham Rahal/Joey Hand No.01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley

Winning Percentage: Pruett and Rojas recorded the most successful season in GRAND-AM Series history in 2010, ending the year with a 75% winning percentage, winning nine of 12 races. This winning percentage is among the highest ever recorded in major forms of auto-racing.

Dominating Pair: With their victory June 5 at Watkins Glen International last season, Pruett and Rojas became the most successful driving team in series history with 13 victories together- breaking a tie they previously held with Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty (12).

Pruett the All-Timer: Pruett became the first three-time GRAND-AM Rolex Series Driver Champion in 2010 and is the first American to score nine major sports car championships, his closest competitor is the late Peter Gregg who has seven to his credit. Pruett's previous titles include a Daytona Prototype championship (2004, 2008), two IMSA GTO titles (1986 and 1988), one IMSA GT Endurance (1986) and three Trans-Am championships (1987, 1994 and 2003).

Pruett sets Rolex 24 Records: Pruett has recorded a record eight Rolex 24 class victories in his Sports Car Career, shares a record with A.J. Foyt with four consecutive top-two finishes and has finished on the lead lap a GRAND-AM record four consecutive times in the Rolex 24. With a victory in this year's Rolex 24, Pruett can join Pedro Rodriguez, Peter Gregg, Rolf Stommelen and Bob Wollek as lone four-time Rolex 24 winners.

Scott Dixon/Dario Franchitti/Juan Pablo Montoya/Jamie McMurray No.02 Target/TELMEX Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley

Select Few: McMurray, the defending Daytona 500 Champion returns to the site of his Daytona 500 victory last year and to the Rolex 24 At Daytona for a third time (2005, 2010) with CGRFS in 2011. He looks to join A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti as the only drivers to win both the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Daytona 500.

Terrific Teammates: 2011 will mark the first time in Rolex 24 history that the defending Daytona 500 (McMurray) and Indianapolis 500 (Franchitti) winners will contest the race as teammates.

Familiar Faces: Dixon, Franchitti, Montoya and McMurray all return to the No. 02 entry for a second consecutive year. The team of Ganassi's INDYCAR and NASCAR stars fell out of the race in 2010 while leading the event at midnight, pacing 139 of the 249 laps.

Hail the Hardware: CGRFS' No.02 entry is the only car in the field that sports four Rolex 24 victories between all four drivers. As Montoya won the event on two separate occasions (2007- 2008), Dixon helped give Ganassi his first Rolex 24 (2006) and Franchitti joined Montoya with his victory in the 2008 season.

Elite Company: Montoya is the only driver in Rolex history to win the 24 in his first two starts. With a victory this year he would join his CGRFS teammate Pruett, Andy Wallace, Butch Leitzinger, and Derek Bell as the only three-time overall winners of the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

-source: cgr

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