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01.28.13

Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Scores Fifth Rolex 24 At Daytona Win

Rolex 24 Hours - DaytonaBeach, FL

Results (with starting position) from Rolex 24 At Daytona
1. (1) No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley (Pruett, Rojas, Kimball, Montoya)
2. (12) No. 10 VelocityWW Corvette (Angelelli, Hunter-Reay, Taylor)
37. (2)   No. 02 Target/TELMEX Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley (Dixon, Franchitti, Hand, McMurray)

Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) returned to victory lane this weekend in the Rolex 24 At Daytona as the No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW with drivers Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Juan Pablo Montoya and Charlie Kimball triumphed and picked up another prestigious Rolex watch.  The win was the fifth for CGRFS in just 10 appearances at the twice-around-the-clock endurance race, and the fifth for Pruett who ties Hurley Haywood’s record for most overall wins in the event.

The race came down to the final hour as four cars battled fuel mileage and on-track positions.  Montoya drove the final stint, coming back after falling to fourth following a late-race restart.  He regained his position as the leader, and then prevailed in a battle of splash-and-go fuel stops in the closing minutes to beat Max Angelelli to the checkered flag by 21.922 seconds.  The victory marked the third win for Montoya and Rojas in the Rolex 24, and the first win for Kimball in his first GRAND-AM start.

The No. 02 Target/TELMEX Dinan-Prepared BMW with drivers Dario Franchitti, Scott Dixon, Jamie McMurray and Joey Hand were a fixture among the lead pack and were running in second 15 hours into the marathon race before they encountered problems.  McMurray brushed the wall while exiting pit road following a green flag pit stop, costing the No.02 seven laps in the garage for repairs.  The No .02 returned to the track and gained five laps back when the car lost drive with less than three hours remaining, ending their chance for redemption.  The Target/TELMEX team would finish out the race in 37thposition overall.

NOTES OF INTEREST:
-Only Brumos has more Rolex 24 wins in the 51-year history of the race with 6 (their first start came in 1962 – Winning Percentage 18% ).
-CGRFS now has four wins for the No.01 car (2007, 2008, 2011, 2013), one for the No.02 (2006).
-Its Pruett’s fifth overall win which ties him with Hurley Haywood for most all-time.
-Pruett extends his all-time class victory mark at the Rolex 24 At Daytona with 10 (1987, 1988, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013).
-It’s the third Rolex 24 win for both Memo Rojas (2008, 2011, 2013) and Juan Pablo Montoya (2007, 2008, 2013).
-It’s the first win in a major touring series for Charlie Kimball (in his first Rolex 24 attempt).
-The victory gives BMW its third overall victory in the Rolex 24. They won in 1976 with Peter Gregg, Brian Redman and John Fitzpatrick, and in 2011 with CGRFS).
-The win gives Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. its 151st victory.
-Pruett extends his record to 40 career Rolex Series victories (Rojas is second with 26).
-CGRFS is the first team to win the Rolex 24 from pole since 2009 (David Donohue with Brumos Racing).

CGRFS QUOTEBOARD

Scott Pruett – No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW
“This was an incredible day all around.  At the end of it, having known Hurley (Haywood) real well over the years by racing with him and just as a friend and then to have him there was a very pretty special thing.  One thing when you get together with a group like this with Memo, Charlie and Juan, you don’t try to be Superman.  We’ve got some very incredibly talented guys that can step in and close it out.  I’m proud to be part of the team, and it was exciting to finish up on top.”

Memo Rojas – No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW
“This was the best way you can start the year because first of all we are in the points lead, and second, it's great as far as motivation for everyone in the team.  The crew works so hard at the shop first of all to prep for this race, and our season ends at the beginning of October, and immediately they start working on the 24 hours.  The cars get stripped away, and it's so much so that everybody really kind of needs this kind of motivation.  We won the championship last year, and the expectations are high, so we set ourselves a high goal and we were going to try to win the 24 hours first, and hopefully we can go for another championship.”

Juan Pablo Montoya – No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW
“One of the cool things about doing the Rolex 24 with Chip is that you’re a favorite every time you come here.  You always have a chance of winning.  Everybody that comes here with Chip finds that out.  It’s fun and it’s exciting. I think personally it's a boost getting the job done.  The last few years we finished second, we finished fourth, we finished third, we've been there all the time, and it's been painful.  I feel bad for the guys in our No. 02 because they had a ton of speed and they could have easily won, too.”

Charlie Kimball – No. 01 TELMEX/Target Dinan-Prepared BMW
“Having these guys as teammates takes a heck of a lot off my shoulders because I knew that I could settle in, and as long as I was smart and didn't make too many big mistakes and kept us in the race they'd put us in a position to win at the end.  Overall what an incredible race, though.  It's unbelievable, and with about four hours to go, I looked up and thought, we have the whole Indy 500 left to run as far as time, and my second thought was, why do they only do this once a year, because what an incredible event.  It's hard on everybody, mechanics, team, drivers, but it's such an awesome event and such a great race.”

The next GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series race for the CGRFS season-long effort in the No.01 TELMEX Dinan-Prepared BMW Riley with Pruett and Rojas will be at Circuit of the Americas at the new course in Austin, Texas on March 3. The GRAND-AM of The Americas presented by GAINSCO and TOTAL will air on SPEED at 5:30 pm ET.

Watch the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona 2013 Race Recap from Speed.

About Chip Ganassi Racing
Chip Ganassi has been a fixture in the auto racing industry for over 25 years and is considered one of the most successful as well as innovative owners the sport has anywhere in the world.  Today his teams include three cars in the IZOD IndyCar Series, two cars in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, and one Daytona Prototype in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series.  Overall his teams have 15 championships and 151 victories, including four Indianapolis 500s, a Daytona 500, a Brickyard 400 and five Rolex 24 At Daytonas.  Ganassi boasts state-of-the-art race shop facilities in Indianapolis and Brownsburg, Ind. and Concord, N.C., with a corporate office in Pittsburgh, Penn.

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