News & Multimedia

Ganassi Earns Milestone Victory at Rolex 24 with Help from Dixon, Briscoe

For Chip Ganassi, the ease of the start made the finish that much more difficult.

It also made it that much better.

Ganassi scored his 200th victory as a team owner in all forms of motorsports Sunday, Jan. 28 when one of his Ford GTs – the No. 67 shared by Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook – outlasted the other Ganassi entry to win the GT Le Mans class at the Rolex 24 At Daytona endurance sports car race.

“If you’re leading and a certain number of hours go around the clock, it’s your race to lose,” Ganassi said. “It’s one thing to not win the race; it’s another to lose it. It was our race to lose, and those are the worst races from my point of view because everything is out of my control.”

It also marked the third class victory at the Rolex 24 by four-time Verizon IndyCar Series champion Dixon, who previously won overall titles at Daytona with Ganassi in 2006 and 2015.

“For me, it was one of the most nervous races coming down to the wire, just seeing how the team was playing out and racing so closely with the (No.) 66 car,” Dixon said. “There was really nothing much in strategy. Everybody played their part.”

Remarkably, the two Ganassi cars led all but nine of the 783 laps completed by the GTLM class, the second-fastest of the three classes in the 24-hour race on Daytona International Speedway’s road course that kicks off the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. The No. 66 Ganassi Ford GT shared by Joey Hand, Dirk Mueller and four-time Indy car champion Sebastien Bourdais finished second, 11 seconds behind the No. 67.

Christian Fittipaldi, the former Indy car driver and nephew of two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi, teamed with Filipe Albuquerque and Joao Barbosa to take the overall victory in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Cadillac DPi, beating the No. 31 Action Express entry shared by Felipe Nasr, Eric Curran and former IndyCar driver Mike Conway by just more than a minute in the fastest class, the Prototypes.

The No. 11 GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Huracan GT3 shared by Rolf Ineichen, Mirko Bortolotti, former Indy car driver Franck Perera and Rik Breukers claimed victory in the GT Daytona class.

Ganassi’s victories during his 29-year career break down this way: 103 in Indy cars, 56 in sports cars, 39 in NASCAR and two in rallycross. After the race, he deflected credit to a long list of drivers, management personnel, engineers and crew members.

“There’s a time and a place to talk about that,” Ganassi said in the post-race news conference with Dixon, Briscoe and Westbrook. “We’re the kind of team that focuses on trying to do the best we can today. That’s how we approach every day. Today’s win is about here at Daytona and the Rolex and the three guys up here. When we’re talking to our little grandkids, we’ll talk about 200 wins.”

With only four full-course cautions, the 56th running of the race broke records for laps and mileage. Fittipaldi, Albuquerque and Barbosa covered 808 laps – 2,876.48 miles – breaking the all-time mileage record of 2,760.960 set in 1982 by John Paul Sr., John Paul Jr. and Rolf Stommelen in a Porsche 935JLP-3.

The previous lap record – 762 – was set in 1992 by Masahiro Hasemi, Kazuyoshi Hoshino, Toshio Suzuki and Anders Oloffson in a Nissan R91 CP.

“The pace was just amazing,” Action Express owner Bob Johnson said. “There were so few yellow flags throughout the race, I just couldn’t believe it. To be able to be there at the end, especially with both teams, was just amazing. Beyond my expectations, really.”

The race wasn’t as kind to other drivers with Indy car connections. Roger Penske’s return to sports car racing for the first time since 2009 ended with ninth- and 10th-place finishes with a lineup that included Helio Castroneves, Simon Pagenaud, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Graham Rahal.

Ryan Hunter-Reay, the 2012 Verizon IndyCar Series champion and 2014 Indianapolis 500 winner, finished 45th with mechanical issues after teammate Renger van der Zande won the pole position Thursday in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi.

“It’s an unfortunate circumstance to retire from the race with such a strong car,” Hunter-Reay said. “We obviously had the pace to be right there to be challenging the Action Express cars, but we had some unfortunate situations. … Certainly, it would’ve been a very positive race result for this team, but such is life, and that is racing.”

In the end, the Indy car angle belonged to Ganassi’s 200th victory. Even Indianapolis 500 veteran Scott Pruett, a longtime Ganassi sports car driver who retired today with a ninth-place finish in the GTD class with 3GT Racing, chimed in.

“I can’t say enough about Chip and his organization,” Pruett said. “What we achieved together, those records will take a while to eclipse.”

In the moment, the victory was about strengthening Chip Ganassi Racing’s standing in the racing world.

“As the team grows, it does get to be a bit burdensome at times to keep growing at the pace we have over the years,” Ganassi said. “I’m happy at this point to just make sure we’re stepping on solid ground for the next few years.

“We’re solidifying our current position, if you will.”



Show More Show Less
Now Viewing
Rolex 24
 
Ganassi Earns Milestone Victory at Rolex 24 with Help from Dixon, Briscoe
Ganassi scored his 200th victory as a team owner in all forms of motorsports Sunday, Jan. 28 when one of his Ford GTs – the No. 67 shared by Scott Dixon, Ryan Briscoe and Richard Westbrook – outlasted the other Ganassi entry to win the GT Le Mans class at the Rolex 24 At Daytona endurance sports car race.
Read More
Related Media
Jordan King
 
King Taking Everything in Stride for Rookie Season
End results are usually the bottom-line reality, but Ed Carpenter Racing rookie Jordan King insisted on Friday that he’s run stronger than where he’s finished in three Verizon IndyCar Series races.
Read More
Robert Wickens
 
Rookie Wickens Shines in 'Bittersweet' Qualifying for INDYCAR Grand Prix
Wickens barely missed the Verizon P1 Award on Friday for the INDYCAR Grand Prix, recording a lap less than a tenth of a second behind pole winner Will Power. Still, Wickens will start on the front row when the Verizon IndyCar Series race begins Saturday afternoon.
Read More
Will Power
 
Power Hopes To Follow Winning Formula after Capturing INDYCAR Grand Prix Pole
Power earned the Verizon P1 Award for the third time for the event on the 14-turn, 2.439-mile circuit, and he won the race both times previously after starting from pole, in 2015 and 2017.
Read More
Will Power
 
Power Tops Second Practice Session for INDYCAR Grand Prix
Driving the No. 12 Verizon Team Penske Chevrolet, Power navigated the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course in 1 minute, 9.8759 seconds (125.657 mph) to lead the field of 24 entries during the 45-minute session. Power also was fastest in the morning practice.
Read More
Tamika Catchings
 
Indiana Fever Legend Catchings To Wave Green Flag To Start INDYCAR Grand Prix
Four-time Olympic gold medalist and Indiana Fever legend Tamika Catchings will serve as honorary starter for the INDYCAR Grand Prix on Saturday, May 12 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Read More
Items 10 - 14 of 644