Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates won a superb fifth Rolex 24 At Daytona as their drivers Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Juan Pablo Montoya and Charlie Kimball triumphed in the prestigious event last weekend.
The #01 Riley-BMW took the spoils in a tense race that was briefly disrupted by fog along the way, claiming the squad’s fifth win in 10 attempts at Daytona to beat the #10 VelocityWW Corvette in a last-hour sprint finish.
Both of the team’s cars were strong forces throughout and each lead at some point, the #01 car recovering from an 11th hour excursion for Kimball to win while the #02 machine was forced to retire in the closing three hours after losing drive, finishing out of the race and 37th overall.
The win was also the fifth overall Rolex 24 triumph of Pruett’s glittering career, tying him with Hurley Haywood for the all-time number of wins in the famous race, as well as being his 10th class win of the event since 1987.
Pruett himself said after his latest win: “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.”
As well as the pride of winning the event and the Rolex watch, defending Rolex Series champions Pruett and Rojas take the early points lead in the 2013 season, team-mate Rojas now already focusing on the championship battle ahead.
“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,” said Rojas.
“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. 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.”