Seven-time IMSA Champions and five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona Winners Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) announced today the fielding of two Prototypes for the 2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona, featuring eight drivers that represent some of the best talent the motor racing world has to offer.
Veteran Scott Pruett and new teammate Joey Hand will unite with Chip Ganassi Racing Teams (CGRT) Verizon IndyCar Series racewinner Charlie Kimball and CGRT development driver Sage Karam to form the lineup in the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost/Target Riley, while CGRT Verizon IndyCar Series Champions and Indianapolis 500 Winners Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan join CGRFS NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) reigning Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson and NSCS racewinner Jamie McMurray in the No. 02 Target/Ford EcoBoost Riley.
The 2015 CGRFS Rolex 24 At Daytona driver roster is an impressive group of international racing champions representing two Indianapolis 500 titles (Dixon-2008, Kanaan-2013), a Daytona 500 (McMurray-2010), four Verizon IndyCar Series Championships (Dixon-2003, 2008, 2013 and Kanaan-2004), seven Prototype Championships (Pruett-2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013), and four Rookie of the Year honors in their respective series (Kanaan-1999, Dixon-2001, McMurray-2003, Larson-2014). The group brings with them 144 total wins.
NOTES OF INTEREST:
· Rolex 24 Run: CGRFS has the greatest stretch in Rolex 24 At Daytona history highlighted by five wins and two second-place finishes from 2006-2013. The team also has seven championships (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) and 44 race wins to their credit since their introduction to sports car racing in 2004. Chip Ganassi and co-owner Felix Sabates are the only team owners in history to win three-straight Rolex 24 At Daytona events (2006-2008).
· Scott Pruett: Pruett is tied for the all-time record with five Rolex 24 At Daytona wins (1994, 2007, 2008, 2011, 2013) and joins Hurley Haywood as the lone five-time Rolex 24 At Daytona Winners. He is the first American to score 12 major sports car championships - his closest competitor is the late Peter Gregg who has seven to his credit, and his previous titles include two IMSA GTO Titles (1986, 1988), one IMSA GT Endurance (1986) and three Trans-Am Championships (1987, 1994, 2003). Pruett continues to extend his record as the all-time leader in IMSA wins with 59 victories.
· Joey Hand: Hand, widely considered one of the best road racers in the world, returns in a full-time capacity after helping CGRFS win the 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona with Pruett in his first of three appearances with the team (2011-2013 Rolex 24 At Daytonas). Hand led the most laps in the 2011 Rolex 24 At Daytona, leading 116 of the No. 01 cars race-leading 231 laps. He led the race six times overall en route to the teams fourth win in the sports car classic.
· Scott Dixon: Dixon has been a permanent fixture at CGRT for 13 years and has been on the Rolex 24 At Daytona roster for CGRFS since the teams inception in 2004. The three-time Verizon IndyCar Series Champion (2003, 2008, 2013) and 2008 Indianapolis 500 Winner was a part of the 2006 Rolex 24 At Daytona winning team for CGRFS and placed second in 2011. Dixon holds the distinction of being the winningest active Indy car driver with 35 victories, which ranks him in a tie for fifth on the all-time list with Bobby Unser.
· Tony Kanaan: The 2013 Indianapolis 500 Winner, 2004 Verizon IndyCar Series Champion and 17-time race winner, Tony Kanaan, joined CGRT for his first season with the team in 2014. Kanaan is the all-time Indy car leader in consecutive starts with 233 consecutive starts dating back to the Portland race in 2001. He has 118 top-five finishes, tying him for ninth on the all-time list with Rick Mears and Helio Castroneves. In 2004, he became the first driver to complete every possible lap in a season en route to winning the championship. The 2015 Rolex 24 At Daytona will mark Kanaans second race with CGRFS after competing with the team in 2014.
· Kyle Larson: The 2014 NSCS Rookie of the Year Kyle Larson will join CGRFS for the second time at the Rolex 24 At Daytona after competing last year alongside teammates Dixon, Kanaan, and Dario Franchitti. As a NSCS rookie, Larson had 36 starts, seven top- five finishes, 14 top-10 finishes, two pole awards, and led a total of 48 laps.
· Jamie McMurray: McMurray has competed in the Rolex 24 At Daytona six times with CGRFS (2005, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014) and had his best finish in 2011 with a second-place result. The 2003 NSCS Rookie of the Year has been a full-time fixture in NASCARs top division for 12 years with 438 career starts resulting in seven wins, 52 top-five finishes, and 121 top-10 finishes. McMurray is only one of three drivers to have won the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400 in a single season (2010).
· Charlie Kimball: Verizon IndyCar Series racewinner Charlie Kimball will make his second appearance at the Rolex 24 At Daytona after being part of the winning team in 2013. Kimball made his debut in the Verizon IndyCar Series in 2011 with Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing and collected his first win in 2013 at Mid-Ohio. Throughout Kimballs four-year career with CGRT, he has 68 starts, one win, four podiums, eight top-five and 28 top-10 finishes.
· Sage Karam: The 2013 Indy Lights Champion Sage Karam joined CGRT in 2014 as a development driver and made his debut with the team at the 2014 Rolex Daytona 24 At Daytona. He joined CGRFS again at the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Six Hours of the Glen, and the Brickyard Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where he helped the team move from a sixth-place start to a second-place finish. Karam ran his first-ever Indianapolis 500 in 2014 and finished higher than any other CGRT driver in ninth after starting 31st.
· Partnership Lineup: All of CGRTs drivers and primary partners (Target, Ford, McDonalds, CESSNA, Novo Nordisk and NTT DATA) will be represented across the No. 01 Ford EcoBoost/Target Riley and the No. 02 Target/Ford EcoBoost Riley to form an All-Star lineup both in the car and on the car.
Chip Ganassi, Owner, Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates:
· I love this race because it is one of the few times that we are able to bring all of our drivers and partners together in one race. NASCAR, IndyCar and IMSA drivers and partners are all represented in this unique endurance event. We have had the good fortune of having success in this event which is the result of a lot of hard work by the crew, talent behind the wheel and at some level, a little luck. But I think the best thing about the Rolex 24 is that it is the first event of another season. I cant wait.
To read more, please click here.
[caption id="attachment_1665" align="aligncenter" width="626"] Photo courtesy of LAT Photo USA[/caption]