Today, the "Chip Slam" was completed at Daytona International Speedway as both Ganassi squads finished 1-2 in the Rolex 24, the opening round of the 2011 Grand American Rolex Series season. The No. 01 Target/Telmex machine, driven by Scott Pruett, took the lead for good with 49 minutes to go after cycling ahead of its sister car, the No. 02 (driven by Scott Dixon), and the No. 9 Action Express Racing car of Joao Barbosa during the final pit stops of the race.
Pruett, Memo Rojas, Joey Hand and the IZOD IndyCar Series' Graham Rahal make up the winning No. 01 team. For Pruett, it's his fourth Rolex 24 title and his second with Grand-Am teammate Rojas, while Hand and Rahal are experiencing their first victory in the Rolex.
"I think the one thing is we knew that we had a great driver lineup and we had Chip," said Rahal in Victory Lane on SPEED Channel. "This shows exactly why these guys win so many races. We can change gear stacks, do this, that, and the other, and we still come out with a 1-2. It's just tremendous."
The Ganassi squads had to overcome their fair share of trouble. The No. 01 needed a gearbox change in the early stages of the event, while the No. 02 suffered the same trouble later on and also needed to go into the garage last night for a splitter change after hitting debris. And during today's action, Hand was forced to serve a stop-and-go penalty on pit road after hitting pit equipment during a stop.
Pruett and the No. 01 managed to take the point from Dixon off the final stops, but the victory wasn't decided until he managed a successful restart attempt in the final minute. Sascha Maassen's No. 90 machine caused that caution after debris came off his car.
The No. 02 came home second and featured IndyCar's Dixon and Dario Franchitti, as well as NASCAR stars Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray.
For Chip Ganassi, it's another major trophy for his mantle. In the last 12 months, his teams have taken the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 in NASCAR (both won by McMurray), the Indianapolis 500 (won by Franchitti), and now America's biggest sports car race.
"We've finished first three years in a row, second three years in a row, and now we've got a win here today," said Ganassi on SPEED Channel. "It's really special for the team. I couldn't be happier for Telmex, for Target, for BMW, everybody that's come together. But the team is really what it's all about. I'm just happy to be a part of it."
Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi, Max Papis, Terry Borcheller and J.C. France make up the third-place No. 9 team.