Crash injuries force Dario Franchitti to retire
Open-wheel star had starts in all three national NASCAR series
Passion makes Chip Ganassi Rolex 24 royalty
RELATED: Complete Rolex 24 schedule, TV channels DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Chip Ganassi is as calm, cool and collected as it gets. The winningest car owner in Rolex 24 history, he is royalty walking around Daytona International Speedway this weekend. His race teams have claimed Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 trophies, gulped a lot of celebratory milk in Indianapolis 500 victory circle and have won enough Rolex watches in this great sports car race to fill a luxury store window. Yet for all the success and stature he's collected over the years, Ganassi is adamant that his primary focus remains quite simple. "We approach every race as we just want to win the next race," Ganassi said. "And the next race is today for us. I've been fortunate to work with some great people over the years and some great teams and great companies. It's something someday I guess I'll look back on and talk about, but right now our focus is on today's race and the team of people we have here. My hat's off to them. "So that's something when I'm sitting back with my grandkids I'll talk about or something. Right now I just want to worry about tomorrow, what's happening in the 24th hour." If all goes as planned and reasonably presumed, at least one of Ganassi's four Ford GT cars should be challenging for a GT LeMans Class winner's Rolex on Sunday afternoon. It's a familiar, if always satisfying, scenario. Ganassi prototypes won the overall trophy in this legendary race a record six times -- including a historic three consecutive times from 2006-2008. Last year his prototype cars -- driven by his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson -- finished 13th overall. He also brought the new Ford GTs only a few weeks after their delivery and essentially untested. They finished 30th and 39th overall in their Daytona debut but the team went on to win the great LeMans 24-hour event last summer. Ganassi is now the only owner in racing history with victories in the Rolex 24, 24 Hours of LeMans, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Daytona 500 , the Brickyard 400, and the Indianapolis 500. "It's pretty impressive, obviously, to see what Chip's achieved across many different formulas," said Ganassi IndyCar driver (and champion) Scott Dixon, who is co-driving one of Ganassi's Fords this weekend. "I think the most outstanding thing was being a part of LeMans ... not just the winning car but seeing the emotions Chip and Ford achieved. It takes a very special group. "I'm extremely happy for him and how he's adding to his accolades. He's a racer at heart and knows the ins and outs of it. He's probably the most competitive person I know, and having that from the top is so important." Dario Franchitti , a three-time Indy 500 winner and former NASCAR competitor, echoed the sentiment. The now-retired driver is trackside at Daytona this weekend serving as the Grand Marshal. "I almost drove for him a couple times before [I joined the team] and I'd watch him and you just wondered what made the team tick? What made him tick?" Franchitti said. "When I became part of the team I knew why they were so difficult to beat as a group because Chip puts the right people in positions and lets them get on with it. "He doesn't micromanage. But, he has a passion for racing and a passion for winning and if he's not winning he wants to know why. He gives you all the tools to do the job, but he expects a result." &amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;lt;/p&amp;amp;amp;amp;amp;gt;
McMurray, Montoya to drive in Rolex 24 for Ganassi
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- The Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates organization's Christmas card sent out last month was a keeper. Lining up for a group photo were drivers Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Scott Dixon, Dario Franchitti , Juan Montoya, Jamie McMurray -- and team owner Chip Ganassi. Grand-Am Road Racing got one of those cards. On Tuesday, Grand-Am - and its fans -- got a belated Christmas gift from Ganassi's group, in the form of a star-studded lineup for the upcoming Rolex 24 at Daytona (Jan. 29-30), one encompassing two cars, eight drivers, three racing disciplines and a return appearance by McMurray, the reigning Daytona 500 champion. Pruett and Rojas, the reigning Rolex Series Daytona Prototype co-champions, will be joined in the No. 01 Target/Telmex BMW/Riley prototype by Grand-Am veteran Joey Hand and Graham Rahal, the latter recently announced as a new Ganassi driver in the IndyCar Series. In the No. 02 Telmex/Target BMW/Riley, last year's Daytona team returns intact: McMurray, two-time Rolex 24 champion Montoya and two IndyCar vets -- two-time series titlist Dixon and the series' reigning champ, Franchitti . Collectively, those two teams have won 12 series championships, eight Rolex 24s, one Daytona 500 and four Indianapolis 500s. Happy Holidays indeed, belated or not. Ganassi clearly is pulling out all the stops to get a fast start on the 2011 season -- and a fast follow-up to a memorable 2010. Last season arguably was the greatest by any race car owner in any series: Pruett and Rojas dominated the Grand-Am Rolex Series season en route to winning the DP championship for a second time; McMurray won the marquee event in the Sprint Cup Series, plus the Brickyard 400; and Franchitti won the Indy 500 for a second time and the IndyCar series title for a third time. "The Rolex 24 at Daytona is always exciting for our team, especially because it involves so many of our drivers from all different series," Ganassi said. "There are so many elements out of the drivers' hands that need to come together, in order to have a shot at winning this event. That's what I love about it. You have to not only be good, but you also have to have a little bit of luck on your side to succeed in a race that lasts 24 hours." Ganassi's No. 02 DP team dominated the race's first eight hours last year before mechanical problems forced an early retirement of the car. Pruett and Rojas went on to finish second, teamed with two other drivers. McMurray was involved in a recent test session at Daytona International Speedway; both NASCAR stock cars and Grand-Am sports cars turned laps on the new DIS pavement for the first time. "They did a really nice job with the paving project, so I expect the racing to be really good for the 24-hour race," McMurray said. "I'm certain that we'll bring good cars for the race, as Chip and his Grand-Am guys do each and every year. It's great to have the opportunity to once again drive for Chip in one of the most prestigious motorsports events out there." Testing for the Rolex 24 at Daytona -- the Roar Before the Rolex 24 -- is Friday-Sunday at Daytona. The 49th running of the endurance classic is set for 3:30 p.m. ET on Jan. 29.
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Larson, McMurray to drive in Rolex 24 At Daytona
Chip Ganassi Racing's Sprint Cup drivers will help pilot one entry Chip Ganassi Racing announced Thursday that Kyle Larson and Jamie McMurray will compete in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the season-opening event in the 2015 IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The two NASCAR Sprint Cup Series teammates for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will be making return trips to the 24-hour endurance event, which will take place Jan. 24-25 at Daytona International Speedway . They will team with a pair of Indianapolis 500 winners in Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan for a four-driver effort in the No. 02 Ford-powered Riley Daytona Prototype chassis. McMurray will mark his seventh appearance in the road-racing classic; his best Rolex 24 finish was a runner-up performance in 2011. Larson, the 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the Sprint Cup Series, will be making his second Rolex 24 start, one year after finishing 15th overall in the No. 02 with Dixon, Kanaan and Marino Franchitti . Ganassi will also field the No. 01 entry for primary driver Scott Pruett, who has scored all five of his Rolex 24 triumphs with the venerable team owner. Pruett will team with road racer Joey Hand, IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball and developmental driver Sage Karam. "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," Ganassi said. "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 can't wait." The 53rd running of the Rolex 24 signals not only the kickoff event for the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season, but also offers a prelude to Daytona's Speedweeks MORE: READ: Latest Chase news PLAY: Monitor your Chase Grid Game picks WATCH: Latest NASCAR video FOLLOW LIVE: Get RaceView
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