Daytona 24 Hours Review: Gannasi Gets 3rd Straight 24-hour Win

By: Julie Smith

After 24 exhausting hours, the North America's most prestigious sport car race was won by the team for Chip Ganassi Racing team. Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas gave Ganassi's owner an unprecedented third straight win last Sunday at the Daytona International Speedway. The race also set a record this year with 15 different leaders and 694 laps were completed.

Chip Ganassi Racing continued its dominance; the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley was jubilant winning by a margin of 3 laps. Scotland's Dario Franchitti was named the official winner; the 34-year-old, who recently switched to NASCAR entered the partnership in the best style. He also had a great 2007 winning the IndyCar Series title and a class victory in the 12-hour race at Sebring.

According to Gannassi's owner, the race can be catalogued as the most competitive ever in the endurance race category. However, Gannassi admitted that none of the guys is getting one extra dime for competing in the 24 hours race; according to him the race is just an important challenge in their careers. Pruett agrees with his boss saying that the 24-hours in Daytona is "the hardest endurance race in the world and such a challenge to do it."

On the other hand; Montoya recognized last year he felt the team had a stronger car. He added: "That was a car that you thought, whatever happens, we were fast enough to win. This year, if it came down to it, I think it would have been a lot harder."

While the victory is the third straight for Ganassi in the Rolex Challenge, it's also the second straight win for Montoya and Pruett and the third career overall Rolex 24 win for Pruett. The team had a lucky day, besides a minor handling problem for Pruett at the start the team's No. 01 Lexus Riley Daytona Prototype was virtually perfect, racing at or near the lead all the time.

Others like Joao Barbosa from the Brumos Porsche didn't have their best day. He was on the lead with only five hours left in the race when the rear suspension failed. The car spun out and received a significant damage in the front.

The Ganassi team will be back in action in about a week hoping to win its first Daytona 500 with Montoya; stock car rookie Franchitti and Reed Sorenson will also compete.

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