ROLEX 24 FRONT ROW SWEEP
Chip in charge: Ganassi cars sweep front row for Rolex 24
Ken Willis SPORTS COLUMNIST | Thursday, January 24, 2013
This, race fans, is why anyone interested in winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona must make his way past the stout frame of Chip Ganassi.
Ganassi, the longtime owner of NASCAR, IndyCar and Grand-Am teams, brought two haulers to Daytona, unloaded two BMW-powered prototypes, and will have those two cars pushed to the front of the grid before Saturday's start of the Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway.
The two Daytona Prototypes, each featuring a Riley chassis to go with that BMW horsepower, swept the top two spots Thursday in qualifying for the 24-hour marathon. Ganassi, who has four Rolex 24 trophies as an owner, had the pleasure Thursday of handing qualifying duties on his No. 01 car to Scott Pruett, who has four Rolex 24 wins as a driver (three of those in Ganassi cars).
“I joked with some of my guys, I don't know how many years I have left, so I better get every pole I can,” said the 52-year-old Pruett, whose quickest lap averaged 127.455 mph. The other Ganassi car – the No. 02, with Scott Dixon handling qualifying duties – turned a fast lap of 127.337 mph.
It was a fast start to an action-packed weekend. The first of two races Friday will get under way just before lunchtime. Until then, most of Friday morning's track time will be spent on a frantic search for last-minute speed.
Prior to racing for keeps, teams from the Continental Tire and Ferrari Challenge series will take turns on Daytona's 3.56-mile road course. The Continental Tire Challenge cars will begin a final shakedown during a 30-minute practice, beginning at 9 a.m. That circuit's BMW Performance 200 gets the green flag at 1:45 p.m.
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