GT Le Mans class victory for Chip Ganassi one for history books

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. -- Chip Ganassi came into the media center Saturday a few hours prior to the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

It was a bit of a strange visit, considering he's used to arriving after the race is over.

But doing his requisite news conference in his role as grand marshal and giving the command to start engines, Ganassi kicked off a race that will be a memorable one for him. Chip Ganassi Racing notched the 200th victory in its history when Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon and Richard Westbrook teamed to win the GT Le Mans class in the 24-hour race that finished Sunday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway.

"There's a time and place to talk about that," Ganassi said. "We're the type of team that we just focus on trying to do the best we can today.

"That's how we approach every day. Today's win is about here at Daytona. It's about the Rolex. ... Those kind of [historical] things, we'll have plenty of time to talk about it."

The class victory -- considered a win in this form of racing -- was Ganassi's 56th sports car victory (and eighth in the Rolex 24). The organization has 103 IndyCar wins, 39 stock car wins and two rallycross wins.

"For me, it's the personnel," said Dixon, who has won 41 times for Ganassi across sports cars and IndyCars. "Everybody involved, they have just a great group of people that work very well together.

"Everybody just wants to win. That's the most simple thing: We come here each weekend to win. There's no thinking about finishing [the race] or finishing second."

Ganassi's two cars finished first and second and combined to lead 774 of the 783 laps in their class. Dixon finished 11 seconds ahead of teammate Joey Hand.

"It was one of the most nerve-racking races," Ganassi said. "When you come out of the blocks fast like that and ... after a certain amount of hours go around the clock a little bit, it's your race to lose.

"It's one thing not to win the races. It's another if you lose it. It was our race to lose, and those are the worst races from my point of view because everything is out of my control."

Scott Pruett, who retired after the Rolex 24, won 44 sports car races driving for Ganassi from 1998 to 2015 and is the all-time winningest driver in team history.

"I can't say enough about Chip and his organization," Pruett said. "We broke the record books together [with] all the wins and all the successes. ... What we achieved together, those records -- it's going to take a while to eclipse those."

Ganassi is the only owner to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Indianapolis 500, Daytona 500, Brickyard 400, Rolex 24 At Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

The team's first win came in IndyCar when Michael Andretti won in March 1994 at Australia. The 100th win also came in an IndyCar race with Dixon, who won the July 2008 IndyCar race at Nashville.

Ganassi's wins at Daytona include the 2010 Daytona 500 with Jamie McMurray and eight in the Rolex 24.

"Everybody thrives in the winning culture that this team has, and they've definitely proven it in many ways with Chip, obviously across many different disciplines in auto racing," Dixon said.