The all-NASCAR/IndyCar lineup of Jamie McMurray, Kyle Larson, Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan have emerged victorious at the end of the 53rd Rolex 24 at Daytona, all co-driving the No. 02 Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Ford.
Dixon turned in an incredible performance from start to finish, either going longer on fuel stints or holding off the advances of the team car from CGR, Jordan or Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing and the defending champion No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP.
“It’s such a team effort,” Dixon told Fox Sports in Victory Lane. “We kept the car clean and tried to look after it as much as possible. Such a big thank you to my teammates. It was awesome. It’s great to be back in [Victory Lane] with Team Target and Ford Ecoboost.
“We just had the speed. It was a lot of pit work to get the transition and jump ’em in the pits there at one point. I’m just so happy for the team.”
Meanwhile, Larson, McMurray and Kanaan raised their respective games across the board with Larson in particular providing a star turn in his second Rolex 24 start.
“It’s crazy how much a year can do,” said Larson. “I hated this race after last year. I was terrible! But this year, coming back, I felt comfortable right off the bat and had a lot of fun…I’m just a dirt, oval guy, and to come here and race a sports car at Daytona on the road course is pretty awesome.”
As for Kanaan, he dedicated the win to his wife, Lauren, and newest son, Deco, who was born just a few weeks ago.
He was also glad to add another timepiece to his collection – in this case, a Rolex Daytona – without having to pay up.
“I love watches,” Kanaan said. “I’ve always bought them, so I finally got one for free today!”
Ganassi has won in three of the last five years, having also won in 2011 and 2013. Dixon’s win is his first since the last “star car” win with Casey Mears and the late Dan Wheldon in 2006; for the other three, its’ their first overall Rolex 24 triumph.
McMurray joins legends Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt as the only drivers to have won both the Daytona 500 and Rolex 24. However, he made sure to especially thank Dixon for the No. 02’s success.
“Really, it’s about Scott Dixon to me, today,” McMurray said. “He got in with three and a half hours to go and he really did an amazing job. I’m just so proud of him.
“Scott’s become a good friend of mine, and I’m honored to get to call him a friend.”
The Taylor’s hopes of winning 10 years after father Wayne did so in 2005 came undone in the final hour courtesy of a drive time miscalculation. Jordan was forced to get out of the car and Ricky brought the car home to the finish in an unrepresentative third, behind Action Express.
Corvette Racing (GTLM) and Riley Motorsports (GTD) were the GT class winners to make for an all-American triumph for Corvette’s C7.R and the Dodge Viper GT3-R.
The Corvette crew included Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Ryan Briscoe behind the wheel, with the GTD winners Kuno Wittmer, Dominik Farnbacher, Cameron Lawrence, Al Carter and Ben Keating.
Meanwhile PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports (Mike Guasch, Andrew Palmer, Andrew Novich, Tom Kimber-Smith) scored a shock, last-minute win in PC after CORE autosport went off course, then had a fire inside the last 25 minutes. Colin Braun was evaluated and released from the infield care center. The late-race incident cost the No. 54 Oreca FLM09 its second straight Rolex 24 win after a flawless drive.