Ganassi giving Herculean effort at Rolex: 4 cars, 14 drivers

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) Chip Ganassi was asked during a meeting this week who was driving for him in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The team owner grabbed a piece of paper and began to jot down the names.

“It took me a few minutes to write them all down to make sure I had all the drivers,” he said Friday.

Ganassi is putting forth a Herculean effort for this year’s race. He is fielding four cars for 14 drivers in two different classes.

Add in the pressure that one of the cars, his No. 02 “star car,” is the defending race champion. It’s in theory the last hurrah for one of the most celebrated cars in this prestigious race.

Ganassi is only fielding the No. 01 and No. 02 prototypes at Daytona because he is the defending race winner and because he had the cars in his inventory.

After that, he will abandon the Prototype class and focus on his newest endeavor – two-car, Ford GT production programs in both the GTLM class in the U.S. and the LM GTE Pro class in the FIA World Endurance Championship in Europe.

The change was made to give Ganassi his first chance to enter cars at Le Mans, and he is the cornerstone of Ford’s return to the showcase event 50 years after the manufacturer went 1-2-3 with the GT40 in 1966. Ford repeated its winning performance at Le Mans with the GT40 from 1967 to 1969.

So this is the last shot for Ganassi to win the overall title at the Rolex, where the winning car is almost always from the Prototype class. Ganassi has a record six overall victories in twice-round-the-clock endurance race that begins Saturday afternoon.

Returning to defend last year’s win in the “star car” are reigning IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson.

The No. 01 will be driven by former Formula One and sports car racer Alex Wurz, 2015 WEC champion Brendon Hartley, three-time Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx and 17-year-old Lance Stroll.

In the GTLM class, the No. 66 will be driven by Joey Hand, Dirk Muller and Sebastien Bourdais. The No. 67 entry will be driven by Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Stefan Mucke. Both Hand and Bourdais are previous winners of the Rolex.

When the teams reported to Daytona International Speedway for January testing, Ganassi held his annual driver dinner and squeezed the entire lineup at one table.

“He’s got a lot of pride in this event, especially this year having 14 drivers here,” Larson said. “That dinner he had … you could see he was really excited to have us all at one table.”

It’s a prestigious group of drivers with extensive resumes. And for Ganassi, who has won the Rolex 24, the Daytona 500, the Indianapolis 500 and the Brickyard 400 in one calendar year, it’s a chance to put four cars into the field at Le Mans and add that race to his resume.

“He’s really proud. You can see how excited and proud he is that all of these drivers are driving for him on this weekend,” McMurray said. “No other owner in the world has this many guys from that many series who have won so many big races on one team.”

The prototype program will go away when the race concludes Sunday, and Ganassi’s run of 41 overall sports car victories and five series championships will come to an end. His cars will instead race for class victories.

“The important people who need to know the difference between the Prototypes and the GTs, I don’t think they take away from a win in GT versus Prototypes, a win is a win,” Ganassi said.

It’s unknown, though, if there will ever be another “star car” for Ganassi. He could add any combination of Dixon, Bourdais and Kanaan to the Le Mans lineups as the trio does not have any conflicts with IndyCar during that June race.

But as far as putting an all-star lineup together for another Rolex, nothing is certain. And even if the drivers do return, they would only be running for class victory and not the overall win.

“It’s a blatant reality. All of us hope to be back, and at least we can say we’ve done it and won it,” Dixon said. “But all of us want to be part of this race, it’s a great race, a great way to start the season. The last thing I want to see is it not happen.”

Max Verstappen is PointsBet favorite to score sixth staight in 2022 Singapore Grand Prix

PointsBet 2022 Singapore odds
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Max Verstappen is the PointsBet Sportsbook odds favorite to win the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix on the Marina Bay Street course to stretch his current win streak to six consecutive. He shows odds of -200 this week.

Formula 1 did not compete in Singapore in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Verstappen has podium finishes in his last two attempts on this track. he was second in 2018 and third in 2019. In the first 15 races of this season, he has failed to stand on the podium only twice and has an average finish of 2.73.

With minus odds, the way to determine a payout is by subtraction. In order for a bettor to earn $100, he must wager $200 this week; with that wager, he will get back his initial stake and winnings of $100.

For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

Charles Leclerc is ranked second this week with +400 odds. He has two previous Singapore GP starts to his credit with a best of second in 2019. He is coming off back-to-back podium finishes with a third in the Dutch GP and a second at Monza.

Ranked third is Carlos Sainz, Jr. with a line of +1100. He has top-five finishes in four of his last five starts, but only one of these, a third in the Belgian GP, was on the podium. Sainz is one of four winners other than Verstappen this season. His victory came in the British GP.

Lewis Hamilton shows a line of +1200. His last win came last fall in the Saudi Arabian GP and the Mercedes team has struggled to contend for victory in 2022. They are improving, however, with eight top-fives in the last nine races. Hamilton has two wins in his last three Singapore starts, which came in 2017 and 2018.

Rounding out the top five is Hamilton’s teammate George Russell at +1800. He has not won, but has shown remarkable consistency with top-fives in all but one race. Notably, his only bad finish came in his home GP in England. Russell has one previous start at Marina Bay; he finished last in the 2019 race. He finished fourth in 2019 as part of a four-race streak of top-fives.

The most recent Singapore GP winner from 2019, Sebastian Vettel is a longshot at +50000.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

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