Ganassi takes Daytona one-two

Chip Ganassi Racing secured its fourth Daytona 24 Hours victory in six years with a one-two finish in the 2011 edition of the race

Ganassi takes Daytona one-two

Ganassi's #01 Riley-BMW MKXI/XX driven by Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas, Joey Hand and Graham Rahal crossed the line just two seconds ahead of its sister car. Scott Dixon, who shared the second Ganassi entry with Juan Pablo Montoya, Dario Franchitti and Jamie McMurray, was unable to exploit a late-race safety-car period, which turned the race into a one-lap sprint to the flag.

The victory means that the Ganassi organisation now holds the silverware for the big four motor races in the USA. This win follows on from its 2010 triumphs in the Daytona 500 and Brickyard 400 NASCAR blue-ribands and the Indianapolis 500.

Pruett took the lead in the final hour after the car had dropped nearly a minute when race leader Hand was awarded a 30-second stop-go penalty in the 21st hour for clipping a tyre as he left his pit stall. Hand brought the deficit to race leader Dixon down to under half a minute before a safety-car period allowed Pruett to close up on the frontrunners and move into the lead during the final sequence of pitstops.

Last year's winning team, Action Express Racing claimed third place with its Riley-Porsche driven by Joao Barbosa, Christian Fittipaldi, Max Papis, Terry Borcheller and JC France. Barbosa was just three tenths of a second behind Dixon at the finish after mounting a bid for second on the final lap.

Former Le Mans 24 Hours winners Martin Brundle and Mark Blundell ended up fourth in the United Autosports Riley-Ford they shared with Zak Brown and Mark Patterson. They came back from a lap down on Sunday morning to finish only three seconds behind the winners.

Fifth place went to the SunTrust Dallara-Chevrolet shared by Max Angelelli, Ricky Taylor and Ryan Briscoe. It fought back to finish only one lap behind the leaders despite two major delays.

GT honours were claimed by the TRG Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 Cup driven by Andy Lally, Wolf Henzler, Spencer Pumpelly, Brendan Gaughan and Steven Bertheau. TRG completed more than a third of the race without a clutch, but still finished a lap up on the similar Miller Motorsport Porsche.

Leading finishers:

Pos  Drivers                                 Team        Car       Gap
 1.  Hand/Pruett/Rahal/Rojas                 Ganassi     R/B  720 laps
 2.  Dixon/Franchitti/McMurray/Montoya       Ganassi     R/B  + 2.070s
 3.  Barbosa/Borcheller/F'paldi/France/Papis Action Exp. R/P  + 2.326s
 4.  Blundell/Brown/Brundle/Patterson        United      R/F  + 3.135s
 5.  Angelelli/Briscoe/Taylor/Taylor         SunTrust    D/C   + 1 lap
 6.  Jonsson/Krohn/Minassian/Zonta           Krohn       L/F   + 1 lap
 7.  Allmendinger/McDowell/Wilson            MSR         D/F  + 2 laps
 8.  Bouchut/Diaz/Tucker/Wilkins             Level 5     R/B  + 3 laps
 9.  Donohue/Frisselle/Law/Rice              Action Exp. R/P  + 4 laps
10.  Goossens/Negri/Pew/Valiante             MSR         R/F + 15 laps

R - Riley, D - Dallara, L - Lola
B - BMW, P - Porsche, F - Ford, C - Chevy

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