Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series: Rolex 24 at Daytona
Topics: Rolex 24 at Daytona
January 27, 2013
DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA
HERB BRANHAM: We've joined by Chip Ganassi and Carlos Slim. Congratulations, another Rolex 24 victory. Tell us about it.
CHIP GANASSI: Well, I'll tell you guys, it was‑‑ we came down here with the test. We knew it was‑‑ we knew we had good cars. We didn't know‑‑ everybody talks about the guys, what the speeds were at the tests versus the race and whatever, and everybody wants to keep some things in their pocket, I guess, for the race.
My hots off to our guys in Indianapolis that put this car together, Tim Keen, Mike Hull, Barry Wanser, Scott Harner, those guys, that put the cars together and they're in charge of all the preparation of the cars. So they worked very, very hard on the mechanical grip of the cars and were able to‑‑ when you see these‑‑ when you see the speed at the end of the straightaway that our car had, it was because we have less wing in the car and it makes our car‑‑ we work very, very hard, like I said, on the mechanical side, so we know the less wing you can run here, the faster you're going to be down the straightaway, and that's where, if you saw, we did most of our passing, after the start‑finish line. So we're pretty happy with that.
I was just told the reason I brought my No.1 man Carlos Slim up here with me, I was told today that this is our 10th anniversary at the 24 hours at Daytona, and our team's fifth victory, so I'm very, very proud of that, and every single one of them has been with this man to my left here, and every single one of them to be with the same crew, same team, and very, very proud of that, as well.
HERB BRANHAM: Carlos, pleasure to see you in the media center again. Tell us about this great day.
CARLOS SLIM: Thank you for us. First of all, it's a very big honor to be part of Chip's family, because it's a family, and as I said, we have been together for 10 years in this anniversary winning the 24 Hours of Daytona for us is something we feel not only very proud but also we feel very compromised with this project, and the experience that we have had in these 10 years has helped us a lot as a company, but especially as a development program. We have learned a lot from Chip, a lot from his team, and his advice has helped us to make a strong development program, so this day for us is‑‑ it means a consolidation of many processes that we have been working together.
As I was saying, it has taken me to continue to developing together so many good projects on the future.
Q. Last year getting shut out off the podium for two cars, how much did that motivate you guys, and how much did that play into maybe Mike and Tim's planning on what to do with the lineups and to move Juan over to the 01?
CHIP GANASSI: You know, it was a big effort. You know, we‑‑ in terms of being humbled by last year's finish, it made us go back and work harder, like I said, on mechanical grip on our car because we knew if we could come here with less wing, we'd be fine, and that's what we did. And I mean, there are lots of things on these cars. These are not spec cars. These are cars you can make changes with, whether on the wing, the toes, the brakes, the shocks, lots of things you can work with on these cars that really helps you develop mechanical grip, and I think that's what we worked most on.
And in terms of moving Juan over to the 01 car, you'll have to ask Mike Hull that. I read that, as you did, as well, and I asked him about it, and he said it was to balance the thing out. I mean, we needed to balance it out. We also had Charlie Kimball in that car, and we wanted to give those guys every opportunity to win, as well, and we thought the 02 car was obviously very strong, and we‑‑ so we thought we had two good shots at it here, and we did until earlier today.
Q. What does it mean to you to help Scott get his fifth win to tie Hurley, but also at the same time you became the winningest car owner in this race history.
CHIP GANASSI: You know, some day I'm sure I'll look back on that or something and it'll be fun to look at. I mean, right now I'm focused on the next race starting tomorrow here as soon as I have some tequila with my friend, and it's going to be thinking about the next race right away. It's not about‑‑ records like Hurley's are made to be broken, and Hurley was one of the first guys up there to congratulate Scott and myself when we got to victory lane, and it's nice to bring‑‑ there are lots of good stories there.
I think to have Memo drive as much as he did in the race was huge. I mean, he is‑‑ I'm fortunate now to have two No.1 drivers on that car for the entire season. So that's a big feather in our cap. Having Juan Pablo in the car I think exorcised some demons from this place a year ago when he was having the‑‑ his incident in Turn 3 there.
So I think to have Charlie Kimball get in in the night and drive, that's got to be‑‑ I know that's his first big victory, and to have a driver that's a diabetic win this race, I don't know how‑‑ I'm certainly pleased. It shows you can have a disease like he has and still chase your dreams and still compete at a high level, and that's what he did.
But to have Scott tie Hurley's record is something special. I mean, Scott's‑‑ I used to race against Scott Pruett, and he amazed me then with his tenacity, and we saw it again here today.
I never met a guy that was so team oriented and so about the team as he is. He's all about the team, and for he and Juan to get back together and have a victory I think mended a lot of things there. They've had their‑‑ they've had victory here together before, and they've had some angst with each other at certain places, and I think this brings them back together in a nice way.
But I can't say enough about Hurley Haywood being there in victory lane. We were at the Rolex dinner the other night, and when you look at Hurley's career and the cars he's driven and the co‑drivers he's been with, to have a name like Scott Pruett up there dying his Daytona 24 record is quite a feat. Hurley asked me to‑‑ if I could just make sure that Scott retired now, and I said, no, I said, what I will do, though, is maybe ask Hurley to come out of retirement if he wants to join him. So there's a carrot out there for Hurley.
Q. Chip, I wanted to talk about Juan, and it's a two‑part question. Number one, how did it work out that he was going to be the last guy in the car? Was that just the rotation of it or you specifically wanted him? And secondly, you alluded to this, how does this help him going forward with the Sprint Cup season and with NASCAR stuff coming up?
CHIP GANASSI: You know, we sit down at the beginning of the race and we have a driver rotation. But the good thing about Timmy Keene, he runs that team week in and week out, and he calls the shots on that car. You know, he changes it up for whatever reason, and then it's not the first time he's done that.
Everybody contributed, and everybody was a part of the victory, and it just happened to work out that way that we wanted to be‑‑ you know, it's important at different times of the race when you're looking at other people and who they're putting in their car, what the other team rotations are. That's a part of it. You're looking at other team rotations, you're looking at your own team and how your night is going, how you're going at dawn, you know, who's having a good race. You leave a guy in for an extra stint or two, and if he's having a good night, things are smooth, he's calm, he's feeling good‑‑ these cars are not‑‑ people forget, these cars are not easy to drive for long periods of time. The forces that get put on your body and what have you.
Some of the guys I have are up there in years and they have back issues and things, so if things are good, we leave them in, and if they're not, we take them out.
Going forward, obviously when you start off with any kind of victory, I mean, I think the first thing I said to him when he crossed the finish line, I said, hey, man, welcome back to victory lane. That's a big shot in the arm for any driver in any series to start off the season with a win, and obviously it's a completely different car than he's driving on a full‑time basis, but a win is a win, and it all adds up and it all means something.
There's not a driver out there that'll tell you it's not a motivating factor to start the season off with a win.
HERB BRANHAM: Gentlemen, congratulations.
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