Daytona Beach, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - IndyCar Series drivers Scott Dixon and Tony Kanaan as well as NASCAR Sprint Cup Series competitors Jamie McMurray and Kyle Larson gave Chip Ganassi Racing the victory in Sunday's 53rd running of the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Dixon, a three-time IndyCar champion and winner of the 2008 Indianapolis 500, drove Ganassi's No. 02 Riley-Ford DP during the closing stint of this 24-hour endurance race on the 3.56-mile road course at Daytona International Speedway. With less than an hour to go, Dixon put the No. 02 car in front for good following a round of pit stops.
A full-course caution set up a shootout to the finish with a little more than seven minutes left in the race. Dixon held off Sebastien Bourdais, driving the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP, at the finish by 1.333 seconds. Action Express Racing won last year's Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Jordan Taylor had Wayne Taylor Racing's No. 10 Corvette DP in contention to win the race during the final hour, but the team was forced to make a driver change in the closing minutes. Taylor was nearing the four-hour time limit for a driver on track. Ricky Taylor hopped in the car and drove it to a third- place finish, crossing the line 1 minute, 7 seconds behind.
Dixon won this prestigious race for the second time in his career. His first victory at Daytona occurred in 2006 when he shared driving duties with Dan Wheldon and Casey Mears in a Ganassi entry.
"The car was very consistent, and I think we had good speed, but everybody pulled their weight," Dixon said. "Everybody did what they needed to do, and that's what gets you through this 24-hour. Everybody kept the car in one piece. You have to be there at the end. You've got to try and look after the car so you have the speed at the end to try and compete for the win, and we definitely had some obstacles obviously with the 5 car being very quick and the 10 I thought was going to be the one to beat.
"With strategy and trying to save a little bit of fuel to open a window up helped us to sort of hop them in the pits, and that's how we got it."
McMurray became just the third driver to win both the Rolex 24 and the Daytona 500. He joined Mario Andretti and A.J. Foyt. McMurray's victory in the Daytona 500 happened in 2010.
"It's pretty unbelievable," McMurray said. "Getting to come down and have the opportunity to run this race for Chip and Felix (Sabates, team co-owner) and knowing that you have a chance to win it every year that you're down here, it makes you want to come do it, and to get to be in that group with Mario and AJ is quite a feeling."
It's also the first time Kanaan and Larson won the Rolex 24. Larson, the 2014 Sprint Cup rookie of the year, competed in this race for the second year in a row.
"It's a long race, and I thought I did a good job last night and then got to do a quick stint earlier today, and then Scott was in it for the last three- and-a-half hours, which was amazing," Larson said. "We all had tons of confidence in Scott, and he pulled it out for us. It was a really good day for us."
Kanaan won the Indianapolis 500 in 2013 and captured the IndyCar title in 2004.
"We felt a lot of pressure to win, but we knew we could do it," Kanaan said. "It means a lot, and it's one more to the resume for sure."
Ganassi Racing's previous wins in the Rolex 24 occurred in 2006-08, '11 and '13.
"We're watching Scott Dixon for the last three hours there drive, and you know, the focus is on Dixon and the focus was on what's going on the track," Ganassi said. "It takes a team of people. It takes a team of drivers, a team of great drivers to be paired with McMurray and Larson and Kanaan, to pair those guys with Dixon, that was a great grouping."