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January 25, 2015

Chip Ganassi

Mike Hull

Felix Sabates


NATE SIEBENS:テつ Chip, winningest team owner of all time in the Rolex 24 at Daytona in overall victories with your sixth here today.テつ I guess if you could, put it into words.
CHIP GANASSI:テつ Well, it starts really with‑‑ everyone wants to talk about me.テつ It starts with Felix, my partner, and it starts with this guy on my left here, Mike Hull.テつ No story about any records at this team would be complete without mentioning their name in the same breath.テつ It's that simple.
You know, I don't put the teams together.テつ I don't change the tires.テつ I don't build the engines.テつ I've said this before.テつ I don't do the pit stops.テつ This guy on my left does all that, and he's my brother from another mother, I guess.
That's what it comes‑‑ you have to start with that, really.テつ It's a great honor.テつ I mean, Felix and I got started in this business because of Bill and Brian France.テつ They came along and said, hey, you've got to have a car in that series.テつ We said, okay, and they've been behind us for years.
I'll tell you, you can't mention this team, either, the team's success, without mentioning Telmex and Carlos Slim.テつ They've been with us for so many years.テつ We made a change this year, but they're still a part of each and every one of these wins and they're a part of this one, as well.
These things take a team.テつ You know, you're out there, 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 on track.テつ It takes a team of people.テつ 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, but again, Mike picked the grouping, not me, and he picked the grouping of drivers.テつ I think the 01 car had a great team, as well.テつ They had just as much of a shot.テつ They had a little clutch problem there about the 20th hour or 22nd hour.テつ My hats off to Chevrolet and the job they were doing, and Wayne Taylor.テつ They were right there.テつ They were doing everything it took to win, and it was just‑‑ I wish I could explain how close that race is.
The last three or four hours of the event and the combination of complete concentration by every single person on the team, you know, by the engineers coming up with their game of chess, if you will, the last two or three hours, a game of chess turns into a game of chicken about who's going to pit first on that last splash stop there.テつ You know, it was unfortunate for the 10 car that they had to make a driver change.テつ Obviously that team knows how to win races and they know how to win this race and they know how to win championships, and they're a good measure for any team in automobile racing, and that's Wayne Taylor's team.
NATE SIEBENS:テつ Mike Hull is Chip's long time associate.テつ A lot has been made about this 02 "Star Car".テつ Obviously they brought it home here today, but you obviously had two very strong cars‑‑
CHIP GANASSI:テつ Let me say one thing before we go any further.テつ That "Star Car", I don't know who named it, but I don't approve of that name.テつ I want to tell you that.テつ That's like any other car on our team.テつ I want to go on record as saying that.テつ That's another moniker that one of you guys came up with, not me.
NATE SIEBENS:テつ Mike, tell us, give us your thoughts on this big win obviously for the team.
MIKE HULL:テつ Well, I'll say a couple of things.テつ Number one is we had eight drivers drive for us today, not four, because that's actually‑‑ if anybody digs into our culture at all they'll find out that's who we are.テつ We're all about the people that work for us.テつ The drivers are certainly a big part of that.テつ Frankly I got very emotional after winning this race.テつ Usually I can keep it contained, but this is such a big deal for us to come here, and to come here with the 02 car and win the race because we're not a full season group of people when we race that car.テつ We're a lot of‑‑ we're cross‑sectional people, a lot of IndyCar people, our drivers come from NASCAR, our drivers come from our IndyCar program, and it's really, really fun to do this.
I've always been on the 02 timing stand because our full‑time guys run the other one, and the first year I got to win this race was in 2006, the first year we won it, and there was a guy that we won with, with Scott.テつ I wish he was here today.テつ He'd be jumping up and down.
It's so much fun to win this race.
NATE SIEBENS:テつ Felix, how about your thoughts, obviously a big win here for the team.テつ Could you have imagined back beginning of 2004 I believe it was that you'd get six wins in 12 Rolex 24 starts here?
FELIX SABATES:テつ When I first went to Chip about doing this, I knew that we would win.テつ The Ganassi organization is probably one of the top two or three organizations in all of racing worldwide, and anything they put their mind to it, they're going to win with it.テつ So I thought this was going to be fun, plus we had Latin drivers.テつ I just did a full interview with Brazil, Argentina and some other place I've never even heard of in Spanish.テつ I don't know if it was a country or stomach ache.テつ I know any time we come here we can win.テつ Last year I was brokenhearted because it was our first year with Ford.テつ Ford has been a tremendous supporter of ours, and we're here.テつ And I've got a watch after six years.

Q.テつ One question either for Mike or Chip.テつ The winning 02 car, you have assembled a driving crew who are normally not permanently in the series, in the IMSA series.テつ They have commitments in NASCAR and in IndyCar.テつ Having had this success, is it possible maybe commitments allowed we see them more often in IMSA missing?
CHIP GANASSI:テつ I think all the drivers on our team look at opportunities if there's certainly an opening in their schedule.テつ I think it's safe to say they all embrace our‑‑ Mike and mine's view that‑‑ I think we grew up in a time that we respected race car drivers who could drive lots of different cars.テつ It was great to see Vic Elford Wednesday night here at the ROC dinner.テつ Those are the guys I grew up respecting, guys that could drive this car, that car, any kind of car.テつ So I think our drivers accept that, as well, the drivers on our team.テつ When there's an opportunity to‑‑ they're always up for going to another test when one of their teammates is testing or doing this race.
I think schedule permitting, they would love to do more racing.テつ It's just these days of‑‑ these drivers get more and more commitments on their schedule that make it difficult, but I think all things being equal, they'd be happy to.

Q.テつ I'm not sure who's best to answer this, but it seemed all your drivers were very, very good and didn't make any, if any, mistakes.テつ Particularly if you guys could discuss the growth that Karam and Larson showed and then specifically Dixon, who just is unbelievable as always, seven hours in the car and the long final stint and he just doesn't ever make any mistakes.
MIKE HULL:テつ You know Dixon is my guy, but they all are.テつ I had a conversation with Kyle as an example.テつ After he raced last year, he was actually very intimidated by the process of driving road racing in a big hybrid sports car, and I had heard that he didn't want to do the race this year.テつ I thought, well, that was odd.テつ He's a racing guy.
So I called him on the phone, and I said, you're going to drive with us.テつ He said, well, I don't know if I want to.テつ Those other guys are so good.テつ I said, well, you don't really understand how good you are.テつ We've invested‑‑ the time investment that we made together last year at the Daytona 24‑hour race is going to pay big dividends for all of us, including you, this year, and I'm glad it did for him because he represents all of us.テつ He does.テつ And he represents everybody that works in North Carolina, he represents everybody that lives and works in Pittsburgh, and he represents everybody that lives in Indianapolis.テつ He's part of our deal.
I don't know how to answer the question except we could throw all those names up in a hat and have them fall down and they could just drive in the 01 or 02 car.テつ That's how we look at it.テつ It's just fantastic to be able to do it with them.
CHIP GANASSI:テつ And I think the same with Sage.テつ Like Sage is a little newer to our organization than Kyle, of course, and you know, every situation we seem to put him in, he seems to blossom, if you will, and I think we saw that again last night and today in the 01 car.テつ You know, we just want to keep‑‑ we want to keep giving him opportunities.テつ His trajectory is a little earlier than, like I said, than any of the other guys on the team, but he seems to be coming along fine, I guess.テつ We're very happy with both of those guys.
MIKE HULL:テつ You know, it was mentioned two minutes ago or something about me working for Chip.テつ I've worked for Chip for 23 years.テつ The reason I went to work for Chip was because Chip has this uncanny ability to look into a race driver immediately and understand whether that race driver is a difference maker, whether that race driver can become a closer.テつ That's why people like me want to work for people like Chip, because that's what we do.テつ When we got to climb over the fence to do this, that's what we wanted to do as people who work in this industry.テつ That's what these race drivers for us are all about.

Q.テつ Can you talk about Dixon and what a special talent he is.
MIKE HULL:テつ Well, he's one of those people that have enormous ability and always has, has terrific passion, wants to make himself better every day.テつ He's not complacent with where he is presently.テつ I'll guarantee you, he'll come back here to race again, and he'll want to improve himself over where he just finished today.テつ He does that with us every day.テつ He's in the Indy shop two or three days a week.テつ He's with the guys all the time about working on the cars, the engineers and so on.テつ He's very direct with what he wants with his race car, and then he's unselfish.テつ He gives back.
So the younger drivers now that drive for us have a great mentor in Scott Dixon, and that's the kind of person he is, and that's why he's so great to be around.テつ I feel very fortunate to have been with him for as long as he's been with us.
NATE SIEBENS:テつ Chip, can you speak to getting this win here for Ford.テつ Maybe at least from the outside it feels like there's maybe a little bit of a bigger relationship this year than there might have been last year.
CHIP GANASSI:テつ Well, look.テつ These are‑‑ Ford has a history in racing.テつ They have a history in endurance racing, and we can all sit here and say, gee, they got a new car and wouldn't it be great and what about this and what about that.テつ I can just tell you guys are nine miles ahead of me on that.テつ We're just trying to go‑‑ the next thing we're focused on is Sebring after this.テつ We want to go back there and end up like we did last year.
When the time comes to talk about other things, that'll be that.テつ They're obviously a car company from Detroit that understands racing.テつ They have a rich history in racing, and hopefully we added a little bit to that history today.

Q.テつ Felix, the number 01 car goes out with a problem kind of late in the race.テつ You're kind of an emotional worry wart kind of guy.テつ What's your thoughts about the 02?テつ Do you get really concerned about the 02 at that point?
FELIX SABATES:テつ I happened to be watching the race with Chip.テつ After 30 years in racing, you learn that you're going to have problems.テつ When the 01 had a problem, Chip and I just‑‑ it's just part of racing.テつ You're going to have things that happen like that, and there's nothing you can do about it.
But one thing about today's win that's really very special, Jamie McMurray is the only driver in the world that won the 24 Hours at Daytona, the Daytona 500 and the Brickyard 400.テつ That's something that no one can ever take away from him, the only guy ever to have done that.テつ That made me pretty happy when I saw the 02 win.

Q.テつ Mike, for this race, 24‑hour race, you run in daytime, you run in the darkness with cooler temperatures.テつ Actually are you working out two kinds of strategies for this race, one for daytime, one for the nighttime, or is it more or less‑‑
MIKE HULL:テつ Well, I think if your cars work well, the strategy falls right in front of you.テつ But we sat down as a group of people and we discussed strategy, and what we actually decided to do, and if you've followed along and followed your program, to see what we were doing at Chip Ganassi Racing at this particular event, we double stinted or two‑and‑a‑half stinted the drivers in the 01 car and we triple and quadruple stinted the drivers in the‑‑ we short stinted the guys in the 01 and long stinted the guys in the 02 car.テつ We did that for a reason, for exactly what you're talking about, because we thought there very well could be strategies at the eight‑hour mark, the 10‑hour mark, the 12‑hour mark and so on.テつ For us it worked out great today for the 02 car because really the way that you win this race is all about the match‑up.テつ It's how your drivers match up to their drivers, and you follow along very carefully what the other teams are doing and who they're putting on the racetrack and who your people are going to match up against, and then what we do because we have flexibility with length of tenure in the car with stints, we might change our people around, and we did on both sides of the fence for us in the 24‑hour race, because we were watching how our people matched up against their people.
Kyle raced against both of Wayne's sons, and the integrity that they raced with on the racetrack with Kyle is the same integrity that Wayne shows all of you off the racetrack, and Kyle made mention of that after he got out of the car.テつ I think it was like 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning, whatever it was, when we were talking about it, and he said, what a great experience that was to race against those two‑‑ he realized afterwards they were brothers, those two guys.テつ But that's what we do.テつ We try to do match for match or we try to overmatch against a match, whatever it might be.
NATE SIEBENS:テつ Thanks to everybody.テつ Congratulations, gentlemen.

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