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TUDOR UNITED SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP: ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA


January 25, 2015


Scott Dixon

Tony Kanaan

Kyle Larson

Jamie McMurray


DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA

NATE SIEBENS:¬† We're joined now by our overall winners, co‑drivers of the No.02 Target Ford EcoBoost Riley DP.¬† This is their sixth Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.¬† Twelve attempts for a 50 percent winning percentage.¬† As we said earlier the team now holds the record for most Rolex 24 at Daytona overall wins with six.¬† This is the second win for the No.02 car.
With this win Jamie McMurray joins AJ Foyt and Mario Andretti to win both the Daytona 500 and the Rolex 24 at Daytona.¬† This marks the second Rolex 24 at Daytona win for Scott Dixon, who also won in 2006, and the first Rolex 24 win for Tony Kanaan.¬† It is also the first win here for Kyle Larson, coming in just his second start in the race, and the 166th victory for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams and engine manufacturer Ford is ranked sixth on the all‑time manufacturers victory list for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship with 169 wins.
All that said, Kyle, let's start with you.  You're a winner at Daytona.  What does that mean to you?
KYLE LARSON:  Yeah, Daytona hasn't ever been too nice to me, so to get a win in such a big race, it feels great.
I never thought I would have the chance to race this race growing up.  Everything I did was on oval tracks, and my goal was to make it to NASCAR.  I never thought about racing a sports car.  Being teamed up with Chip, you have all these different avenues you can hopefully get the opportunity to run, and thanks to him for picking me to get on this 02 "Star Car" I think Jenna was calling it.
Yeah, it feels great.¬† 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.¬† We all had tons of confidence in Scott, and he pulled it out for us.¬† It was a really, really good day for us.
NATE SIEBENS:  Let's move over to Tony.  Obviously you've won the Indy 500, obviously now you've won this race, which is obviously a pretty select group.  Can you just talk about maybe how special it is to win a marquee event like this?
TONY KANAAN:¬† I mean, as a driver, you always wanted to be in on the big races, right, and the Indy 500, the Daytona 500, the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, which we did win, as well.¬† For me it was always something that I wanted to do, and for some reason, I've never had the opportunity until I really‑‑ I've done it once with Rubens in the GT class, but overall, to win overall, I had to be in a good team.¬† Two years ago when I signed with Chip, I knew‑‑ that was the first question I asked him, do I get to do the 24 Hours, and watching Dixon, Dario, Montoya, those guys, all these years winning this race, especially getting a watch, people say, you're already wearing it.¬† This one I bought a few years ago.¬† It's been a great journey.
This team, we have a lot of fun.  We support each other.  We felt a lot of pressure to win, but we knew we could do it.  It means a lot, and it's one more to the résumé for sure.
NATE SIEBENS:  Let's bounce over to Jamie.  As we said, two other guys that have done what you did here today before.  What does that do for you?
JAMIE McMURRAY:  It's pretty unbelievable.  You know, getting to come down and have the opportunity to run this race for Chip and Felix and knowing that you have a chance to win it every year that you're down here, you know, it makes you want to come do it, and to get to be in that group with Mario and AJ is quite a feeling.
I saw Chip walk in here just a second ago, and I told him after the race was over, I'm like, we have got to share some of the most special memories of my life together, some of the greatest days, with the exception of getting married and having kids, I've shared with Chip Ganassi and Felix.¬† It's been great.¬† Victory Lane at Daytona has been very special for us with the Daytona 500, and this is a big deal for me because these cars are so much different than what Kyle and I typically drive.¬† I think it's easier for the IndyCar guys to come over just with everything that's going on inside of the car with the electronics, and when I listen to these two guys talk about the way the car feels or what they need or when they talk about the traction control, everything that goes along with it, they relate to it so much better I feel like than what Kyle and I do.¬† It's really special.¬† I'm glad I got to be on this group when Mike Hull sent me the email asking me if I would be a part of the 24‑hour race, my reply was that I would really like to be back on the 02 car.
I was on the 01 last year, and I had a good time, but it's a different vibe when you're on the car that's not racing for the points, and it's just for the win.  The memories that I have with this group of guys and with Dario and Juan Montoya, they're just memories that I'll never forget, so it's pretty special.
NATE SIEBENS:¬† Let's move over to Scott.¬† Obviously you brought the 02 car home here this afternoon.¬† What are your‑‑ what was your mindset in that very last run to the checkered flag?¬† Obviously a lot of stuff going on that last hour.¬† You had to turn in a really fast in lap prior to your last pit stop, and then you had to overcome that late restart.¬† If you could just talk us through both of those events and what you had to do to make it happen.
SCOTT DIXON:¬† Yeah, you know, I think for all of us, it's such a team event.¬† It's obviously 24 hours.¬† We have a mix of team personnel from the different teams that Chip has and Felix, and then the driver combination, too.¬† I think getting to the point, you just want to do the best you can for everybody in the team.¬† In the IndyCar side or whether it's the NASCAR side, it might be sort of your call at the end, and you're going to race for the win, but for us it's for all of us up here.¬† We've had a lot of fun the last two years‑‑ for me I think my first Rolex was 2004, so I've had a lot of fun coming here.¬† I've only had the chance to win it once before now, and that was with Casey Mears and Dan Wheldon back in 2006.
The last two days were a lot of fun.¬† The car was very consistent, and I think we had good speed, but everybody pulled their weight.¬† 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.
I can't emphasize how big of a team effort it is.  It's not one person that ever wins this race.  It's everybody involved, and this weekend everybody on the 02 team did their best job, and that was obviously enough to get the victory.

Q.  Scott, you carry a pretty heavy load with this race team.  The other three were kind of just glad to be watching you and glad it wasn't them at the end there those final three plus hours.  Is it as easy for you as you make it look?
SCOTT DIXON:¬† I don't think‑‑ it's not easy whatsoever.¬† You know, I feel the load just as much as any of these guys.¬† We want to do the best that we can.¬† We want to make sure that we look after the car.¬† We want to make sure that we're fast.¬† Everybody feels the load and maybe even more so for Kyle and Jamie because it's so far different from what they're used to, whether it's hitting the pit speed limit or electronics.¬† It's so different to what they're used to that they probably feel a lot more pressure than we do.¬† We all have our own racing styles and different series and things like that, but pressure is what you make of it, and as long as you get out of the car and you know you've done the best that you could, you should be happy with that, and I think for all of us here this weekend, the best that we did was good enough to get the victory.
But no, if I get picked to do one stint or another stint, it doesn't bother me, I just want to get out there and do the best job I can.

Q.  Tony, you've competed against Scott for a long time and with him.  We've heard Kyle and Jamie talk about how they view him from afar.  What kind of competitor do you see him as?
TONY KANAAN:¬† I mean, I got beaten by Scott for a long time.¬† I think he's a very, very smart and complete race car driver.¬† I mean, still, after all these years, now that I have a chance to be his teammate, I'm still learning.¬† We'll both wake up in the morning thinking, oh, man, I've got to beat him, he's got to beat me.¬† I've always had good relationships with my teammates, but with him, I think his strength, I would say he can adapt to anything.¬† It's unbelievable how he can make‑‑ I cannot even say what I want to say, but a bad car still be fast, and I think that's something that I try to learn with him every time I watch him, and it's just by watching him.
I think he's been on this team for a long time because he deserves, and as long as I can do‑‑ anything I can do to help him, since 1990, like people said on TV‑‑ I think his strength is that.¬† It doesn't matter, and that's how you see when you put him in the car towards the end.¬† We knew he was going to get the job done.¬† Hopefully I'll learn some of those skills and add to mine and try to give him a run for his money this year in the IndyCar championship.

Q.  Kyle, you touched on this before, but can you elaborate on why you were hating life so much when you were asked to come back here and drive this year?
KYLE LARSON:  Yeah.  I felt and knew I did a really bad job last year.  Well, I thought I did a really bad job.
SCOTT DIXON:  Kyle ended up with the fastest race lap last year.
KYLE LARSON:  Last year was really bad.  And I know they're going to ask me to run this race all year long.  I know it.  And all year I was trying to figure out an excuse to not run this race.  It's pretty amazing that I felt pressured into running this race and now I'm a winner of this event.
I think just having that year's worth of experience, though, last year, I was way more comfortable with everything, familiar with the cockpits now, and the controls and all that, and understand how the tires need to get up to temperature to have grip and all that.  I learned a lot last year by struggling that helped me out for this year, and I said earlier today, I can't wait for next year, and hopefully Chip will invite me to run again.

Q.  When you get in the car for the last stint, how much of the strategy are you aware of that's going to bring you to the end of the race in one piece and to win?
SCOTT DIXON:¬† Yeah, you're a little‑‑ obviously I had just woken up, and then you're trying to figure out, obviously work the race backwards to try and work out how many stops.¬† I think the first question in the first five laps of being out there was how many stops have we got, can we save any fuel for a few laps here and there to eliminate any stops.¬† The team is constantly working on it, and for us at one point there, we knew we were already ahead of the 10 as far as laps.¬† I think we were going about three, four laps longer on the constant roll of sequences there. ¬†Even if it came to a splash we knew we'd spend less time in the pits.¬† You're always trying to work that and see if tires are going to come into that situation, as well.
The last two stints there was definitely a lot of chatter on trying to figure out obviously the best combination.  But we didn't really double stint the tires during the night or anything like that, too, so it was a bit of an unknown for us with the last set of tires and running two stints on them.

Q.  Scott, you shared the front row with the new Ligier of Shank Racing.  I understand the chassis was recently delivered to the team, to Michael Shank.  What do you think when the chassis is sorted out, could it be a big rival to DP cars?
SCOTT DIXON:¬† Yeah, absolutely.¬† I think we saw its potential already in qualifying.¬† It's such a‑‑ I don't race in the formula very often, but it's all controlled by balance of performance, right, so obviously everybody at IMSA do the best job that they can to try and equalize these things.¬† That's a new car, it's just made, it's got a lot of technology, and we were racing a car that's 10 years old and has 10 years of updates on it.¬† They're two very different cars, and whichever way it's going to go in the future, who knows, but obviously that's a current car.
I think obviously some of the‑‑ like Sebring or some of the other tracks with a lot more corners, it's probably going to be very fast.¬† I'm not sure any of us are going to have to deal with that.¬† So that's fine.

Q.  Tony, you've won the Indianapolis 500.  This is your first 24 Hours of Daytona victory.  What's the next step?  What's the next goal in your book right now?
TONY KANAAN:¬† Well, we have a championship and another Indy 500 to win this year.¬† Is Chip still here?¬† No, he's gone.¬† He was going to remind us of that.¬† I think the goal is to keep it‑‑ keep winning.¬† That's what we're here for, and we're in a great organization that we have‑‑ we've been given cars every weekend that we're able to win, so the goal is just to win more races, more championships, and more Indy 500s, and then hopefully one day if Chip decides to go to LeMans, that will be probably one of the races I would like to do and maybe win it, as well.

Q.  Jamie, along similar lines, and I really hope this doesn't come out the wrong way, but you have proven that you're a fantastic driver, you've won the Daytona 500, you're a regular frontrunner there, won the Coke 600, Brickyard 400, and of course Daytona, the 24 Hours of Daytona.  What is it about all these big races that you seem to be so dominant at?  Do you take additional preparations towards them or is it just really good coincidence?
JAMIE McMURRAY:  Yeah, they pay the most.  (Laughter.)
I'm serious.  (Laughter.)
Scott told me to say that.
I wish I could tell you.¬† I wish I could answer that and give you‑‑ I don't know.¬† I've just been really fortunate to be with good teams and been able to put the races together at the right time.¬† I mean, this is really unique.¬† All the other ones you named, it's kind of with your team and you're setting the car up and being a part of all that.¬† This is so unique, and I think that's probably what makes this really special is it's the only race that I've ever got to run where you‑‑ Kyle is my teammate every single weekend, but I still want to beat him and he still wants to beat me.¬† This is the one race that I get to run where when you get out of the car you know everyone is being 100 percent honest with you about what the car is doing, what they're feeling, so that's part of what makes this, I think, so special.

Q.¬† I know in the past the non‑sports car guys‑‑ maybe one question is how does it feel to win the biggest sports car race in America, and none of you are, quote‑unquote, full‑time sports car guys.¬† But the second team, being with Chip, they all say we do it because he asks you to do it.¬† Is this something you do as a favor to him, Chip says do this, you do this as kind of a payback or as a favor to him?
JAMIE McMURRAY:¬† Well, I know why we do it.¬† We do it because we love to race and because it's the off‑season, and this is‑‑ I won't speak for these other guys, but I look forward to this every single year, and I can't wait to get the email that says we want you to be a part of our team this year and we're going to run two cars.¬† I'm here because I love racing and because this is one of the biggest races in America and you want to win it.¬† That's it.¬† That's the only reason.
TONY KANAAN:  I think he's doing us a favor.  He's giving us a car to win a race that has a big name.  I think we're very fortunate, to be honest.  To come to a racetrack and race, it's one thing, let alone when you come in with a winning team, with a winning car, to do what you love.  I need to thank him.  He's actually doing us a favor; it's the other way around.
NATE SIEBENS:  Gentlemen, congratulations.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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