Renowned champion car owner Chip Ganassi will serve as Grand Marshal for the 56th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona, giving the ‘Drivers, start your engines,’ command.
The twice-around-the-clock endurance race will take place on Daytona International Speedway’s 3.56-mile road course Jan. 27-28.
“This is a really big honor for me to be recognized by a race that has meant so much to me over my career, both as a driver and an owner,” said Ganassi.
“The Rolex 24 At Daytona is one of motorsport’s truly significant races. There are so many great cars, great drivers and manufacturers that all come together to make this a unique event.
“But it also requires so much work and coordination that when you ultimately make it to victory lane there is no greater satisfaction. I couldn’t be more proud to be named the Grand Marshal of this great race.”
Chip Ganassi Racing entered the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2004 and captured their first overall victory in the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA just two years later. That 2006 triumph was the first of seven victories in the series season-opener, with subsequent wins coming in 2007, ’08, ’11, ’13,’15 and ‘17.
Ganassi’s interests are not limited to sports cars as his teams also participate in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, Verizon IndyCar Series and FIA World Endurance Championship.
His teams have seen tremendous success in those series as well, claiming 11 IndyCar championships – including one with last year’s Rolex 24 Grand Marshal Dario Franchitti – and seven sports car championships.
The Pittsburgh native is also the only team owner to win the DAYTONA 500, Rolex 24 At DAYTONA, Indianapolis 500, Brickyard 400, and 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the first owner to win the DAYTONA 500 and Indianapolis 500 in the same year – 2010 with Jamie McMurray and Franchitti, respectively.
Ganassi first arrived at Daytona International Speedway in 1965 as a crewman. He made his debut at the 2.5-mile tri-oval as a NASCAR car owner in 2001.
Since then, Ganassi’s teams have exceled at the “World Center of Racing” in every form of motorsports they have participated in, garnering wins in stock cars, sports cars and rallycross events.
Daytona Beach was the setting for another career milestone when Ganassi was a member of the 2016 induction class for the Motorsports Hall of Fame of America which relocated that year from Novi, Michigan to the Speedway’s Ticket and Tours Building.
“We are honored to have Chip Ganassi serve as the Grand Marshal for the Rolex 24 At DAYTONA,” said Daytona International Speedway president Chip Wile.
“Ganassi’s success in motorsports as a whole is impressive and we are proud to have one of the most prestigious names in motorsports as the Grand Marshal for the most prestigious sports car race in North America.
“His accomplishments as a team owner are unmatched and we look forward to seeing what successes he adds in the future.”