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."
Tickets for the 56th Rolex 24 At DAYTONA on Jan. 27-28 can be purchased online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP. Fans can stay connected with Daytona International Speedway on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and Snapchat, and by downloading Daytona International Speedway’s mobile app, for the latest Speedway news throughout the season.
About Daytona International Speedway
Daytona International Speedway is the world’s only motorsports stadium and was awarded the SportsBusiness Journal’s prestigious Sports Business Award for Sports Facility of the Year in 2016. Daytona International Speedway is the home of "The Great American Race" – the DAYTONA 500. Though the season-opening Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event garners most of the attention – as well as the largest audience in motorsports – the approximately 500-acre motorsports complex, also known as the "World Center of Racing," boasts the most diverse schedule of racing on the globe. In addition to at least nine major event weekends, the Speedway grounds are also used extensively for events that include concerts, civic and social gatherings, car shows, photo shoots, production vehicle testing and police motorcycle training.
Rolex, the Swiss watch brand headquartered in Geneva, enjoys an unrivalled reputation for quality and expertise the world over. Its Oyster and Cellini watches, all certified as Superlative Chronometers for their precision, performance and reliability, are symbols of excellence, elegance and prestige. Founded by Hans Wilsdorf in 1905, the brand pioneered the development of the wristwatch and is at the origin of numerous major watchmaking innovations, such as the Oyster, the first waterproof wristwatch, launched in 1926, and the Perpetual rotor self-winding mechanism invented in 1931. Rolex has registered over 400 patents in the course of its history. A truly integrated and independent manufacturing company, Rolex designs, develops and produces in-house all the essential components of its watches, from the casting of the gold alloys to the machining, crafting, assembly and finishing of the movement, case, dial and bracelet. Rolex is also actively involved in supporting the arts, sports, exploration, the spirit of enterprise, and the environment through a broad palette of sponsoring activities, as well as philanthropic programs.