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Chip Ganassi's Ford team takes 12 Hours of Sebring

SEBRING — Marino Franchitti, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas teamed to give Chip Ganassi Racing its first victory in Saturday's 12 Hours of Sebring, the oldest endurance sportscar race in the country.

Franchitti made a pit stop in the No. 01 Ford/Riley DP just before a caution and took the lead under a full-course caution when others pitted with 34 minutes left.

It was Ford's first overall win at Sebring since 1969, and it came after a troubling season debut at Daytona. Ford cars lagged behind in speed and only the two Ganassi entries could compete with the Chevrolets. But both were felled by mechanical problems as Ford was shut out of the season opener.

Chip Ganassi Racing became the first organization to win the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 24 Hours at Daytona, the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500.

Franchitti, the younger brother of three-time Indianapolis 500 champion Dario, Rojas and Pruett all won at Sebring for the first time.

Pruett has been part of a record-tying five victories at Daytona, four of them with Ganassi and three with Rojas as part of the team.

Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel and David Brabham finished second by 4.682 seconds in a Honda ARX-03b Prototype for Extreme Speed Motorsports and St. Petersburg resident Sebastien Bourdais was third along with Joao Barbosa and Christian Fittipaldi in a Corvette DP for Action Express Racing.

James Gue, Jon Bennett and Colin Braun won the Prototype Challenge class in a Chevrolet, completing 288 laps. Patrick Long, Michael Christensen and Jorg Bergmeister took the GT Le Mans class in a Porsche 911; John Potter, Andy Lally and Marco Seefried claimed GT Daytona, also in a Porsche 911. Charles Espenlaub of Lutz was part of a team finishing 28th, sixth in GT Daytona, in an Audi R8.

The top nine cars all finished 291 laps around the 3.74-mile track.

Chip Ganassi's Ford team takes 12 Hours of Sebring 03/16/14 [Last modified: Sunday, March 16, 2014 12:00am]

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