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Montoya's jump from 'star car' lands him on winning team at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH — Humbled a year ago when its two cars failed to make the podium, Chip Ganassi Racing returned to the Rolex 24 at Daytona determined to pick up another victory watch.

An eyebrow-raising lineup change that involved Juan Montoya led to victory Sunday, the team's fifth in 10 appearances in the prestigious sports car race.

Scott Pruett tied Hurley Haywood's record for 24-hour wins at Daytona International Speedway with his fifth in the Grand-Am opener.

"Having gotten to know Hurley real well over the years by racing with him and just as a friend, and to have him there at the end was pretty special," Pruett said.

The winning team was three-time defending Grand-Am champion drivers Pruett and Memo Rojas, along with Montoya and IndyCar driver Charlie Kimball.

The No. 10 Corvette team of Max Angelelli, defending IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay and Jordan Taylor finished second, 22 seconds back in a race sometimes settled by several laps.

There were a record 77 lead changes, with the final two coming in the last 10 minutes. Montoya stopped for a splash of fuel, handing the top spot to Angelelli. But he stopped for fuel minutes later, settling the race in favor of Ganassi's No. 01 BMW Riley.

"It was a lot of pressure; I thought we have a decent lead, we're just going to go out there and ride for 21/2 hours," Montoya said, adding that a couple of cautions made things interesting.

For this race Montoya was moved from the No. 02 Ganassi "star car" featuring fellow Indianapolis 500 champions Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon and former Daytona 500 winner Jamie McMurray. The No. 02, with Joey Hand as the fourth member, fell out with a mechanical failure with four hours left.

St. Petersburg resident and IndyCar driver Sebastien Bourdais and his team were sixth; Tampa's Anthony Massari was 47th. In the GT class, Charles Espenlaub of Lutz was 24th and Patrick Long of Belleair 25th.

An Audi R8 driven by Filipe Albuquerque, Oliver Jarvis, Edoardo Mortara and Dion von Moltke won in GT.

Montoya's jump from 'star car' lands him on winning team at Daytona 01/27/13 [Last modified: Sunday, January 27, 2013 7:50pm]
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