Montoya chimed in to defend himself.
“When I came to Chip and I was talking to some guy who was racing with us in the early years, he said, `You don’t come here to make friends. You’re here to get the job done. If you want friends, bring your friends.’ And I do,” Montoya said.
Patience could be as important as ever in the in endurance event.
The race could have 45 cars in the Grand Touring class, possibly putting as many as 59 cars on the 3.56-mile road course and setting the stage for tight racing and hairy situations.
“Dealing with the traffic is going to be the single biggest factor in this year’s race,” Franchitti said.
Ricky Taylor, who is teaming with IndyCar regular Ryan Briscoe and former Grand-Am champion Max Angelelli, offered details about what to expect from the slower GT cars that sometimes have inexperienced drivers.
“That’s the big variable,” Taylor said. “If it was one driver in each car, you would know what to expect when you get behind each guy. But you don’t know who’s in the car, whether it’s a good driver, a bad driver, what line they’re going to take, where they’re going to brake, if they even see you in their mirrors. That’s the real challenge. You have to make high-percentage passes. You have to real conservative I guess.”
Ganassi’s group certainly has the most experience, with seven of eight drivers having won at least one 24-hour race at Daytona. They have a combined 12 victories in the endurance event. With a win, Pruett can tie Hurley Haywood’s record of five victories at Daytona.
“You can’t fault them anywhere,” Taylor said. “That’s the problem. They’ve got the good drivers, great team, great engineers, well-prepared equipment. You really have a near-perfect race to beat them. That’s our goal _ to have a perfect race.”
Ganassi’s guys have the same goal, especially after last year’s troubles.
Although Pruett and Rojas are beginning their quest for a third consecutive series championship, the drivers in the No. 02 entry haven’t forgotten the empty feeling they felt a year ago and want nothing more than to turn the tables on their teammates.
“No lying here, last year was good, but we felt like we should have won that race,” Montoya said. “I think we’re all here for a little bit of vengeance, to get that trophy.”
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