Chip Ganassi says Jamie McMurray's Daytona 500 win is his "new favorite" as a team owner. He has won the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 24 Hours several times as a team owner, but NASCAR's crown jewel had eluded him until Sunday.
Ganassi claims McMurray's win in the 52nd Daytona 500 is the one he now praises more than his other major victories. It allows him to equal Roger Penske, who has also claimed victories in the three greatest races held in the United States.
"I can certainly tell you this one is my new favorite," said Ganassi. "I don't know how you rank them. Someday I'll look back on it and say that was all great. You get into this sport because you love it, and I still love it.
"I plan on loving it for a while, so I don't want to stop. I don't want to start thinking about it – you're not going to see any books out of me or anything. I don't like to look at those kind of things. That's for the media to talk about and whatever."
Ganassi believes it is now key for his team to keep winning and prove that McMurray's victory was no fluke.
"I think it's just important we stay winning and we keep trying to get better week in and week out, in whatever series we're in," Ganassi added. "That's why we're there, to get better, raise the bar, do the right thing for our partners and our sponsors. I just love being in this sport."
Ganassi says when McMurray left the team in 2005 he did so on good terms when he got a better contract with Roush Fenway, just as Juan Pablo Montoya left him in 2000 to pursue his Formula 1 career. He says he is glad that he has been able to bring both back and achieve more success together.
"When [Jamie] left us, it certainly wasn't anything that was acrimonious," said Ganassi. "Believe me, I would have been perfectly happy keeping all these guys I bring back and seem to have some success with. I would have been perfectly happy keeping them in the first place.
"We've tried to put our money into the cars and into the engines. I don't have a lot – I don't have the biggest jet over at the airport and the flashiest trucks. We're in the business of racing. I don't want to take anything away from anybody else, but we have to spend our money more wisely. These guys who have driven with me over the years have had opportunities to go get a great contract after they've driven with me.
"I feel fortunate that they come back and have some success, because that's important. That's important to a career. I feel honored that they want to come back and that we have the type of team they want to come back to."
McMurray's teammate Juan Pablo Montoya finished 10th, which means Earnhardt Ganassi Racing heads to round two in California with both cars in the top 10 of the standings.