GRAND-AM, the sanctioning body that controls the Rolex Sports Car Series (Ever seen the 24 hour race at Daytona? That's them.) has placed a $25,000 bounty on the Ganassi Racing TELMEX BMW/Riley which has won six races in a row stretching back to the 2010 season. Tactics like "rewards" weight and engineering restrictions were apparently deemed too subtle for GRAND-AM Director of Competition Mark Raffauf. Drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas now face an entire field of Daytona Protoype Boba Fetts.
Again: the sanctioning body of a sport offered $25Gs to anyone who can beat one of its competitors. That's unheard of, and there's an official "wanted" poster below the jump.
Here's more on the Why of all this:
Pruett and Rojas, co-drivers of the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley, wrapped up the 2010 Daytona Prototype championship by winning at Watkins Glen International, Montreal's Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and Miller Motorsports Park - giving them nine victories in 12 events. To open the current season, the Ganassi Gang won the Rolex 24 At Daytona, then followed up with victories at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Barber Motorsports Park [in Alabama].
Can you imagine if IndyCar did this to Team Penske, or the NFL said "The first team to beat the Patriots gets a cash prize"?
How would you react to the overseers of your organization singling you out by painting a target on your back and stapling a cashier's check payable to anyone but you on the bull's eye?
Ganassi's teams, whatever the racing series, have money, dedicated ownership and high-level talent. It's likely Pruett and Rojas will be able to channel any resentment into pure, angry focus as they thrash their wailing V-8s around one of America's most challenging road racing courses. What about the teams struggling to field a car every race, though? I'd be willing to bet that 25 large would pay for a team's tires and fluids for the entire weekend. How about drivers not named Pruett or Rojas who stand a real chance of washing out of racing entirely if they don't put up some big results? Will they push too hard while trying to have their own Robert Ford moment?
The separation in auto racing between setting the fastest lap and hitting a tire wall is already thin as a hundred dollar bill. I have to think a few somebodies are going to lose control reaching for the green. The Ganassi team has to be hoping they're not in the way when that happens, and that has to weigh on a racer's mind.
As it says in the poster's faded sepia tones, the first race where the Ganassi Gang will be on the run from the GRAND-AM Pinkertons is this Saturday at V.I.R.