Pruett, Rojas Set Record At The Glen
By Jonathan Ingram | Senior Writer
Scott Pruett took the lead on an exchange of pit stops and held on with his Riley-BMW to beat the Dallara-Ford of Max Angelelli by 0.272 seconds on the short course at Watkins Glen International. Alex Gurney was third in the Daytona Prototype class of the Grand-Am’s Rolex Series in the two-hour timed race.
Pruett and co-driver Memo Rojas clinched a record seventh victory this year for their Chip Ganassi Racing team, despite a 75-pound penalty introduced at mid-season by Grand-Am officials for irregularities in the team’s BMW engines. That ties the record of Gurney and co-driver Jon Fogarty, who set the mark in 2007 with the Gainsco/Bob Stallings team.
Sun Trust Racing’s Ricky Taylor, who qualified third, took the lead from pole winner Rojas in traffic prior to the first round of pit stops. But when Pruett replaced Rojas one lap after the Sun Trust team pitted for the exchange to Angelelli, the Mexican driver had given the Telmex-sponsored Ganassi team enough of a gap on hot tires to retain the lead.
“When I came out of the pits I had three GT cars in front of me,” said Angelelli, who was just one corner behind Pruett as the Ganassi driver exited the pits. “Scott was just about one second ahead of me on (cold) tires.” Pruett eventually escaped to a three-second margin in a stint that included side-to-side contact with the Speed Source Mazda GT entry of Jeff Segal in the uphill esses at 160 mph.
Angelelli had two more shots at Pruett due to the race’s only two full-course cautions in the final half-hour. But each time, Pruett escaped. Caught in an incident with the lapped Riley-Porsche of David Donohue, Burt Frisselle was knocked out of third place on the first re-start in the AIM Autosport team’s Riley-Ford.
That incident, which collected the lapped Lola-Ford of Tracy Krohn, resulted in the second caution.
In the GT class, the final re-start gave Leh Keen one last shot at the leading Speed Source Mazda of Jonathan Bomarito. When the latter went wide at the exit of Turn 1 with two laps remaining, Keen took the Dempsey Racing Mazda past to claim the team’s first victory.
“He went a little bit wide and I got under him,” said Keen. “Going into Turn 2 side-by-side is always going to be pretty close. He was on the outside and he had to give it to me.”
Paul Edwards passed Segal on the final lap to gain third place in the Banner Racing Corvette co-driven by Scott Russell.No Comment