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Pruett Holds Off Angelelli in New Jersey

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, July 24 2011

Scott Pruett posted another victory on Sunday. (Photo courtesy of the Grand-Am Rolex Series)

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Scott Pruett and his Chip Ganassi Racing team opted for track position over fresh tires late in Sunday’s GRAND-AM Sports Car Racing Series race in New Jersey and the move paid off with a victory.

On his older tires, Pruett , who was co-driving with Memo Rojas, was able to hold off the SunTrust Racing’s Max Angelelli and win by several seconds.

Finishing third was Alex Gurney, who was at the wheel of  the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings team.

Pruett and Rojas took their fifth triumph of the season in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley, taking another step toward a second consecutive Daytona Prototype championship in front of the largest crowd for a GRAND-AM event in the four years the series raced at the circuit.

Angelelli passed Gurney in the closing laps to take second in the No. 10 SunTrustChevrolet/Dallara started from the pole by Ricky Taylor.

Gurney held on to finish third in the No. 99GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley co-driven by Jon Fogarty.

In a change from the TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates strategy for the sprint races onthe Rolex Series schedule, Pruett both started and finished the event, with Rojas driving the middle hour.

Pruett rebounded from a drive-through penalty early in the race when he spun out Taylor while battling forthe lead. Taylor led the opening 36 circuits before the contact. Pruett took the lead for the first time with less than one hour remaining when Angelelli pitted on lap 99.

He led the final 19 circuits to score his 36th DP victory, sharing 23 of them with Rojas.

In the production-based GT class, Mazda scored a podium sweep led by Sylvain Tremblay andJonathan Bomarito in the No. 70 Mazdaspeed/Castrol Edge Mazda RX-8.

Unlike last year – when SpeedSource cars took the top three positions – three different teams finished on the GT podium as the marquee took its first victory of the season.

Bomarito took the checkered flag .685 seconds ahead of John Edwards, who won the pole in the No.42 TheRaceSite.com Mazda RX-8 he shared with Wayne Nonnamaker. James Gue and Dane Cameron took third in the No. 41 Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8.

Jordan Taylor and Bill Lester finished fourth in the No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro,narrowing the gap in the point standings to one point behind Brumos Racing teammates Andrew Davisand Leh Keen with three races remaining.

The championship-leading No. 59 Porsche GT3 was never afactor, going several laps down in the early going with a thrown alternator belt.

(This story will be updated shortly)

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Sunday, July 24 2011
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