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Pruett/Rojas Looking For First GRAND-AM Win Of Season

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, May 11 2012

The DP championship team of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas is 0 for 3 in 2012 heading to Jersey this weekend. (Photos courtesy of the Rolex GRAND-AM Sports Car Series)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

The Telmex Chip Ganassi Racing GRAND-AM team arrived in New Jersey for this weekend’s Global Barter 250 event in an unfamiliar situation – winless.

True, there have only been three events held to this point in the 2012 season. But still, this is Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas and reigning champion CGR in its BMW Riley we’re talking about.

The team suffered a mechanical issue in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona and finished sixth. It rebounded by finishing third at Barber Motorsports Park and then second at Homestead-Miami, an event which was held in tropical downpour conditions.

“It’s an interesting season,” Pruett said during a teleconference this week. “Most certainly coming off our last race in Homestead-Miami, you know, I need to applaud GRAND-AM for what they did with the conditions. We had a terrific car. I think it would have been a great fight if we would have gone green.

“Unfortunately, with the conditions as they were, it was very, very difficult. I know it was a tough call. At the end of the day, especially with a fairly quick turnaround for everybody to get to New Jersey, I think it was the right call.

“Fortunately for us it all played out so far so good. We would like to be in the winner’s circle. Hopefully that could potentially happen this weekend.”

New Jersey Motorsports Park is certainly a place where the Ganassi team could get that first victory of 2012; its the defending champion there.

And, it’s not like the team has been horrible through three races as it is leading the point standings. They hold a two-point lead in the DP standings over Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley driver pairings Ryan Dalziel/Enzo Potolicchio and Alex Popow/Lucas Luhr.

It’s just that starting the season 0 for 3 is very un-Ganassi like.

Also arriving in New Jersey as points leader is the GT team of drivers Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato. They

The Ferrari 458 Italia of Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato arrives in Jersey in first place.

are coming off a victory.

Their AIM Autosport Team FXDD, which is new to the series, got a historic first victory for the new Ferrari 458 Italia built especially for the Rolex Series in Miami.

“It’s been really great,” Segal said of the team’s debut season in GRAND-AM. “The whole experience since we got started with this new Ferrari has been really just incredibly gratifying to be a part of. We started from scratch in the beginning of November. Just to see everything come together as quickly as it has and as well as it has in such a short time span has just been incredible.

“Winning at Homestead was absolutely phenomenal. It was really important for our team, really important to prove that we’re capable of running at the front in such a difficult class, and also really important as a way of showing our thanks for the support that we’ve received from Ferrari.”

Segal and Assentato scored their best New Jersey finish during their 2010 GT championship season when they finished third in a SpeedSource Mazda RX-8.

Next up for the GRAND-AM Series is Detroit.

Notable:

– Dr. Jim Lowe, a neurosurgeon with offices in nearby Linwood, New Jersey, will co-drive with open-wheel star Paul Tracy in the Global Barter 250 presented by Susan G. Komen in the No. 77 Combos Ford/Dallara Daytona Prototype fielded by Doran Racing.

Lowe and Tracy co-drove the car in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, finishing seventh. The pair also plan to co- drive in the Sahlen’s Six Hours of Watkins Glen on July 1 and the inaugural Super Weekend at the Brickyard on July 27 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

– David Donohue has plenty of momentum on his side when he returns to New Jersey Motorsports Park in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP. The native of Newark, N.J. driver joined Darren Law in finishing third in the recent Grand Prix of Miami, and are looking to bring the new Corvette DP its third consecutive victory in the Global Barter 250.

Richard Westbrook and Antonio Garcia gave the Corvette DP its first victory for Spirit of Daytona at Barber Motorsports Park in March, while Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli won the recent race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, driving for SunTrust Racing.

The son of Mark Donohue – racing legend and 1969 Indianapolis 500 winner – Donohue moved up to sixth in the DP championship standings with his strong showing in the rain-soaked race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

– New Jersey Motorsports Park has been very good to Sylain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito, drivers of the SpeedSource No. 70 Mazdaspeed/Modspace/Castrol Mazda RX-8. The pair won at the 2.25-mile Thunderbolt Raceway circuit in both 2010 and 2011.

Tremblay and Bomarito combined to win the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park and enter the Global Barter 250 sixth in the GT standings, 11 points behind the leaders.

– Limitless Racing, based in Dover, New Jersey, will make its GRAND-AM debut in the Global Barter 250, fielding the No. 08 Audi R8.

Elivan Goulart, the 2011 SCCA Spec Miami National Champion, will co-drive with team owner Dr. Jason Lee. The team has tested at NJMP and competed in a recent club race at the circuit in anticipation of its Rolex Series debut. The team also plans to compete at Indianapolis Motor Speetway, Watkins Glen International and Lime Rock Park in 2012.

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, May 11 2012
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