Pruett, Rojas Back To Winning Ways
The defending series championship team of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas got its first victory of the season Saturday when it won the the Rolex 250 Driven by VISITFLORIDA.com GRAND-AM race at Road America in Elkhardt Lake, Wis.
In getting the victory, Pruett and Rojas ended their nine-race losing streak and a five-race victory streak by Corvette DP teams.
“Even thought we haven’t been to Victory Lane, it hasn’t taken the fight out of us,” said Pruett, whose No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley hadn’t won since New Jersey Motorsports Park in 2011. “We’ve worked real hard: The dyno guys, BMW, TELMEX, everybody has been doing whatever they can to get the last drop of performance out of that car.”
That hard work paid off when it counted.
A late caution-lap crash by race leader Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 SunTrust Corvette DP opened the door for Pruett’s first 2012 triumph.
Taylor’s trouble came as he exited Turn 5 with a little less than 15 minutes left. Taylor hit the wall, while warming his tires for a restart, leaving the No. 10 machine with a broken right-rear suspension and forcing him to give up the lead.
Pruett took full advantage and “drove like it was qualifying” when the race resumed, claiming his 38th Rolex Series win, his 37th in the DP class. Pruett and Rojas extended their lead in the Daytona Prototype driver standings to five, 205-200, over co-drivers Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio.
“He just went down into Turn 5 and all of the sudden he was accelerating up the hill, the car spun from out underneath him and he hit the fence on the inside,” said Pruett, who alongside Rojas, won for the second straight year at Road America. “It happened very fast, so it looked like something potentially broke on the rear.”
Ford/Rileys filled out the remainder of the DP podium, with Potolicchio and Dalziel finishing second in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport entry. John Pew and Ozz Negri Jr. finished third in the No. 60 LiveOn machine.
GT belonged to a familiar Ferrari. Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato drove the No. 69 FXDD Ferrari 458 to its third GT win of 2012 and grew their lead in the GT driver standings to 21 points, 220-199, over Robin Liddell, who finished sixth.
“We weren’t the fastest car on track,” said Assentato, who started the winning Ferrari from the pole after Friday’s qualifying session was rained out. “There were a lot of faster laps out there by other guys, but still it’s a great car with a great team, and Jeff did a great job bringing it to the finish.”
The No. 94 Turner Motorsport BWM M3 of Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana finished second in GT, followed by the No. 70 Mazdaspeed/Mazda/ModSpace/Castrol Mazda RX-8 of Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito.
Next up for the GRAND-AM Rolex Series is the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen next Sunday, July 1, at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, N.Y. It will be the second round of the 2012 North American Endurance Championship presented by VISITFLORIDA.com.
DP 1st: Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett, No. 01 BMW/Riley
DP 2nd: Enzo Potolicchio and Ryan Dalziel, No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley
DP 3rd: John Pew and Ozz Negri, No. 60 LiveOn.com Ford/Riley
GT 1st: Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato, No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am
GT 2nd: Paul Dalla Lana and Bill Auberlen, No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW M3
GT 3rd: Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito, No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8
Margin of Victory: 3.794 seconds (DP); 2.541 seconds (GT)
Average Speed: 99.146 mph
Cautions: Two for 10 laps
The Points (Unofficial)
DP: Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas, 205; Enzo Potolicchio/Ryan Dalziel, 200; David Donohue, 196; Ozz Negri/John Pew, 191; Darren Law, 191.
GT: Jeff Segal/Emil Assentato, 220; Robin Liddell, 199; Sylvain Tremblay/Jonathan Bomarito, 193; Paul Dalla Lana, 189; Andy Lally/John Potter, 185.No Comment