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Pruett Runs Away With Rolex And Into Record Book

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, January 27 2013

Chip Ganassi Racing's No. 01 BMW Riley won this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona. The victory was historic for co-driver Scott Pruett.

Last Thursday, driver Scott Pruett quickly and emphatically waived off a couple of questions about tying the legendary Hurley Haywood as the all-time prototype winner at this year’s Rolex 24. If the racing gods meant it to be, he said, then it would be.

On Sunday, it be.

Pruett co-drove his Chip Ganassi Racing BMW-powered Riley to Victory Lane at Daytona International Speedway for a fifth time on Sunday. That pulled him even with Haywood, who retired from Grand-Am Series racing after last year’s 24 and who was the grand marshal of this year’s race.

Pruett, who had to be helped out of the car and turn his seat over to teammate Juan Pablo Montoya with just under two hours to go because of a pre-existing injured ankle, won his fifth Rolex at age 52.

“It’s just an incredible day all the way around,” Pruett said. “Winning with these guys and winning with Chip and then at the end of it, I’ve gotten to know Hurley real well over the years by racing with him and as a friend. Having him there at the end is pretty special.”

“I can’t say enough about Hurley Haywood being there in Victory Lane,” said Chip Ganassi. “We were at the  Rolex dinner the other night, and when you look at Hurley’s career and the cars he’s driven and the co-drivers he’s been with, to have a name like Scott Pruett up there tying his record is quite a feat.”

While the victory for the 01 Pruett – and co-drivers Memo Rojas, Montoya, Charlie Kimball and Scott Dixon – was not dominant in terms margin of victory (21 seconds), it sure was in number of laps led. The No. 01 Ganassi BMW Riley easily won the pole for the 51st running of America’s most important endurance race. And once the race started, it was consistently the fastest car on the track.

The only other car that looked to be anywhere near as fast was the No. 02 BMW Riley of CGR. Only a couple of misadventures kept that car and its all-star driving cast of Dixon (who was entered as a driver for both CGR cars), Dario Franchitti, Joey Hand and Jamie McMurray from a likely podium finish.

Finishing behind the 01 BMW Riley was the No. 10 Corvette of Wayne Taylor Racing. That car was driven by Max Angelelli at the end and co-driven by Jordan Taylor and defending IndyCar champion Ryan Hunter-Reay.

The final hour of the 2013 24 was not without drama.

The race restarted from a caution with 1:12 to go. In the lead was AJ Allmendinger, who took the seat from Marcos Ambrose in the No 60.

The 01 car, with Montoya driving, restarted next to him in second place.

Montoya immediately began pecking away at Allmendinger, pulling along side several times.

With 1:05 left, Montoya made the pass for the lead.

Once in the lead, Montoya used the BMW’s power and straight-line power to inch away.

But with 1:02 left, a full-course debris caution was signalled. The leaders all pitted for fuel. Coming out first was Angelelli while Montoya was second. But on the restart, Montoya fell to fourth behind Joao Barbosa in the Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley and Allmendinger.

Allmendinger, however quickly left the track and Barbosa was penalized for contract during that sequence. With Barbosa out of the way, Montoya moved in on Angelelli. With just over 40 minutes to go, Montoya made the pass for the lead.

From there, Montoya and the 01 quickly pulled away.

The tension in the final 15 minutes of the race was heightened by the fact that front-runners in the DP and GT classes were in danger of having to pit one more time for fuel.

With seven minutes to go, Montoya pitted for a splash of fuel. Inheriting the lead was Angelelli – briefly.

With just under five minutes to go, Angelelli pitted for a splash.

That gave the lead – and the victory – to the No. 01 car.

“We were hoping with a strategy to make it to the end and beat them in the fuel, with the fuel,” Angelelli said. “So we didn’t change tires at the kind of I had many, many laps on my tires, and we were hoping just to make it like that with the strategy and get the win.

“But Montoya and the 01 car is another league, is an A class. We are B class. Anyway, we are very happy, our Velocity Worldwide car Corvette performed very well.”

GT: Audi swept the top two spots in the GT class with the No. 24 Audi Sport Customer Racing/Alex Job Racing team (Filipe Albuquergue, Oliver Jarvis, Edoardo Mortara, Dion von Moltke) taking home the class victory by 1.476 seconds over the No. 52 Audi Sport Customer Racing/APR Motorsport Ltd.UK.

Albuquergue, competing in his first race at Daytona, was struggling to get the No. 24 car to the finish line as the car was having gear box problems.

“I started to have gear problems,” Albuquergue said. “I had to use the clutch, upshifting, downshifting, but I was just getting slow and took some risks.”

Another notable from the GT class: The eighth-place finish (16th overall) by AF-Waltrip Ferrari 458, which was co-driven by NASCAR drivers Michael Waltrip and Clint Bowyer as well as Rob Kauffman and Rui Aguas.

GX: In the inaugural race for the newly formed GX class, three GX cars battled a few laps apart, but as the clock ticked down to zero, the No. 16 Napleton Racing Porsche Cayman (Jim Norman, Shane Lewis, David Donohue and Nelson Canache) took top honors.

Said Donohue: “For us, it was a race of preparation, and our guys did a superior job when this program was conceived in early November of building a car and making it reliable and keeping the stock parts where they needed to be and the proof is in the pudding.”

Bullet Racing in the No. 22 Porsche Cayman GX.R took second, while the No. 38 Ormond Beach-based BGB Motorsports Porsche Cayman GX.R team finished third.

The Stats

DP 1st: Memo Rojas/Scott Pruett/Juan Pablo Montoya/Charlie Kimball, No.01 TELMEX BMW/Riley

DP 2nd: Max Angelelli/Jordan Taylor/Ryan Hunter-Reay, Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP

DP 3rd: John Pew/Ozz Negri/AJ Allmendinger/Justin Wilson/Marcos Ambrose, No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford/Riley

GT 1st: Filipe Albuquerque/Dion von Moltke/Oliver Jarvis/Edoardo Mortaro, No. 24 Alex Job Racing/Audi Customer Racing WeatherTech Audi R8

GT 2nd: Frank Stippler/Rene Rast/Marc Basseng/Ian Baas No. 52 Audi Sport Customer Racing/APR Motorsport Audi R8

GT 3rd: Emil Assentato/Nick Longhi/Anthony Lazzaro/Mark Wilkins, No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia

GX 1st: Shane Lewis/David Donohue/Jim Norman/Nelson Canache, No. 16 Napleton Racing/Calcium Pro/Visit Venezuela/Home Wrecking Racing Porsche Cayman

GX 2nd: Darryl O’Young/Dan Rogers/James Clay/Seth Thomas/Karl Thomson, Bullet Racing Porsche Cayman

GX 3rd: Lee Davis/Ryan Eversley/Jeff Mosing/Eric Foss/John Tecce, No. 38 BGB Motorsports/Luna-C Clothing/Mosing Motor Cars Porsche Cayman

Margin of Victory: 21.922 seconds (DP); 1.476 seconds (GT); 10 laps (GX)

Average Speed: 105.122 mph (DP); 100.518 mph (GT); 94.068 mph (GX)

Cautions: 16 for 121 laps

Noteworthy

Ø In addition to his five overall victories in the Rolex 24, Pruett has 10 class triumphs in the event (Haywood has six). Pruett won for Jack Roush in 1987 and 1988, Tom Walkinshaw in 1992 and 1993, and Paul Gentilozzi in 2002. In addition to winning for Chip Ganassi in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012, he won overall for Clayton Cunningham in a GTS class Nissan in 1994.

Ø The defending GT-winning No. 44 Magnus Racing Flex-Box Porsche GT3 led a GT-leading 250 laps, including 125 laps by Andy Lally.

Ø Nick Tandy won the GT pole in the No. 32 Konrad Motorsports/Orbit Porsche GT3, but cut a tire in the opening 15 minutes – causing suspension problems that led to that car’s early retirement.

Ø The race ran under caution for one hour, 45 minutes, 13 seconds beginning at 6:55 a.m. due to heavy fog. Two years ago, there was a two-hour, 47-minute caution for fog.

Ø Mazda debuted the Mazda 6 powered by the production-based SKYACTIV-D Clean Diesel engines. This marked the first appearance of a diesel engine in the 51-year history of the Rolex 24. All three cars experienced problems and retired in the early hours. The No. 70 SpeedSource and No. 25 Freedom Autosport/SpeedSource cars both lost a cylinder, while the No. 00 Visit Florida Racing/SpeedSource entry had a rear main seal failure. Neither problem had been encountered in dynamometer testing.

Ø The No. 93 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 of Gunter Schaldach, Michael Marsal, Maxime Martin and Andy Priaulx failed to start when Priaulx lost the brakes and crashed during final practice. Martin was shifted to the team’s No. 94 BMW for the event. Also entered but withdrawn were spare cars for AF-Waltrip and Audi Sport Customer Racing. Sean Edwards qualified second in GT in the No. 30 MOMO/NGT Motorsport Porsche GT3, but the car failed post-qualifying inspection and was moved to the back of the grid.

The Numbers:

Ø 6 – GT cars finishing on the lead lap

Ø 77 – DP lead changes by 24 drivers in 12 cars

Ø 39 – Record Daytona Prototype victories for Scott Pruett (Memo Rojas second with 26)

Ø 121 – Laps under caution (16 caution periods)

Ø 205 – Race leading laps led by Scott Pruett

Ø 250 – GT leading laps led by the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche

Ø 421 – Laps led by the winning No. 01 car

Ø 2,524 – Miles completed by winning team

Ø 126.669 – Speed in mph of fastest race lap for Scott Dixon on lap 293

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Sunday, January 27 2013
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