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Pruett Says His Career Will End After The ’18 Rolex

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, January 5 2018

Five-time Rolex 24 winner Scott Pruett will call it a career after this year’s race.

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

For Scott Pruett, a sixth Rolex 24 victory would be great but a seventh is not in the cards as the veteran American sports car driving ace announced Friday that he will retire following this year’s endurance classic at Daytona International Speedway.

Pruett, who is 58 years old, announced that he will slide out of the cockpit for the final time following this year’s Rolex – a race in which he will drive a Lexus RC F GT3 car.

The announcement came on media day for this weekend’s Roar Before the 24 practice for the Rolex, which will be held on Jan. 27-28.

“As an athlete,” the California native said during a press conference, “if you’re fortunate enough to have a long and successful career, and lucky enough to come to the end on your terms, then you’re truly blessed, and I am. You’ve been asking me this question for a long time. I’ve kept you in the dark. And today, after 50 years of racing, I’d like to answer that question. The 2018 Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona will be my last race.

“So as you know, and because most of you guys have been on this journey with me, experienced a lot of excitement along the way, it’s a magical place. I love it. What better way to say goodbye to a sport I love than at this revered place surrounded by my respected peers and diehard fans. Here we go. I’m so excited about the next chapter of my life and so excited about getting on with the Rolex 24 here in a few weeks.”

Pruett will step away from racing with a record 60 wins in American sports car competition, including a record-tying five overall victories in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. He is a five-time Rolex Grand-Am Champion (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012) and two-time IMSA champion (1986 and 1988).

He is a class winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Pruett also drove in other series. He raced professionally in Indy Car (formerly CART) for 10 seasons from 1988 to 1999 where he earned two wins, five poles, 15 podium positions and was the 1989 Indianapolis 500 co-rookie of the year. In three seasons competing SCCA Trans Am series he amassed 24 wins en route to three championships (1987, 1994 and 2003). While racing part-time in NASCAR from 2000 to 2008, he earned three poles as well as a second and third place finish in the Cup Series. Pruett also raced in IROC competition for eight seasons, earning two victories.

But perhaps Pruett’s defining moments came in the infield road course at DIS. During his presser he spoke at length about America’s biggest endurance race.

“I have so many great memories here” he said. “I think my very first race here ’85, a lot of things have changed since then. The accommodations have changed. I was sleeping in the back of a van. I was driving an RX-7. The muffler fell off about halfway through. I think I’ve lost a majority of my hearing because of that race. The thing I can say is the excitement that I got coming in that day is no different than the excitement I got coming in here this weekend. This is such a great place, it’s such a great track. I have so many great memories here. Not to say that I haven’t had great memories everywhere.

“I’ve been so blessed with all the racing that I’ve done, to be able to do the Indy 500, the Brickyard, the Daytona 500, the Rolex 24. Been able to win this five times overall. I think maybe 10 times in class. I think that overall I can just go back memory after memory after memory here. I mean, coming off my bad accident, coming here, pipping Bill Elliott for the win in the IROC race. That was huge after shattering my ankles, knees, breaking my back. My very first victory with Bruce Jenner, the runner, with Lyn St. James, Juan Pablo, what we did with Ganassi, it was just an incredible streak. I have just so many incredible, wonderful memories here, it just seemed appropriate that this was the time and place.”

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, January 5 2018
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