Birmingham: Lexus race report

PRUETT/ROJAS PUT LEXUS ON PODIUM IN ALABAMA BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 19, 2009) -- Despite numerous attempts to pass for the lead over the last 20 laps on the tight Barber Motorsports Park track, Scott Pruett couldn't find enough room to get past...

PRUETT/ROJAS PUT LEXUS ON PODIUM IN ALABAMA

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 19, 2009) -- Despite numerous attempts to pass for the lead over the last 20 laps on the tight Barber Motorsports Park track, Scott Pruett couldn't find enough room to get past and fell just short on the way to a second-place finish on the Alabama road course Sunday.

Starting from the outside of the front row, Memo Rojas held the second position until Lap 21 when he moved into the race lead. He maintained the top spot for three laps before pitting and handing the car over to Pruett. A faulty air jack cost the team approximately 15 seconds on the pit stop and dropped Pruett outside of the top five and charging through the field for the remainder of the event. He eventually moved back into second with approximately an hour and 10 minutes remaining and never fell below the runner-up position throughout the remainder of the two-hour and 45-minute event.

With approximately 20 laps remaining, Pruett found himself with two lapped cars between himself and the leader on a re-start and quickly moved past and onto the bumper of the leading #99 car. From there, the lead duo was never separated by more than a handful of car lengths apart as Pruett eventually finished just .759 seconds behind.

The second-place finish today marks the fifth time this season the #01 Lexus has finished either first or second with two victories and three runner-up showings. The team now shares the top spot in the point standings with the #99 Gainsco car with just four races remaining. The Rolex Sports Car Series resumes on Friday, August 7 with the Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen International.

Notes:

- Today's second-place finish marks the 45th podium finish for Scott Pruett -- a Rolex Series record.

- In finishing second today, Pruett and Rojas, as well as the Chip Ganassi Racing team, are now tied for the series point lead with 231 points, with just four races remaining.

- By leading three laps today, the #01 Lexus has now led each of the eight races this season -- the only car in the series to lead every race. The Ganassi team has led more laps than any other team in the series with 384 -- 114 more than second. Individually, Scott Pruett leads the series with 191 laps, followed by Memo Rojas in second with 140.

- With the second today, the Lexus/Ganassi combination has registered three podium finishes, including a victory last season) and five top-five finishes in six races at Barber Motorsports Park.

- The #01 Lexus has now won two races and finished second or better in five races this season. Overall, the team has totaled seven top-10 finishes in eight 2009 races.

Memo Rojas, #01 Telmex Lexus: "The tire wear was actually better than we expected. Early on, the car was a little bit inconsistent. On the first lap, I just tucked underneath the #99 and decided to follow-him through the first turn. The #10 car banged us a little going into one, but I knew you couldn't pass on the outside there, so I just held the position and was able to get back the spot going into Turn 2. From there on, we just tried to stay on the rear bumper of the #99 car. We had a few problems with the air jack on our pit stops and that really hurt."

Scott Pruett, #01 Telmex Lexus: "It was nice to get a break in the weather here and it was a great day to race and a great day for the fans. I was going for the win there at the end, but just couldn't find a way to get by. Unfortunately, we lost a lot of time in the pits with some problems on the air jack. We had three great race cars that were virtually identical at the finish. It was another great race for Grand-Am. The race for the championship is definitely on. "

-credit: lexus

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Memo Rojas
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing