Chip Ganassi Racing's CompUSA to Make Strong Play in Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend FONTANA, Calif. (October 22, 2004) --- With just a week to go before the Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend gets underway at California Speedway on...
Chip Ganassi Racing's CompUSA to Make Strong Play in Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend
FONTANA, Calif. (October 22, 2004) --- With just a week to go before the Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend gets underway at California Speedway on October 29-31, CompUSA is primed and ready to make strong waves in the season finale.
Leading the way, heading into the last of a 12-event season, is the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Riley Lexus driven by Max Papis and Scott Pruett. The co-drivers have collectively grabbed three wins, seven podium finishes and 10 pole positions this season.
Papis and Pruett have enjoyed success at California Speedway in previous years during open-wheel events on the 2-mile, D-shaped oval. Papis, in six Champ Car events (1997-2002), has finished second twice and has an average finishing position of 9.67. Pruett, in three Champ Car events (1997-1999) and one NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series start (2000), has grabbed back-to-back pole positions (1998 & 1999), has an average starting position of third and best finishing position of seventh during the inaugural Champ Car event.
In a recent interview, Pruett said that he only knows where the track is, and that's about it when it comes to being familiar with California Speedway and carrying any information from previous starts to the season finale. "I'm looking forward to going back," he said. "It's a great track, it's a great facility. I tested an IndyCar there on the road course, so at least I have a pretty good idea where it goes."
Earlier in the season Ghip Ganassi Racing tested on the 2.88-mile, 21-turn auto competition course the Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend will compete on.
"We went in the beginning of the season testing at California Speedway," said Papis, who over a three-year Champ Car stretch (1999-2001) led 192 laps, the most of which came in 1999 when he led 112 laps. "That was one of the first tests we actually did. And, again, I have great memories - I had great success over there. We had [a] great head-to-head with Scott in '99, when Scott was on the pole and I started on the outside of the first row.
"So it is a great facility," he said. "We have one thing in mind - bringing the [engine manufacturer] championship to Lexus, bringing the team championship to Chip [Ganassi]. It's going to be very exciting. I am really focusing on giving my best to the team on the track and off the track. We are ready for it."
When it comes to the actual season finale, Pruett reiterates, "I think it's going to be a great show. It's always great for the series when you can go to the last race to determine the championship, whether it's a manufacturer [championship] or whether it's the drivers."
Also competing for the team is the No. 02 CompUSA Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Riley Lexus driven by Jimmy Morales and Luis Diaz. This duo sits sixth and 10th in the points, respectively, despite Diaz missing the season-opener at Daytona. Together they have notched nine top-10 finishes, including two podium finishes with their teammates, in 2004.
To finish off a very successful rookie season in the Daytona Prototype class, the CompUSA team will field a third car, the No. 8 CompUSA Riley Lexus, driven by 2003 IndyCar Series Champion Scott Dixon and Target teammate Darren Manning.
"I'm actually really pleased about seeing the third car out there," Papis said. "Our goal is winning the championship. That's why Chip Ganassi committed, and CompUSA and Lexus committed, to put the third car out there, because we're going to take no prisoners. We're going to be out there fighting to win the championship, winning the race.
"We're going to be out here with the will to win the championship, and we are going to play the championship within our value of racing that we have," he said. "It's going to be a hard race. It's going to be a tight race. But, we have our values in racing."
Make sure you are here to see if GCR CompUSA will finish out front and clinch the Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype crown. Tickets are $30 for Sunday, $20 for Saturday and $10 for Friday. A three-day pass is also available for $45. Children 12 and under are free.
For ticket and event information, call 800-944-RACE  or log onto www.californiaspeedway.com.