Chris Prey wins Pontiac ride at Laguna Seca

Setup II Winner To Race Banner Pontiac At Laguna Seca Chris Prey to team with Leighton Reese in Banner Racing GXP.R Detroit, Mich., May 6, 2008 -- Banner Racing will field Setup II winner Chris Prey in round five of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car...

Setup II Winner To Race Banner Pontiac At Laguna Seca
Chris Prey to team with Leighton Reese in Banner Racing GXP.R

Detroit, Mich., May 6, 2008 -- Banner Racing will field Setup II winner Chris Prey in round five of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 to be run at Laguna Seca Raceway May 17. Prey was the winner of the $100,000 grand prize and has been awarded an even bigger prize by Pontiac, GM Racing and Banner Racing, the opportunity to make his pro racing debut behind the wheel of the No. 06 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R.

Prey (pronounced pry) showed his stuff taking on the 23 other contestants on Setup II in front of the SPEED Channel TV audience. Behind the wheel of his No. 55 Pontiac Solstice GXP Prey won three of the eight races and together with crewman Dale Prey (Dad) took home the check for $100k and the opportunity test a Pontiac race car.

"I am very humbled that Leighton has the confidence in me to run the race with no testing," Prey said. "I am looking forward to showing what I can do behind the wheel of the GXP.R. I have raced at Laguna in the Skip Barber National Championship series three years ago. I finished in the top 10."

"When Kelly (Collins, Banner driver) and I were on the set of Setup, there were four really good drivers," Reese said. "Skill and luck came together and Prey won. There were a number of restarts and he got to the front. He also did it clean with no damage on his car. I didn't have a co-driver for Laguna so the opportunity arose to get him in the car. It will be an awesome conclusion for the show. All eyes will be on this guy at Laguna. He will have to get used the car, we are going to throw him to the wolves. He will have good coaching and great equipment, we will see what he can do."

The potent Pontiac GXP.R has posted wins this season with Stevenson Motorsports winning the last two events at Mexico City and Virginia International Raceway and with the No. 07 Banner Racing team at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Prey is looking forward to turning some laps in the race winning Pontiac racer.

"I am really looking forward to driving the Banner Pontiac. I absorbed a lot when Ron Fellows drove the car in Mexico City. It was his first time in the car. I listened to his feedback and the way he communicated what the car was doing to the crew and the engineers. I have been really trying to study what the car was doing and the communication between drivers and crew. I am ready to get in and feel the car myself, work with Leighton to get the car setup as best we can for the race. The GXP.R should really shine at this type of track. It is a great opportunity to show my stuff in great equipment."

Prey enjoyed the overall Setup experience, although he had the added drama of switching cars from the No. 20 Reliable Transport Solstice to the No. 55 Royale Purple half-way through the show.

"I watched the shows from last year. Like everyone else I thought I could do better. I filled out the application and forgot about it. Seven months later they called me and I went to California with my Dad. There were a few different twists and things. Making it to the end was the most important element. I had the quickest car every time out. I had the speed card that I could play. The producer had me starting at the back of the field most of the time. For the most part I looked forward to coming through the pack. I was building my race craft in those situations. A lot of drama with other drivers and the producer and other things that went on I never let it upset the way I was approaching the racing. I had a win taken away. It just motivated me even more."

Although Setup II was the catalyst getting Prey to Laguna Seca, the 27 year old Oshkosh, Wisconsin resident put his racing shoe in the Banner door three months ago. On the set of the show, Prey met Banner Racing team owner and driver Leighton Reese. Prey happened to mention that when not behind the wheel of a race car he was driving an 18-wheeler. It just so happened that Reese needed a second driver to help get the Banner rig from Minnesota to Mexico City and then to Virginia. At the last two races Prey has been a valuable member of the Banner Racing crew.

"I started with the Banner guys in Miami for the second race. I was helping with driver changes and working with the 06 car on the mechanical stuff. Doing the little jobs that a new guy on the crew usually does, helping where needed. I was learning as much as I could and was a part of the team when the 07 car won at Homestead. It has been great working with everyone, the crew, Pratt and Miller, and the engineers."

Before Setup II, Prey had laid down impressive results on race tracks across America. He began his competitive racing career in 2002 in the Skip Barber Midwest Regional series where he had several podium finishes. Continuing to climb the Barber ladder, 2004 had him posting one win, six podium finishes and 11 top fives. That year he was third in the season ending results. Prey went on to have a successful test in an Indy Pro Series car, completing his licensing requirements, with Sam Schmidt Motorsports at Kentucky Speedway in 2004. In 2005 Jensen Motorsports signed him to run in the Toyota Atlantic Series Road America event. He qualified eighth and an eventual mechanical DNF ended his day early. In 2006 seeking the need for more seat time Prey purchased a 125cc shifter kart and built SCCA National Spec Mazda Miata where he continues to hone his driving skills and race craft.

The racing reality television show Setup II is produced by Scott Gillen and comprised a competition between 24 aspiring racing drivers in Pratt & Miller Engineering prepared Pontiac Solstice GXP racers. Each driver brought a crew member and had to pay their own expenses for four weeks while shooting. The eight episode show played out in front of the SPEED Channel viewers on Thursday evenings. The Solstice racers were maintained in the Goodwrench Tech Center on the grounds of shows venue, the versatile Streets of Willow Springs in Rosamond, California.

-credit: gm racing

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ron Fellows , Leighton Reese , Sam Schmidt , Skip Barber