Points leaders Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas roared to their second victory of the season in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, prevailing in Saturday's Montreal 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. The win marked the 150th victory in all forms of motorsports for Chip Ganassi Racing.
The Pruett-Rojas pairing started second in the featured Daytona Prototype class and led the final 37 laps in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley. Pruett drove the anchor leg, passing Ryan Dalziel's No. 8 Duncan Ford/Riley for the lead just past the halfway mark, then kept the lead after the final series of pit stops several minutes later.
Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, who won the pole in Friday's qualifying, took second in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP, 22.902 seconds behind at the end of the two-hour race. Gurney capitalized when Ozz Negri gave up second place for a final pit stop for fuel with four minutes left in the No. 60 Liveon.com/Curb Records Ford/Riley from Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian.
The No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of David Donohue and Paul Tracy finished third, rallying from a first-lap, first-turn spin that also involved the No. 9 Action Express Corvette DP of Darren Law and the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP of Michael Valiante.
Dalziel took a hit in the points when he spun in Turn 10, collecting Ricky Taylor in their spirited battle for third place with 27 minutes left. Dalziel was given a 15-second penalty for avoidable contact. His eighth-place finish dropped him to 18 points behind Pruett and Rojas.
Robin Liddell and John Edwards won a close-quarters battle in the GT class, scoring their second victory of the season in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro. Liddell – who won at Montreal for the fourth time – finished just .569 seconds ahead of the point-leading No. 69 FXDD AIM Autosport Team Ferrari of Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal.
Scott Pruett, No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley: “We had no idea we would dominate like this. The team got the car working really well and got the tires lasting longer than anyone. That’s what got us here. We haven’t had a car this good all season long, and it’s been a dogfight all season long. This victory is incredibly important for the championship. We felt Montreal would be the most difficult race of the final three of the season. We’ve been either hit or miss here. Today, we hit it. Between the NASCAR, IndyCar and our team, there’s been a lot of unspoken competition among the Ganassi teams to give Chip his 150th victory. It’s very special for us to pull out the 150th for the organization.”
Alex Tagliani, on his race in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley: “My job was to make sure to bring the car back in one piece for Ryan. Memo is a very aggressive driver, and he was showing it from the get-go. We had a good fight. I could have competed with them if I wanted to, but I didn’t want to risk getting any damage.”
Paul Tracy, No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP: “David’s got a lot of experience in these cars. Give him a sniff of the leaders and he’s like a shark, he’ll go for it. I heard a lot of stories about Mark Donohue when I was with Penske, and it’s a privilege to be with David Donohue. I can see the apple fell close to the tree. I’m really happy with the team, it has great chemistry and everybody gets along, like a bunch of brothers. This is what I came up here to do, to get a good result. The fans are always great here. They love racing, and a great crowd here for the GRAND-AM race leading into the Nationwide.”
Robin Liddell, No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro: “Mentally, it was quite tough. With the Ferrari challenging at the end, it was pretty nail-biting because he was running me down.”
Emil Assentato, No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia: “Watkins Glen was a wakeup call for us. We had to back it down a little. To still finish second was a fantastic result for us.”
Jon Fogarty, No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP, pole winner: “We’ve taken a little bit of a different approach to find the tire around here than a lot of the other competitors. We are slowest on the straights and faster everywhere else. This track poses a unique situation. The heavy braking areas can be aided by downforce, but the downforce detracts on the long straights. We emphasize the braking zone instead of the straights, and it seems to be working here – we’ve won here before doing that.”
Source: Grand-Am Road Racing