Daytona II: Lexus race report

LEXUS POWERS PRUETT TO THRILLING DAYTONA WIN JDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 3, 2008) -- With a strong run off the final corner, Scott Pruett utilized his Lexus power to push past Alex Gurney down the straightaway on the final lap to register the ...

LEXUS POWERS PRUETT TO THRILLING DAYTONA WIN

JDAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 3, 2008) -- With a strong run off the final corner, Scott Pruett utilized his Lexus power to push past Alex Gurney down the straightaway on the final lap to register the closest victory in Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, winning by just .081 seconds in tonight's Brumos 250 at the Daytona International Speedway. The win is the fifth in eight races for the #01 Ganassi/Lexus team and gives both the drivers and the team a 40-point championship lead with just six races remaining. In addition, Lexus now holds a six-point lead in the manufacturer's championship.

Pruett and Gurney traded the lead three times in the last 20 laps of the event before Pruett made his final pass within sight of the finish line. Pruett originally took the lead on Lap 50 in a maneuver that would prove to be similar to his race-winning move. Gurney then re-took the lead on Lap 58 and held the top spot until the last lap. A pair of full-course cautions almost prevented the dramatic finish, but the track officials were able to clean up the debris from a late-race incident involving the #3 Southard Motorsports Lexus and a lapped GT car. The end result was a one-lap shoot-out with Pruett coming out victorious.

The late contact soured an otherwise strong performance by the Southard team, which led their first lap of the 2008 campaign and ran in the top-10 for much of the event. The #3 car was running eighth and on-pace for a season-best finish before the incident, which occurred as the GT car moved up into the faster Daytona Prototype as driver Bill Lester was passing on the outside.

The Rolex Sports Car Series returns Sunday, July 20 at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama with coverage live on SPEED.

Quotes:

Memo Rojas, #01 Telmex Lexus: "That was an awesome pass by Scott -- the best I've ever seen. Once our tires started to heat up, we'd lose grip, so I think it helped to cool the tires some at the finish. It was a great finish as far as the points. We've been consistently strong all year and that's what we need to keep us in the lead."

Scott Pruett, #01 Telmex Lexus: "Wow! That was an awesome finish. They had more downforce and were quicker in the infield, but we were definitely quicker on the straights. Lexus did a great job giving us the power. We knew if we could be close enough coming onto the straightaway that we'd have a good shot to win it. I have to applaud Grand-Am for getting everything cleaned up so quickly after a bad accident to give the fans a great finish."

Shane Lewis, #3 Southard Motorsports Lexus: "It was really good to lead a lap tonight. The team really needed it. We probably could have led another five to 10 laps, but our strategy was to come in and pit early. The car was much better at night than it was during the day. Hopefully, we can continue to build on an overall strong run tonight."

-credit: lexus/toyota motorsports

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Shane Lewis , Alex Gurney , Scott Pruett , Memo Rojas , Bill Lester