Grand-Am series Homestead race report

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Event: Homestead

Rolex Series Cooldown Lap: Grand Prix of Miami March 5, 2011

The Story
Scott Pruett passed Max Angelelli in Turn 8 in the closing minutes and led the final seven laps to give the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley started by Memo Rojas its fifth consecutive GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series victory. Pruett and Rojas won the final three races in 2010 - when they scored a record nine victories and their second Daytona Prototype championship - and opened 2011 by winning the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

#01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley: Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas
#01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley: Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas

Luis Betancourt

Darren Law passed Angelelli with three minutes remaining and went on to finish second in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Porsche/Riley started by David Donohue. It was their second-consecutive second-place finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Angelelli held on for third in the No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet/Dallara started by Ricky Taylor, after the team led a race-high 47 laps. Ryan Dalziel led 12 laps in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley but hit debris and lost the radiator while leading on lap 73, causing the car's retirement.

Paul Dalla Lana kept the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 in contention throughout his stint and Bill Auberlen took over to lead 80 of the final 82 laps to score the GT victory. It was Dalla Lana's first career Rolex Series triumph but the 21st for Auberlen. Defending GT champions Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato finished second in the No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8. Jan Magnussen won the pole position and led the opening 22 laps in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, but the car co-driven by Robin Liddell was eliminated with mechanical problems after contact with another car.

The Surprises
Mark Blundell and Michael Valiante, sixth after leading 13 laps in the team's second DP start

Alex Popow joined Enzo Potolicchio in finishing seventh in the No. 2 Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley and won the Jim Trueman Award as top Pro-Am driver in his second career start.

John Potter and Craig Stanton took the GT points lead as Magnus Racing scored its first Rolex Series podium, placing third in the No. 44 Magnus Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.

The Numbers:
3 - Third victory for Pruett and Rojas in the Grand Prix of Miami - they went on to capture the DP championship after winning in both 2008 and 2010. It was also the third class victory.

11 - Number of overall lead changes, with nine drivers and seven cars leading the DP race.

100 - 100th career Rolex Series start for Bill Auberlen, who won the Grand Prix of Miami for the third time. It was the first career victory for Paul Dalla Lana.

The Quotes:
"The teams got their money's worth out of their drivers today." ­- Scott Pruett

"It was a good result for us. We needed to recover from Daytona." ­- David Donohue

"Today was a knowledge-based win for Turner Motorsports. We were quick here last year but could not make the car last. We came back set up this unique oval, and had a compensated setup that could make the tires last for an entire stint. We didn't have the quickest car, but when everyone else fell off, we didn't - and that was the key for our success all day long." ­- Bill Auberlen

"Barbosa likes the car. He was second-fastest this morning running with a full fuel tank and used tires. When Joao likes a car, things happen." ­­- J.C. France

"We had it covered. Ryan (Dalziel) was pulling away, and we still had two sets of new tires." ­- Starworks Motorsport owner Peter Baron

"The biggest challenge was driving hard while still being easy on the tires." ­- Memo Rojas

The Next Race:
Next up for the Rolex Series will be the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., on April 9. Pruett and Rojas are the defending winners on the scenic 2.3-mile, 17-turn circuit. Ozz Negri and John Pew finished second last year in the No. 60 Crown Royal XR Ford/Riley, followed by Dalziel and Forest. Assentato and Segal scored their second consecutive GT victory in last year's event.

Full Results and current Championship Standings

-source: grand-am

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Series GRANDAM
Tags ganassi, miami, potter, pruett, rojas, stanton