Alex Gurney passed Scott Pruett with two minutes remaining in Sunday's Rolex Sports Car Series race at New Jersey Motorsports Park to hand Gainsco Bob Stallings Racing its first win of 2010 and break Ganassi Racing's three-race winning streak.
After leading 55 of 114 laps on a sweltering day that saw ambient temperatures reach the mid 90s, Pruett appeared to be headed for a fourth consecutive win. However, he was hit by Oswaldo Negri's Ford Riley while negotiating GT traffic near the end of the race. The incident bent one of the front tire rims on Pruett's BMW Riley and left him with a slow tire leak. He had to slow down to make sure the car would make it to the finish without blowing a tire and this allowed Gurney to slip by for the win. Pruett ended up finishing 3.674 seconds behind Gurney.
"The Ganassi team always seems to do everything right, so it's really tough to beat those guys," said Gurney. "The last 10 laps I liked it because was Scott was getting into GT traffic. So I thought with some luck I would have a shot at him. He had really good pace the whole time. I thought he had an edge on us. So it was lucky for us . . . that he had a flat (tire). We will take it. We've thrown away a few. So it feels really good to finally put one on the board in 2010."
In addition to being the team's first win of the season, the victory also prevented Pruett and his teammate Memo Rojas from tying the record for most Daytona Prototype wins in a single season, which, coincidentally, is held by the Gainsco team.
"I don't know if Oz was hot or just not paying attention," explained Pruett. "But he was down quite a ways. We came up the inside of him and he got into the side of us. We were able to hold on for second but a disappointing day without question."
Pruett and Rojas have a 19-point lead over Dalziel in the Daytona Prototype drivers' championship with three races remaining.
Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor ended up third in the SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara. The AIM Autosport Ford Riley and the Starworks Motorsport BMW Riley rounded out the top-five in the Daytona Prototype class.
"It's about time," said Angelelli, referring to his first podium finish since Watkins Glen in June. "Finally we are back. And we like to finish the championship on a high note with some more wins."
SpeedSource Mazda RX-8's swept the top-three spots in the GT class, with Jonathan Bomarito and Sylvain Tremblay finished .170 seconds ahead of John Edwards and Adam Christodoulou to take the win. Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato finished third. "We weren't the fastest car out there," said Bomarito. "We just had a really good car in the race, managed our tires and had good pit strategy."
Christodoulou ran into Scott Russell's Banner Racing Corvette for the third time this year and Russell confronted the Englishman in the pits near the end of the race. "He came up to me afterward and spoke his mind," explained Christodoulou after the race. "I think we need to sort it out. No one wants to cause any damage or break anything. As long as the next three races are clear, everything should be okay."
The next Rolex Series race is Saturday evening, August 7 at Watkins Glen.