Disappointing Finish To Promising Day For Lexus at Miami 250 HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 19, 2004) - After leading much of the day, hopes for a Lexus victory in today's Grand-American Rolex Series Miami 250 were dashed when Scott Pruett's CompUSA...
Disappointing Finish To Promising Day For Lexus at Miami 250
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 19, 2004) - After leading much of the day, hopes for a Lexus victory in today's Grand-American Rolex Series Miami 250 were dashed when Scott Pruett's CompUSA Lexus apparently hit a patch of oil heading into Turn One, spun and went skidding off the track while battling for the lead with just 12 laps remaining. The race was eventually won by former Toyota Sebring 12 Hours winner Andy Wallace and teammate Milka Duno.
Pruett's bad luck cleared the way for his Ganassi Racing CompUSA teammates Luis Diaz and Jimmy Morales to finish as the top-placing Lexus entry in fourth place, just one spot ahead of the Michael Shank Racing duo of Oswaldo Negri and Burt Frisselle. Didier Theys and Kelly Collins were seventh in the Doran-Lista Racing Lexus. Despite falling two laps down, Pruett recovered to finish 10th as every Lexus-powered entry finished the day in the top 10.
The late-race misfortune has shrunk Pruett and co-driver Max Papis' championship points lead to just eight with three races remaining. The incident was a serious blow to Lexus' championship fortunes as well. The manufacturer entered today's race in the championship lead and could have maintained the points lead with a second today. Unfortunately, the fourth-place finish drops Lexus five points off the pace in second.
The day started off on a high note with Papis immediately moving into the lead after starting from the pole position. Despite sweltering 95 degree heat, the Italian stretched out as much as 15.5-second lead in the early going. The only time his #01 Lexus would relinquish the top spot was under yellow caution-flag pit stops through the first half of the race.
In addition to Papis and Pruett's run at the front, the Ganassi team car of Morales and Diaz also took a turn leading the pack late in the event on their way to their fourth top-four finish in the last seven races. The pair might have logged the drive of the day after falling a lap down early after being tagged from behind and subsequently pitting for repairs.
The fifth-place showing by Negri and Frisselle marks their second consecutive top-five finish and keeps Michael Shank Racing firmly in fourth-place in the team championship. Today's result is the team's eighth top-eight finish in nine races this season.
The VIR 400 presented by SunTrust, round 10 of the 12-race championship, is scheduled for October 3 at Virginia International Raceway. The race will be shown live on SPEED beginning at noon eastern.