PRUETT/DIAZ PUT LEXUS ON THE PODIUM IN MIAMI HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 25, 2006) -- Luis Diaz and Scott Pruett combined to bring the ...
PRUETT/DIAZ PUT LEXUS ON THE PODIUM IN MIAMI
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 25, 2006) -- Luis Diaz and Scott Pruett combined to bring the #01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley home in third-place in Saturday's Grand Prix of Miami to give Lexus its fifth podium finish in the first three races of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
It was a hard-fought third for the duo as the CompUSA car was the only car on the track capable of competing with a contingent of Porsche-powered cars at the front of the pack. After starting fourth, Diaz quickly moved the car into third-place and then stayed there until he handed the car off to the veteran Pruett. The 2004 Daytona Prototype champion's hard-driving combined with some outstanding race strategy and pit work finally put the team into the lead on Lap 71 where he stayed until Lap 89 when he was caught and passed in traffic by eventual race-winner Patrick Long. Pruett then maintained the second position until he was bumped out of the way on the last lap by the #39 Porsche to finish an eventual third for the team's second consecutive podium finish after winning the last event at Mexico City.
It was a much more difficult day for the Michael Shank Racing team, though, as each of the team's two entries was involved in a pair of incidents that eventually left the #6 Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing Lexus of Mike Borkowski and Kenny Wilden in 18th, while teammates Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri placed 22nd in the #60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley.
By leading 18 laps tonight, the #01 Ganassi Racing entry becomes the only car to lead a lap in every race this year, while Pruett is the only driver to have led in each of the season's first three contests.
The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series returns to action at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach on April 9.
SCOTT PRUETT, #01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley: "I definitely had a little help on that last lap, but it was good hard racing and I was doing all I could do to hang the CompUSA car out on the edge. But overall, I thought it was a competitive race, and a good show. We managed to get another podium and that's what we need to do to keep moving up in the point standings. That's all that counts. I can say that the Ganassi team used all of its resources to get that result tonight, the guys really worked hard on fuel mileage and getting us to the end. I'm confident that Grand American will make the right call on the Porsches. Nobody wants to see runaway races."
LUIS DIAZ, #01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley: "Scott did a fantastic job tonight and proved once again why he is the class of the Daytona Prototype field. He drove the car to the limit, and then past the limit. The guy is amazing sometimes. He deserves this result for the great effort he put forth tonight. It was a tough race, and a very competitive race for us. Scott did everything in his power to keep us in it in the end."
MARK PATTERSON, #60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley: "I just overreacted and should have realized that they might be braking a lot earlier than I was going into one. It caught me off guard and I hate it because I feel like I let the team down but, lesson learned, and we'll go for it again in Long Beach."
OSWALDO NEGRI, #60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley: "I didn't have any choice there. We were really flying, and I was just trying to make up some ground, but those guys took each other out, and I was right there with no way to avoid it but go into the grass. It's disappointing for sure because we could have made it back into the fight. Just tough luck all around. We had the car and were fast all weekend, but we just need to make it stick."
MICHAEL SHANK, team owner: "Our performance today was nowhere near indicative of how strong we are, so of course that's a big disappointment for us, to know we had a good chance to get some points tonight and we just couldn't capitalize on it. We're going to be busy gearing up for Long Beach, and will just try and get this one behind us."