PRUETT, DIAZ COMBINE TO PUT LEXUS IN TOP FIVE AT MIAMI GP HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 5, 2005) -- Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz combined to drive their CompUSA Lexus-Riley to a fifth-place finish to lead the Lexus-powered contingent at Saturday's Miami...
PRUETT, DIAZ COMBINE TO PUT LEXUS IN TOP FIVE AT MIAMI GP
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 5, 2005) -- Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz combined to drive their CompUSA Lexus-Riley to a fifth-place finish to lead the Lexus-powered contingent at Saturday's Miami Grand Prix at the Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Stefan Johansson and Cort Wagner drove the New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley to a seventh-place finish to give Ganassi Racing two of the top 10 finishing cars for the day. Matteo Bobbi and Fabrizio Gollin rounded out the three Lexus-powered entries with an 11th-place finish in their Doran Racing Crown Royal Lexus-Doran. A day earlier Bobbi had earned Lexus' highest qualifying position as he started in second on the outside of the first row.
"We were plagued again by the Homestead-Miami Speedway you could say," said Pruett of his run of bad luck at the 2.3-mile Miami circuit. "I think it came down to some electrical problems in the CompUSA car today. We're optimistic though. I'm happy with the championship points and looking forward to Fontana."
After wet conditions contributed to a 20th-place qualifying effort for the Wagner/Johansson entry, things were looking up quickly in the race as they climbed up to sixth-place by the mid-way point. Unfortunately, a radio problem factored into a lengthy pit stop that would take the team out of contention for the victory.
"We lost two laps on our pit stop and that pretty much set the tone for us for the remainder of the race," said Johansson. "Our speed was right there with the leaders, as well as the pace we were able to maintain. We got pinned back when we had to change out the radio during the pit and that cost us a lot of time. I hate to say that's just motor racing, but I guess it sums up what happened to the New Century car today."
The Crown Royal Doran team suffered through a roller-coaster weekend of ups and downs. After qualifying second on Saturday, an over-rev in the final practice resulted in the team being forced to change engines and the car being relegated to the back of the grid for Saturday's green flag. More misfortune hit the team early on as they attempted to move back through the field and had contact with another car while passing for a position. The team eventually lost a lap early in the race, but ran strong the remainder of the day to place 11th.
"It was a chaotic race for us," said Bobbi. "We were involved in two incidents immediately and fell back, but then the car was very good and we set some very good lap times. It's a big shame we had the problems early because we had the speed to have a good result.
The Rolex Sports Car Series will resume action in the Grand American 400 at the California Speedway with live SPEED coverage.