Iowa: Lexus Motorsports preview

LEXUS POWERS PRUETT, GANASSI TO POINTS LEAD HEADING INTO IOWA -- Lexus has powered Scott Pruett and Chip Ganassi Racing into the lead of the Driver and Manufacturer standings with just six races remaining heading into Friday's race. Pruett...

LEXUS POWERS PRUETT, GANASSI TO POINTS LEAD HEADING INTO IOWA -- Lexus has powered Scott Pruett and Chip Ganassi Racing into the lead of the Driver and Manufacturer standings with just six races remaining heading into Friday's race. Pruett maintains a slim four-point lead over Max Angelelli, while Ganassi has a nine-point advantage in the team standings.

To date, Lexus' and its teams and drivers have earned four Rolex Series championships since entering the series in 2004. Pruett and Max Papis won the 2004 Driver's Championship, Ganassi won the 2004 and 2006 team titles, and Lexus registered the 2006 Manufacturer's Championship.

Three other Lexus-powered teams also will arrive in Iowa in the top-10 in points, including a pair from Michael Shank Racing (MSR). The #6 Shank entry driven by Ian James and John Pew is coming off a strong fourth-place finish at Daytona and has climbed to seventh in points. Their MSR teammates, Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson, are currently ninth in the #60 MSR Lexus-Riley, just one point out of eighth and only five points behind their teammates. The first-year #61 AIM Autosport Lexus-Riley continues to run 10th in the championship with drivers Mark Wilkins, Burt Frisselle and Brian Frisselle.

CUP STAR MARK MARTIN TO MAKE ROLEX DEBUT IN LEXUS -- NASCAR NEXTEL Cup star Mark Martin will make his Daytona Prototype debut in a Lexus this weekend with Southard Motorsports. Martin will join full-time drivers Randy Ruhlman and Shane Lewis in the #3 PLP Lexus-Riley. While never having raced a prototype, Martin's no stranger to sports cars and registered an IMSA GTO class victory at the Rolex 24 at Daytona. Martin has excelled on road courses during his Cup career -- earning five career NASCAR road victories and 27 top-five finishes in 60 races.

Martin joins an impressive group of drivers from other series to race Lexus-powered prototypes this year including Indy car champions Scott Dixon, Juan Montoya, Dan Wheldon, Sam Hornish Jr. and Paul Tracy, as well as two-time Indy 500 winner Helio Castroneves and current NASCAR driver A.J. Allmendinger.

IOWA RETURN -- While the new Iowa Speedway has brought major auto racing to the state of Iowa this year, two Lexus-powered drivers already have experience in the Hawkeye State. Both Scott Pruett and Randy Ruhlman raced in the SCCA Trans-Am Championship's Des Moines Grand Prix that ran from 1988 to 1994. Pruett finished second at Des Moines in 1994.

-credit: Lexus Motorsports

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Shane Lewis , Helio Castroneves , Paul Tracy , Scott Pruett , Dan Wheldon , Randy Ruhlman , Ian James , A.J. Allmendinger , Burt Frisselle , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Chip Ganassi , John Pew , Mark Patterson , Brian Frisselle , Michael Shank , Sam Hornish Jr. , Mark Martin
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing