Laguna Seca: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz, no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley U.S. Sports Car Invitational -- Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca TEAM: Defending MRLS racewinners CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and co-pilots Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz VENUE:...

Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz, no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley U.S. Sports Car Invitational -- Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

TEAM: Defending MRLS racewinners CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and co-pilots Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz

VENUE: Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, on the 2.238-mile permanent road course in Monterey, Calif. Round 6 of 14 on the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season

EXHAUST NOTES: The no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley has never lost in the State of California since its introduction to Daytona Prototype racing in 2004. Pruett and Diaz will start the "drive for five" this weekend after the no.01 saw victory lane in Fontana (2004), Laguna Seca and Fontana (2005) and Long Beach earlier this season...Pruett currently leads the Rolex Series in the Laps Led category with 122...CGRFS engine supplier Lexus leads the Manufacturer Standings 190-189 over Porsche....CGRFS constructor Riley is tied for first with Crawford (195-195) in the Chassis Standings...on the strength of three team wins through five rounds in 2006 (no.1 and no.02), CGRFS has led 539 of 1096 total laps, or 49%.

AIR DATE: May 7th at 3:00 PM ET on SPEED Channel (LIVE)

TEAM POINTS: no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley, 150 points (second) DRIVER POINTS: Scott Pruett, Luis Diaz, 150 points (fourth)

LAST RACE: Virginia, St. 25 Fn. 3 NEXT RACE: May 13th, Phoenix International Raceway (finished 16th in 2005, accident)

TEAM STATS: The no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley has two wins, two poles (Mexico City, Long Beach) and has finished on the podium in four of five races in 2006 entering MRLS this Sunday. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates is the most successful team in Daytona Prototype history-- holding records in wins (10), poles (17) and podium finishes (25); while Pruett is the most successful Daytona Prototype pilot ever with career records for wins (9), pole positions (7) and podium finishes (20). The 2004 Rolex Series Championship-winning team also captured the prestigious Rolex 24 At Daytona this past January.

MRLS HISTORY: In the series' first visit to MRLS in 2005, the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley started third and finished first, capping off a sweep of the back-to-back California rounds (Fontana) of the championship.

MRLS REWIND: Native Californian Scott Pruett put the finishing touches on the timed 97-lap race, picking his spots and dodging Daytona Prototypes to finish first among the record 54 entered machines. Pruett and co-driver Diaz narrowed SunTrust Racing's championship lead from 17 to 10 as they continued their defense of the Grand American title. Pruett caught and overtook Butch Leitzinger's Daytona Prototype for the lead on Lap 69, and went on to survive three late-race restarts-- the last of which ended the event under caution-- to secure victory for the CompUSA team.

ROUND 5 RECAP: After a post-qualifying engine change put Diaz on pit lane for the start of the VIR 400K, he moved up from 22nd to the lead before the driver change for Pruett on Lap 46 of 77. Pruett cycled through the field, and found himself in eighth on Lap 50. He then made moves for fifth, fourth and then third from Laps 61-63, and was positioned in the top-two when the lead pack was nose-to-tail for the final stretch on Lap 71. Pruett hounded the no.10 for the point lap after lap, often showing Angelelli a nose heading into turn 1. But the move of the race came on the final lap when Pruett came alongside Angelelli for the lead, making his bid to defend the VIR win for CGRFS from a year ago. Pruett's move in Turn 14 proved to be costly, as the no.23 snuck through from third and stole the top spot for the win. Pruett managed to hold on and finish third behind the no.23 and the no.10 Daytona Prototypes in what was arguably one of the best races in Rolex Series history. It is the no.01 car's fourth podium in five races in 2006, and the 20th podium in 31 career Grand American starts.

CGRFS QUOTEBOARD

SCOTT PRUETT

"It's great for me personally to have three races in California with Long Beach, Laguna Seca and Sonoma on the schedule this year. I couldn't ask for anything more. Laguna is obviously one of those tracks I consider a home venue -- it's just a classic road course any racer would love to drive. We had an awesome weekend here in our first visit to the track last season. Luis and the guys are ready to go for it again, and I'm looking forward to putting on a good show for the fans in front of my friends and family in the CompUSA car."

LUIS DIAZ

"I think the qualifying race in Virginia hurt us a bit in the points because we were leading the championship coming into that race. But the team managed to regroup for the race, and we got a podium and pulled back into second in the points. I like the layout at Laguna, especially because Scott and I won here last year. We will keep doing what we need to do. Hard work and keeping our heads down is what will help us win the race again here this Sunday."

-www.chipganassiracing.com

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Scott Pruett , Luis Diaz , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing