Laguna Seca: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

SCOTT PRUETT RETAKES DAYTONA PROTOTYPE POINTS LEAD AT LAGUNA SECA MONTEREY, Calif. (May 20, 2007)--A second-place result for the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley driven by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, coupled with a 15th-place ...

SCOTT PRUETT RETAKES DAYTONA PROTOTYPE POINTS LEAD AT LAGUNA SECA

MONTEREY, Calif. (May 20, 2007)--A second-place result for the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley driven by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, coupled with a 15th-place performance by No. 10 SunTrust car moved Pruett back atop the Daytona Prototype point standings by five points, 148-143, over Angelelli and Magnussen. As the pit strategies played out, Pruett led one lap and had a firm grip on second as he pressured the fuel-conserving No. 23, which without a yellow flag, would need fuel if the track stayed green. Pruett was in hot pursuit of the No. 23 as the race wound down, but the No. 05 car spun out, forcing the caution that allowed the No. 23 to coast and give the TELMEX team a runner-up finish under yellow.

It was the second podium result of the season for Pruett and Rojas as co-drivers, and was the third podium of the season overall for Pruett and the No. 01 team. Pruett co-drove the No. 01 machine to the victory in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona with Juan Pablo Montoya and Salvador Duran, while Rojas shared the team's No. 02 Target/TELMEX Lexus Riley with IndyCar champions Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon. It was also a career-best Rolex Series result for Rojas, eclipsing his previous best run of third at Homestead-Miami Speedway in March.

In its second race under the CGRFS umbrella, the No. 19 Z-Line Designs/Mission Residential/Make-A-Wish Foundation Lexus Riley ran as high as third before a Lap 11 miscue resulted in irreparable damage to the DP and abruptly ended a very promising day for the No. 19 after qualifying in the top 10 and running among the fastest in practice sessions both Friday and Saturday. Finlay, who was determined to put his teammate Valiante in good position for a podium run, missed his mark heading down the hill in Turn 9, putting the No. 19 in the garage for the duration of the event.

CGRFS Driver Quoteboard

SCOTT PRUETT: "We heard about (the No. 23 team's) fuel situation, and that was more their concern. Unfortunately, there was a car that got off and it was good for them and not for us. Most of all, we were looking at gaining points on them, so I wasn't going to do anything risky. This is a very difficult track to pass on. The Ganassi guys, we always work on the car, making it good on tires that are very old, and on the second stop, we didn't take tires. We had good passes, but they were scraping and it was close, and you can't afford to take some of those chances sometimes. It'll just kill your day. You've got to be extremely careful about passing here, but the TELMEX car ran very well, and we're glad to be back here and come away with the lead in the championship."

MEMO ROJAS: "I'm very happy. I want to congratulate the team and Scott for an awesome job this weekend. The qualifying was pretty close. It was very hard to pass on this race track. We had to be smart with our decisions and keep the car on the track, and hopefully everything would work out well for us. I did the first half of the race, and then Scott got in and did an awesome job. We got Scott the points lead back and I'm very happy for the entire TELMEX team."

ROB FINLAY: "I'm very disappointed that I couldn't get the job done. The crew worked so hard to get this car ready and it was really fast. We had a good plan and things were going our way, and I was just trying to get this car in good position for Michael, but he didn't even get his chance to run."

MICHAEL VALIANTE: "We came in and were fast right away. The goal was to get Rob as much seat time as we could in practice so he could get comfortable for the race. We had a podium car if everything would have worked in our favor."

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing