Mexico City: Lexus qualifying report

PRUETT EARNS LEXUS FIRST POLE OF '06 GRAND AM CAMPAIGN TORRANCE, Calif. (March 3, 2006) -- After notching the fastest time in Friday's morning practice, Scott Pruett came right back and registered the quick time in qualifying to give Lexus its...

PRUETT EARNS LEXUS FIRST POLE OF '06 GRAND AM CAMPAIGN

TORRANCE, Calif. (March 3, 2006) -- After notching the fastest time in Friday's morning practice, Scott Pruett came right back and registered the quick time in qualifying to give Lexus its first pole position of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car season at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City Friday.

Pruett's pole position is his seventh in Daytona Prototype competition -- all coming with Lexus power. It marks the manufacturer's 17th pole position in 28 Rolex Series events.

The pole position was a popular one among Mexico City fans as Pruett will team with native son Luis Diaz in the #01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley in Saturday's race.

The news wasn't nearly as good for Michael Shank Racing. After turning the fastest times in both of Thursday's practice sessions, the #60 Flight Options Lexus crashed hard in Turn 8 in Friday morning's practice session. The car was too heavily damaged to compete in this weekend's event and instead the team will run a car they obtained shortly before practice, but won't have time to install their Lexus powerplant. Making the events even more disappointing is that drivers Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson came into the weekend as the de facto points leaders after placing second at the Rolex 24 in Daytona behind only a Ganassi Racing Lexus led by Scott Dixon that won't run on a regular basis this season.

The hard hit was the second of the weekend suffered by MSR as Paul Tracy suffered a major shunt in the Thursday afternoon practice that set back the #6 Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing Lexus-Riley. After missing most of the session yesterday, the team recovered to qualify 13th today with Mike Borkowski behind the wheel.

This weekend's Mexico City round, which is being run in conjunction with the NASCAR Busch Series, will be televised by SPEED with same-day coverage. The event is scheduled to see the green flag fall at 4:15 p.m. with SPEED coverage beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday evening. Friday's qualifying is set for noon (all times Eastern).

LUIS DIAZ, #01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley "Scott did a fantastic job for the team today, obviously. We have the car in a good position, knowing that the balance is pretty much right between Scott's driving style and mine. I think Scott will run the car a bit stiffer, whereas I'll make some adjustments to soften it up when I get in. Coming off the Daytona 24 Hours, this is just another huge race for us. Scott and I came close to winning here last year, but we still have a few more places to go up the podium before we're satisfied."

SCOTT PRUETT, #01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley: "My whole focus for this weekend was getting the pole, and in turn starting the race in the clear so Luis could have the car in a position to win in the end. We accomplished the first part of that today by starting where we are, but our work doesn't stop there. Mexico City is all about Luis. I'm just here along with the Ganassi team, doing everything it takes right now to get the car to the front to stay. Hopefully the race will play out in our favor and we can make a trip to Victory Lane this weekend."

MIKE BORKOWSKI, #6 Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing Lexus-Riley: "This just isn't where we want to be. The car hasn't reacted to what we have been doing to it set-up wise like we want, so it's been pretty frustrating. This track is fairly difficult to pass on, so we were obviously hoping we could have been further up the field, but we'll just have to try some new things for the race and keep working at it."

PAUL TRACY, #6 Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing Lexus-Riley: "We are playing some catch-up with the car because we lost track time yesterday. We just haven't found the balance we need to be fast here yet. We have another warm-up session in the morning, so hopefully we can keep improving tomorrow and be strong in the race."

MICHAEL SHANK, MSR team owner: "I'm pretty proud of how this whole team chipped in to get the work done we needed to last night. But with things being as close as they are here in Rolex, you have to keep improving all weekend so we are still trying to make up some ground with the Graydon car. We have some things that we are going to try tomorrow and hopefully we can move up in the pack and get some good luck in the race."

-lexus

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Scott Pruett , Luis Diaz , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing