Lexus Places Two in Top Five In 2005 DP Finale In Mexico City TORRANCE, Calif. (Nov. 5, 2005) -- Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz finished third, while Ganassi Racing teammates Cort Wagner and Stefan Johansson placed fifth to give Lexus two of the ...
Lexus Places Two in Top Five In 2005 DP Finale In Mexico City
TORRANCE, Calif. (Nov. 5, 2005) -- Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz finished third, while Ganassi Racing teammates Cort Wagner and Stefan Johansson placed fifth to give Lexus two of the top-five finishers in Saturday's Rolex Sports Car Series season finale in Mexico City.
Pruett took the lead on the opening lap and went on to lead the first 39 circuits before turning over the car to Diaz. After being shuffled back with the pit stop, the Mexico City native brought his hometown crowd to their feet as he moved back into the lead on Lap 46. Diaz briefly gave up the top spot to Memo Gidley on Lap 55, but regained the lead four laps later.
Diaz held the point position until Lap 74 of the 90-lap event when he was forced to pit for fuel, giving up the lead and any chance for victory. The CompUSA Lexus-Riley returned to the track to place third and earn the squad's eighth podium finish and their fourth in the season's final five races. The third-place showing cemented their runner-up finish in the 2005 point standings.
The #02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley of Wagner and Johansson made it two Ganassi Racing Lexus-powered prototypes in the top-five with what may have been the drive of the day. After moving to the back of the starting grid following an engine change on Friday night, the pair gained 15 positions during the race to secure their sixth top-five showing of the year. With the result, the duo placed fifth in points for the year.
The third Lexus-powered entry didn't fare nearly as well. The #60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley driven by Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri retired early due to an oil line leak while running on the lead lap after a 12th-place start. The news wasn't all bad for the #60 team this weekend, though, as Michael Shank Racing announced on Friday that both Patterson and Negri would return for a full season in the car in 2006 after a limited campaign this year.
"We are really excited about having Oswaldo and Mark join us full-time beginning next season," said team owner Mike Shank. "Even though they only ran a handful of races this season, they were impressive every weekend and I know that we will be a competitive force right out of the gates next year."
Patterson is already looking forward to the 2006 campaign.
"We really enjoy working with Lexus and the guys at TRD," he said. "Their technical support is truly an asset to us every weekend, and both Mike and Oswaldo have great working relationships with them. Just like everyone on our team, they really want to win, and it shows in how much effort goes into this program."
For the year, Lexus-powered Daytona Prototypes earned three victories and registered 19 top-finishes, as well as four pole positions.