PRUETT PUTS FINISHING TOUCHES ON COMPUSA'S FIFTH PODIUM AT MID-OHIO LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 27, 2005) -- "What goes around, comes around" in the ultra-competitive Daytona Prototype division of Grand American's Rolex Sports Car Series. CompUSA...
PRUETT PUTS FINISHING TOUCHES ON COMPUSA'S FIFTH PODIUM AT MID-OHIO
LEXINGTON, Ohio (August 27, 2005) -- "What goes around, comes around" in the ultra-competitive Daytona Prototype division of Grand American's Rolex Sports Car Series. CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates pilots Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz experienced that old adage in the twilight hours at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course after being passed by the no.4 Howard-Boss machine with seven laps to go to finish second in the Round 10 EMCO Gears Classic in north central Ohio. Pruett previously got the best of Howard-Boss driver Butch Leitzinger in a late-race sparring match at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca en route to CompUSA's second win of the season.
Diaz gridded second in the closed-cockpit of the defending champion no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley, and maintained his status as a frontrunner throughout his stint in the 94-lap event. Settling into the third spot after the green flag dropped over the Daytona Prototype pack, the second-year CGRFS wheelman handed off the Lexus-powered prototype to Pruett in pristine condition after a full course caution on Lap 36.
Pruett eased his way into the event on Mid-Ohio's classic 2.258-mile sweeping layout, running every lap behind the pace car before the green flag finally turned him loose on Lap 48. With third position firmly in his grasp, Pruett began playing the fuel mileage game in hopes of getting the squad to the checkered flag on a single pit stop.
As Pruett bided his time in fuel conservation mode, the top two cars (no.67 Krohn Racing and no.54 Kodak-Bell Motorsports) eventually peeled off and the CompUSA team caught a break. The no.67 machine was shown the black flag for rough driving on Lap 59, and the no.54 DP had to pay pit road a visit for fuel on Lap 76.
Pruett powered forward into P1, but immediately became engaged with Leitzinger's aforementioned no.04 car that was taking no prisoners. A Lap 87 restart followed the race's final full course caution period with Pruett at the point, but the Californian could not fend off the hard-charging no.04 car in Turn 1. Pruett stood his ground over the final seven tours of Mid-Ohio, often sticking a nose in here and there as he mimicked the lead car. In the end, the Midwest crowd got their money's worth with a four-car, nose-to-tail duel to the finish, with CompUSA finishing second.
"Butch had just a little bit more than we did there at the end," said Pruett, who chopped two points off SunTrust Racing's championship lead (312-293). "It's just the same situation we had in Laguna Seca, but the roles were reversed. On the restart I gave him enough room to challenge, but the racing was clean. It was a good door-to-door duel that I'm sure the fans appreciated. Our CompUSA pit stops were perfect all day, but we had to save a lot of fuel in the middle of the race which held us back."
Diaz drove a solid race, and finished on the Mid-Ohio podium for the second straight year after a third place result with CGRFS teammate Jimmy Morales in 2004.
"We maintained the CompUSA car in a solid position throughout the race," said Diaz. "Scott held off everyone as long as possible, but second place is still a good result. Everyone on our team is doing their part right now, we just have to find a way to tighten up the championship."