Mid-Ohio: Lexus race report

Pruett/Rojas Drive Ganassi Lexus To Second-Place At Mid-Ohio LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 23, 2007) -- Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas co-drove to a second-place finish as the highest-finishing Lexus in today's EMCO Gears Classic Rolex Sports Car Series...

Pruett/Rojas Drive Ganassi Lexus To Second-Place At Mid-Ohio

LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 23, 2007) -- Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas co-drove to a second-place finish as the highest-finishing Lexus in today's EMCO Gears Classic Rolex Sports Car Series event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The second-place finish is the third consecutive runner-up showing for the #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley and lengthens Pruett's championship points lead to 11 points, while also extending Chip Ganassi Racing's Team Championship lead to 16 points at the midway point of the 2007 campaign.

Overall, four Lexus-powered prototypes finished in the top-10 today with Michael Valiante and Rob Finlay combining to place seventh in the Chip Ganassi Racing #19 Z-Line Designs /Make-A-Wish Lexus, Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson finished in ninth in the #60 KeyBank Lexus-Riley, and John Pew and Ian James were 10th in the #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley

NOTES:

- Today's second-place finish marks the 12th consecutive top-10 showing for the #01 Ganassi Lexus -- marking an entire calendar year of never finishing out of the top-10.

- With today's second-place finish, Scott Pruett extends his series points lead to 11 points over Max Angelelli. For Pruett, today's finish is his 27th top-three, and his 44th top-10 finish in 47 career Daytona Prototype starts. His #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley has now registered six top-five finishes this season.

- Michael Valiante registered the fastest lap of today's race in his #19 Lexus-Riley.

- Ian James registered his fourth consecutive top-seven finish with his 10th today in the #6 Michael Shank Racing entry. The strong run has propelled the team into eighth-place overall.

- Four Lexus-powered teams remain in the top-10 in the point standings. The #01 Chip Ganassi Racing team is first, followed by the #6 Michael Shank Racing team in eighth, their teammates in the #60 Michael Shank Racing in ninth and the first-year #61 AIM Autosport squad sits in 10th.

Scott Pruett: #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley: "That was a great battle for second-place at the end. We thought we had a top-five car and we got everything we could have out of it. The car ran well, the team's pit stops and strategy was excellent, and Lexus gave us a great engine as usual. We came in knowing that to move up we'd have to run a mistake-free race -- and for the most part, we didn't make an error. We did exactly what we had to do."

Michael Valiante, #19 Z-Line Designs/Make-A-Wish Lexus-Riley: "We had a great car all weekend. We were the fastest car in three sessions and we ran the fastest lap today, but we just didn't get a yellow that could have allowed us to get in contention to win the race. It was good to be in the top-10, but we had a car that could have been on the podium.

Oswaldo Negri, #60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: "This is a tough place to pass obviously, but there was some traffic ahead and I had a good run on Ian going into seven. It was a bit close, but of course, I didn't want to do anything to my teammate! But I wanted to get the best result possible for Mark and all the guys and every spot is important in this championship."

Mark Patterson, #60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: "I had a great start and got a good run on the outside going into seven, but Shane hit John and I ended up with a couple wheels in the dirt, and that never is a good way to start things. But the car got much better as the fuel burned off. At the end of the day, it was a good run for an all-green flag race and another top ten towards the championship."

Ian James, #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: "The balance was a bit compromised because of the damage, with a ton of understeer. But I just figured out how to drive it that way and we were holding our own from there."

John Pew, #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: "I guess Shane Lewis decided to use me as his brakes going into the corner, so he hit me and that knocked me into Mark, unfortunately. So that cost me some spots, and worse yet, the car was damaged and never as quick as it was in qualifying. So I was hoping to do better but, the car just had so little grip so I just did the best I could and turned it over to Ian, who did another great job tonight."

Mark Wilkins, #61 Exchange Traded Gold Lexus-Riley: "The car was good, but the power steering would kick on and off and then towards the end it would shut right off. I was fighting my hands -- when the steering tightened, I didn't want give it too much wheel because when it loosened up, I was going to go around. It was close a few times. We couldn't run anything electronic because of the battery, so no fan, no cool suit, no air conditioning, no creature comforts. I'm just happy to bring the car home and collect some points."

Brian Frisselle, #61 Exchange Traded Gold Lexus-Riley: "It's a bittersweet race. The car was great, had so much potential, and we were running well. We had a bit of a hiccup on the first pitstop that cost us some positions and one of the positions really hurt us because we were getting held up quite a bit. Once we got by, we were one of the quicker cars on the track and it showed how good a car these guys put under Mark and me. The Exchange Traded Gold car was awesome and we'll be coming back strong at the next one."

-credit: lexus/toyota

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Shane Lewis , Scott Pruett , Michael Valiante , Ian James , Max Angelelli , Memo Rojas , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Chip Ganassi , Mark Wilkins , John Pew , Mark Patterson , Brian Frisselle , Rob Finlay , Michael Shank
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing