Mid-Ohio: Lexus race report

LEXUS DUO COME FROM LAP DOWN TO WIN AT MID-OHIO LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 20, 2009) -- Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas overcame three early pit stops and falling a lap down in their ...

LEXUS DUO COME FROM LAP DOWN TO WIN AT MID-OHIO

LEXINGTON, Ohio (June 20, 2009) -- Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas overcame three early pit stops and falling a lap down in their #01 Telmex Lexus to win today's EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Starting from the second position, Rojas came into the pits under caution on Lap 2 to satisfy the mandatory pit-stop rule requiring a stop within the first 45 minutes of the race. During his stop, the team took on fuel, but it was determined by Grand-Am officials that the race had yet to complete a green flag lap. The ruling resulted in a stop-and-go penalty with the team being held in the pits for an additional 10 seconds with Rojas falling to the back of the field.

Yet, the reigning series co-champion charged back into the top-10 before having contact with another prototype while overtaking him for position.

The contact would send Rojas' #01 Lexus back into the pits for a tire change and dropped him a lap down and into 15th position. Once again, the resilient Mexican driver came back through the field and into the top-10 before handing off to Pruett under a full-course caution on Lap 38. The Chip Ganassi Racing team's quick pit stop put Pruett back on track in seventh-place.

From there, the most-decorated sports car racer in American history quickly moved into the top-five by Lap 45 and eventually assumed the lead under caution on Lap 67. Pruett then stretched out as much as a three-second lead over second place and more than a 10-second lead over third place before a full-course caution with just over 30 minutes remaining bunched up the field. Despite repeated runs at him by former Toyota F1 driver Ricardo Zonta, Pruett led the final 45 laps for the team's second consecutive victory.

The Rolex Sports Car Series returns Saturday, July 4 with the Brumos 250 as the preliminary show for the Sprint Cup at the Daytona International Speedway. The one-day event will be televised live on SPEED beginning at 2 p.m. EDT.

- Today's victory at Mid-Ohio is the 25th for Lexus in Rolex Sports Car competition and the second of the 2009 season. The manufacturer has now won two or more races in every season since its debut campaign in 2004.

- The win is a record 22nd for Scott Pruett and the ninth for teammate Memo Rojas. It is also the 23rd for Chip Ganassi Racing -- also a Rolex Series record.

- In leading a race-high 45 laps today, the #01 Lexus has now led each of the six races this season -- one of only two teams to accomplish that feat and has now led more laps than any other team in the series. Individually, Pruett has a commanding lead with a 191 laps led this season.

- The Lexus-powered Ganassi team has now registered two wins and four top-two finishes in six Mid-Ohio races since entering the series in 2004.

Memo Rojas, #01 Telmex Lexus: "It was one of those races where everything bad happened early and we lost that lap early. If you would have asked me an hour into the race if we would be in Winner's Circle I would have said no way. My hat's off to this team for making some great calls. We made our lap back, then took the lead and won the race."

Scott Pruett, #01 Telmex Lexus: "Lady luck was surely shining on us today. I thought we were out of that one early, but the entire Ganassi team, Telmex and Lexus just did a great job today. I hope that was as much fun to watch as it was to race. Ricardo Zonta and I were both driving like it was qualifying out there, except trying to carve our way through traffic at the same time. "

-credit: lexus motorsports

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ricardo Zonta , Scott Pruett , Memo Rojas , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing