Scott Pruett snuck past Alex Gurney's Gainsco Pontiac Riley inches from the checkered flag Thursday evening to win the Rolex Sports Car Series Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway. The margin of victory - .081 seconds - was the ...
Scott Pruett snuck past Alex Gurney's Gainsco Pontiac Riley inches from the checkered flag Thursday evening to win the Rolex Sports Car Series Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway. The margin of victory - .081 seconds - was the closest finish in Rolex Series history.
With five laps remaining in the 70-lap race, Gurney held a narrow lead over Pruett's Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley and appeared to be headed for his second consecutive win of the season. But on Lap 67, the No. 69 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 flipped after contact with the Southard Motorsports Lexus Riley, resulting in the race's fourth caution period and eviscerating the lead Gurney had managed to eke out over Pruett. The Mazda was heavily damaged in the crash but the driver - Jeff Segal - was uninjured. And quick work by the track cleanup crew allowed the race to go green again with one lap remaining. Gurney led the field to the green flag but could not put enough distance between himself and Pruett to secure the victory. Instead, Pruett, using momentum from the banking in Turn 4 of the speedway portion of the track, squeezed between the outside of Gurney and the retaining wall to take cross the finish line first.
"That's the only move I had," said Pruett, describing the pass. "The No. 99 car was definitely quicker through the infield and my rear tires after two or three laps just wouldn't hold on. We had different strategies. They had more downforce and we had less drag. So we were quicker on the straights and they were quicker through the infield. And so I just pulled a Hail Mary through the bus stop (chicane at the end of the backstretch). I did the best I could to carry enough speed through the bus stop and out, which I was able to do. And I knew there was a good chance we would him at the start/finish line.
"If he had gone high, there would have been a huge wreck because I had a lot of speed on him. It would have been a big mess coming across the finish line. But you know that's just one of those deals where you plan to go where the other guy's not going to go. That's the only thing you can hope for."
Gurney knew Pruett would make run on him at the end of the race and he was not sure he could withstand the charge due to Pruett's straight line speed. "I could see that if I didn't have a certain gap that (Pruett) would either close up or go by (me)," explained Gurney. "So on that last restart I was trying to get as a good a gap as I could. But I knew that as soon as I turned back on to the oval that I didn't have enough gap. It is definitely a heart breaker. It was an exciting race. But from my seat I can tell you that it was very painful. We just didn't have enough today, I guess."
Pruett and his teammate, Memo Rojas, now have five wins in eight races and hold a 40-point lead over Gurney and Jon Fogarty in the Daytona Prototype drivers' championship standings with six races remaining.
The No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola driven by Ricardo Zonta and Nic Jonsson came home third, followed by the No. 59 Brumos Porsche Riley shared by J.C. France and Joao Barbosa and the No. 58 Brumos Porsche Riley of David Donohue and Darren Law.
In the GT class, the pole-sitting SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 of Nick Ham and Sylvain Tremblay won for the second time this season, finishing less than two seconds ahead of the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche shared by Dirk Werner and Bryce Miller. The No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R of Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis rounded out the top-three.