Sears Point: Chip Ganassi race report

THIRD PLACE FINISH IN SONOMA FOR TELMEX TEAM SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 25, 2007)- With the championship battle looming, Scott Pruett ran among the top-five competitors for a majority of the Armed Forces Grand-Am 250 and brought home a ...

THIRD PLACE FINISH IN SONOMA FOR TELMEX TEAM

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 25, 2007)- With the championship battle looming, Scott Pruett ran among the top-five competitors for a majority of the Armed Forces Grand-Am 250 and brought home a second-consecutive third place finish for the No.01 TELMEX team. The blue and white Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) Lexus-Riley held the lead for laps 30 through 65 until Pruett made his final pit stop. A late race caution and restart with two laps remaining did not allow the TELMEX car to advance past its third place position.

Alex Lloyd, who secured his Indy Pro Series championship earlier in the day replaced Rob Finlay in the No.19 Z-Line Designs/Mission Residential Lexus-Riley. Finlay tended to his ongoing shoulder injury so he could be ready for the season-closer at Miller Motorsports Park in September. Starting fifth on the grid and running in fourth place, Lloyd handed over the helm to Michael Valiante on lap 28. Valiante consistently ran in fifth position until the No.3 lapped traffic made contact with his CGRFS car, causing irreparable front-end damage with only ten circuits remaining.

The No.01 TELMEX team trails the No.99 entry for first by one tally (379 points) in the team championship points standings. With 384 driver points, Pruett follows one mark behind the leading No.99 Fogarty and Gurney duo. With three points less than the leader, the No.10 team and Max Angelelli round out the top-three championship contenders with 377 and 382 points.

SCOTT PRUETT: "The whole Ganassi team, we tried to change things up a little bit. We changed our pit strategy and got back out in the lead and maintained it for a long time. Unfortunately with that (first) pit stop, we had to take more fuel on the second pit stop, and that's what let those guys get back by. It was the gamble we took; we had to try to make something happen. Salt Lake will be a great fight. The TELMEX team's strength is winning long races. It will certainly be one of the best shoot-outs in Grand-Am and whoever wins, will win (the championship)."

MEMO ROJAS: "This season has been a tough challenge for me. Normally in your rookie season, you're learning and making mistakes...We couldn't afford to make mistakes. It's been a lot of pressure trying to learn and do well at the same time. Every weekend, the Ganassi team works hard to give us the best car they can. I am happy with today's results. I was able to have a clean start and keep with the lead pack. It just came to the pits on the last stint to decide the race and the 99 just ran quicker at that time. I'm looking forward to helping Scott win the driver championship and team championship for TELMEX in Salt Lake City in a few weeks."

MICHAEL VALIANTE: "There's not too much to say about today. We had a top-five car, but had contact late in the race with the lapped No.3 car which threw off the front end of the car. After the contact, I knew our day was over as I lost control of the steering. It's a shame; the CGRFS team worked so hard on the No.19 car and Alex did a great job in his stint. We'll move on to Salt Lake in a few weeks and hope for better results."

ALEX LLOYD: "Being asked to drive the Grand-Am car by the Ganassi team with Michael Valiante was a great honor this weekend. It was quite a unique experience to drive a sports car; the adjustment seemed to be natural, especially considering we were able to qualify fifth on the grid. I truly enjoyed driving the first stint and felt confident that Michael could end the day with a top-five finish. Unfortunately, the day ended earlier than anyone of us had anticipated. The entire Ganassi crew worked hard to give us the fastest car possible. This weekend was very memorable in both the Indy Pro Series and my experience with Grand-Am racing."

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Michael Valiante , Max Angelelli , Chip Ganassi , Alex Lloyd , Rob Finlay , Felix Sabates