Pruett and Rojas Clinch Rolex Series Championship at Miller Motorsports Park
TOOELE, UT (September 22, 2008)- TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates' (CGRFS) drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas paired with Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) teammate Alex Lloyd at the timed six hour forty-five minute season finale at Miller Motorsports Park (MMP) to score a top-10 finish (ninth) which clinched the 2008 team and driver championships. Pruett and Rojas fulfilled the thirty minute per driver stipulation and kept the No.01 TELMEX machine out of harms way enabling them to clinch the championship.
With a second place starting position, Pruett drove the No.01 Daytona Prototype (DP) for the first 33 laps while he reached his time requirement and consistently maintained a top-five running position. Rojas took over the helm on the team's first driver change (lap 34) and encountered light rain by lap 53 and spun four laps later after contact was made with the No.76 DP. Officials drew a yellow flag for rain on lap 60 and the team made their second driver change three laps later giving the helm to Lloyd. After the restart on lap 66, the Manchester, England native persevered through more rainy conditions while running among the top-eight positions and scored lap times rivaling race leaders. The rain became more intense by lap 78 when the team made another driver change and put Rojas back at the wheel.
In the final half of the 137-lap event, Rojas began with rain tires and advanced to first place on lap 82 before putting on slick tires one lap later as the sky cleared and the track dried. Rojas ran among the leaders from before reaching lap 93 when he eventually pitted for the team's final driver change on lap 107 in eighth place. With a full tank of fuel, Pruett ran the last 30 laps of the race which saw him running as high as eighth place before the No.58 made contact resulting in that team's drive through penalty with Pruett and set the Californian to ninth place, the position he ran to the checkered flag.
The TELMEX duo rewrote record books after Saturday's championship win. Pruett is the first two-time Grand-Am Series driver champion and is the first American to score eight major sports car championships, breaking a record he previously held with the late Peter Gregg. Pruett's titles include one Daytona Prototype championship (2004), two IMSA GTO titles (1986 and 1988), one IMSA GT Endurance (1986) and three Trans-Am championships (1987, 1994 and 2003). Rojas became the first Mexican driver to win a major racing championship in the United States.
With six wins in 2008, including an unprecedented three-straight Rolex 24 At Daytona victories, the TELMEX team added to CGRFS' mantle of Rolex Series successes. In 2004 Pruett and Max Papis clinch the driver and team championship with five wins and won the team championship in 2006 with five wins. Just two weeks prior, Scott Dixon amassed TCGR's sixth open wheel crown after winning the IndyCar championship.
Scott Pruett: "I can not say enough about the entire TELMEX team and the organization that Chip and Felix have put together. It was great having everyone here today from Mexico to celebrate this special moment. We worked hard and had our highs and lows this season and I just can't say enough about how great this feels."
Memo Rojas: "I am so proud to represent Mexico with this championship. Everyone back home follows this series closely and I know they are extremely excited. I have to thank Chip, Felix, and Carlos (Slim) for giving me an opportunity to work with this TELMEX team for two years. Today is so special to me and we fought hard all season and our efforts and attitude was shown with what we achieved this season. Last year was disappointing and today is so special."