PENULTIMATE ROUND CRITICAL FOR COMPUSA'S CHAMPIONSHIP HOPES AS SERIES SHIFTS TO VIR INDIANAPOLIS (October 6, 2005) - Defending Grand American Daytona Prototype Champions CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will unload the no.01 ...
PENULTIMATE ROUND CRITICAL FOR COMPUSA'S CHAMPIONSHIP HOPES AS SERIES SHIFTS TO VIR
INDIANAPOLIS (October 6, 2005) - Defending Grand American Daytona Prototype Champions CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will unload the no.01 Lexus-Riley this weekend adjacent to the Dan River between Danville and South Boston, Va. at Virginia International Raceway's flowing 3.27-mile natural terrain course, having just notched their sixth podium of the 2005 Rolex Series season in Watkins Glen. And although the driver tandem of Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz are a seemingly insurmountable 39 points in arrears of SunTrust Racing, their hopes of repeating as champions in the CompUSA machine are still alive.
Last season at VIR, Pruett and CGR teammate Max Papis smashed the track qualifying record with an orbit of the 17-turn circuit at 1:45.447 (111.639mph). The action continued through the weekend, as the CompUSA squad was again engaged in a hefty war with SunTrust Racing for the championship. Pruett eventually brought the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley to the checkered in second behind Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor, but not before nipping at their heels in what was, at that time, the closest finish in series history with a scant 0.87-second margin of victory.
Even though Pruett and Diaz returned the favor with a thrilling 0.096-second win over their no.10 nemeses in Fontana earlier this year, getting back into the hunt has been a challenge for the team after a 16th place finish at Phoenix limited their chances.
"This was a wild race last year in the rain," said Pruett of his podium finish at VIR a year ago. "We had the lead in the championship over the no.10 car, so this year the roles are reversed a bit. It's a difficult track, but all we can do is put the CompUSA car on the pole and win the race. That's all we have control over so we'll be focusing on the job we need to do."
Co-driver Diaz piloted a second CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing entry at VIR last season, and despite a late-race pit stop, he and co-driver Jimmy Morales finished fifth for their second-straight top five result and their fifth of the season. The Mexico City native knows the importance of keeping the team's championship hopes alive with next month's season finale being staged in Mexico for the inaugural Rolex Series race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
"It's super important for me to do well this weekend heading into Mexico City," said Diaz. "The expectations are high for Mexican fans and I know we can deliver for them. We just need to keep doing what we're doing and that's all we can ask for. Our chassis continues to get better each race, and the last car I had at Watkins Glen was the best I've driven all year. I'm very confident about a good result at VIR."
Fans of CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates can catch the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley in action at the VIR 400 Sunday, October 9th (LIVE, SPEED Channel, 1:00 pm ET) at Virginia International Raceway for the penultimate round of the Rolex Sports Car Series. Follow the team's progress throughout the race weekend by logging on to the Rolex Sports Car Series website at www.grandamerican.com <http://www.grandamerican.com/> for free live timing, and keep up with the team's successes throughout the 2005 season by logging onto the official website at www.chipganassiracing.com <http://www.chipganassiracing.com/> for news, features, photos and much more.