VIR: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

CompUSA Scores Two Top Five Finishes and Maintains Championship Lead in Virginia Danville, VA., Saturday, October 3rd, 2004 -- After setting a Virginia International Raceway track record and winning a record tying ninth pole position in ten...

CompUSA Scores Two Top Five Finishes and Maintains Championship Lead in Virginia

Danville, VA., Saturday, October 3rd, 2004 -- After setting a Virginia International Raceway track record and winning a record tying ninth pole position in ten races this season in Saturday qualifying, CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates No. 01 Lexus Riley drivers Scott Pruett and Max Papis went on to finish the exciting race in second place and maintain their lead in the Rolex Grand American Sports Car Series Championship.

It was the closest finish in Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series five year history, as No. 10 car held off a late charge from the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley of Scott Pruett to win Sunday's VIR 400 presented by SunTrust by a 0.87-second margin. Things got especially interesting as a light rain began falling on the circuit in the waning laps and the shower coupled with slower traffic enabled Pruett to catch up to the 10 car of Max Angelelli with three laps remaining.

"This was a wild race, said Pruett who along with Papis share the lead in the championship by a slim margin of five points over Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli in the no.10 car. "It was a difficult track and not quite as conducive to the Lexus as our next race at Barber will be. The CompUSA crew did well all weekend long and the Lexus guys did good job as well. The car didn't miss a beat all day. It was pretty interesting all day with that rain, which was light at times and others it got real heavy. It was literally touch and go. Angelelli did a great job holding us off, and we were just right on each other the last stint. It's going to be a good battle right t the end of the season."

"It was a fantastic race," says Papis of their runner-up finish which was their sixth top-two result in 10 starts. "We weren't as lucky in traffic as we were in the first part though, as we were in front at the start and created a big gap with the No. 10 car. It was a great battle, unfortunately we didn't win. With two races to go, we are in the lead for the championship, and that's what matters the most."

CompUSA's no.02 Lexus Riley started the VIR 400 from the 8th spot on the grid of the historic 3.27-mile track at Virginia International Raceway after the qualifying efforts of Mexican driver, Jimmy Morales.

"I am happy we are finishing races a bit stronger," said Morales. "This track is very difficult with the fast turns and slower cars and lots of traffic. We needed to be patient."

Patient was exactly what they were, as Luis Diaz took over the helm of the no.02 CompUSA Lexus Riley and got up to fourth place before some temperature issues hampered his progress and they had to settle for a fifth place finish.

"This is one of the most difficult tracks I have ever raced on, said Diaz. "There was lots of traffic and fast racing on a narrow track but I was able to catch up to the top four and battle with the No. 4 Car, but passing was difficult. We are doing well and finishing races and getting points and that's very positive."

The CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates will be back in action next weekend as they head to Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama for the Porsche 250 Presented by Bradley Arant. The second to last race of the 2004 season will be carried LIVE on SPEED Channel, beginning at 1:00 PM (ET) on Sunday, October 10th. Fans are also welcome to follow the team's progress throughout race weekends by logging on to the GrandAmerican.com website for free Zippo live timing results and are invited to keep up with the team's successes by logging onto their official website at chipganassiracing.com for news, features, photos and much more.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Luis Diaz , Max Angelelli , Jimmy Morales , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing