VIR: Lexus preview

LEXUS TAKES HOT STREAK INTO VIR 400 TORRANCE, Calif. (April 18, 2006) -- Fresh off a victory at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Lexus will attempt to win its fourth Daytona Prototype race in five Grand American Rolex Sports Cars Series...

LEXUS TAKES HOT STREAK INTO VIR 400

TORRANCE, Calif. (April 18, 2006) -- Fresh off a victory at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, Lexus will attempt to win its fourth Daytona Prototype race in five Grand American Rolex Sports Cars Series events this season when the green flag falls for Sunday's VIR 400k at the Virginia International Raceway.

With a pair of victories and a third-place finish in the last three races, the Ganassi Racing tandem of Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz have taken over the series points lead in their #01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley. The duo are the defending race champions, having won at VIR last October after starting from the outside of the front row.

"Last year, we had a car capable of winning pretty much the whole weekend -- the Lexus power was excellent," said Pruett. "We needed that win to keep our chances alive to have a shot at the title in Mexico City. So in some respects, that was our most important win of the year. VIR is a great layout, and Luis and I look forward to defending our title."

In addition to the team's victories this year at Mexico City and Long Beach with Pruett and Diaz, Ganassi Racing earned a third triumph this season at the Rolex 24 with Scott Dixon, Casey Mears and Dan Wheldon behind the wheel. The team is the most successful in Daytona Prototype history -- holding records in wins (10), poles (17) and podium finishes (24); while Pruett is the most successful Daytona Prototype pilot ever with career records for wins (9), pole positions (7) and podium finishes (19).

After struggling at Mexico and Homestead, Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson put the Michael Shank Racing (MSR) #60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley back on track with a strong fifth-place finish at Long Beach as they charged through the field from the 15th starting position. The result marked the team's second top-five finish of the season after a second at Daytona and moved Negri and Patterson into ninth-place in the season points battle.

Rounding out the MSR entries is the #6 Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing Lexus-Riley with Mike Borkowski and Paul Mears, Jr. behind the wheel. Borkowski teamed with Cort Wagner to place ninth at Long Beach and also earned a third earlier this season at Mexico City. He currently stands 13th in points.

Heading into the VIR 400, Lexus maintains a 13-point lead over Porsche in the Daytona Prototype Manufacturer's Championship. With three victories in the season's first four events, Lexus-powered entries have won 11 races and 18 pole positions in 30 Rolex Series events since entering the series in 2004.

-lexus-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Casey Mears , Scott Dixon , Scott Pruett , Luis Diaz , Dan Wheldon , Mike Borkowski , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Michael Shank , Cort Wagner
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing