Watkins Glen III: Thursday practice report

Pruett Uses Watkins Glen Experience to Lead First Practice of Crown Royal 250 Weekend WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (September 22, 2005) -- No. 01 CompUSA/Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-driver Scott Pruett has driven many miles at historic Watkins...

Pruett Uses Watkins Glen Experience to Lead First Practice of Crown Royal 250 Weekend

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (September 22, 2005) -- No. 01 CompUSA/Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-driver Scott Pruett has driven many miles at historic Watkins Glen International in his career. One of his latest treks around the 3.4-mile course gave him the fastest lap of the first practice session for Saturday afternoon's Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Crown Royal 250 at The Glen, Round 12 of the 14-race 2005 schedule (SPEED Channel, live, Saturday, 3:00 p.m.).

After a late-session caution, Pruett conquered the upstate New York circuit in 1:46.100 (115.363 mph), edging Daytona Prototype points co-leader Max Angelelli's 1:46.189 (115.266 mph) in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley. Pruett's familiarity with the Watkins Glen long course undoubtedly played a part in today's results.

The defending Daytona Prototype co-champion finished third overall with co-driver Luis Diaz in Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen in June and fourth in the CompUSA 200 at The Glen in August. That same August weekend, Pruett placed fourth in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series SIRIUS Satellite Radio at The Glen, a race where he started from the back of the pack. In four career Rolex Series starts at The Glen, Pruett has never finished lower than fifth, claiming a victory in last year's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.

"It's a solid start to the weekend for us," said Pruett. "The car unloaded fast, and we'll have the opportunity to change the car up a little bit more before qualifying. We're making adjustments to tone down the push we're experiencing, so we should be ready to go tomorrow morning. I'm pretty happy right now, we just have to keep it up and sustain this pace."

Angelelli's success this season has been well-documented, and with the 36-point lead he shares with co-driver Wayne Taylor over Pruett and Diaz heading into this weekend, the No. 10 machine is looking for a Glen repeat. The duo claimed victory in the CompUSA 200 at The Glen three races ago.

"I'm very happy with the car," said Angelelli. "We know we have a good car here at Watkins Glen, so we will just try to improve it. It's actually very hard to improve it because the baseline is very good. As usual, the No. 01 is the car that looks like will challenge our speed more than the other. Our goal is still the same, to always be in front of the No. 01 and finish the race ahead of them."

The No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley, which was virtually rebuilt after catching fire at Phoenix International Raceway last time out, took the third spot in the session with a 1:46.206 (115.248 mph) with Alex Gurney behind the wheel. Gurney and team owner and co-driver Bob Stallings recorded their career-best Rolex Series performances in August's CompUSA 200 at The Glen with a second-place run.

The No. 67 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley recorded the fourth-quickest lap with a 1:46.477 (114.954 mph) by Nic Jonsson. Jonsson and team co-owner and co-driver Tracy Krohn were victorious in Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen in June. Butch Leitzinger recorded the fourth-fastest lap in the No. 66 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford he co-drives with Elliott Forbes-Robinson. The duo has claimed two victories this season, first in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway in July and again in the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course two races ago.

TRG'S EDWARDS AND LALLY RUN AT THE GT CLASS FRONT

In the GT class, the No. 64 and No. 65 TRG Pontiac GTO.Rs completed a sweep, with Paul Edwards in the No. 64 machine first at 1:57.498 (104.172 mph) and Andy Lally second in the No. 65 at 1:57.651 (104.037 mph). Bill Auberlen was third with a 1:57.652 (104.036 mph) in the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3.

Edwards and co-driver Jan Magnussen come into this weekend as the defending winners on two fronts. The duo has claimed two class victories this season in just three starts together. Their first victory came in the CompUSA 200 at The Glen in August and the No. 64 teammates also triumphed in the Phoenix GT 250 at PIR one race ago.

"We had the opportunity to do some testing last week at VIR," Edwards said. "We really worked on getting the car handling through the fast sweepers and it seems to be paying off here at Watkins Glen. The last time we were here we ran the short course, which is the only time that the GTO.R has run here. Jan and I will be looking to repeat our win here last month."

Rounding out the top five were Ian James in the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3 with a 1:57.894 (103.822 mph) and Joey Hand in the No. 16 BMW Team PTG M3 at 1:58.284 (103.480 mph). James is sharing the No. 22 machine with Chris Gleason this weekend while Hand and regular teammate Justin Marks pilot the No. 16 car.

The No. 80 Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup, co-driven by class points leader Craig Stanton and David Murry, were eighth-fastest in the session with a 1:58.636 (103.173 mph). Stanton's lead over Hand is just 17 points with three races remaining on the schedule.

NOTE: Milka Duno, driving the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford, made contact with the No. 05 Sigalsport Porsche GT3 Cup, which had spun and stopped in Turn 5 moments before. The No. 2 machine experienced heavy damage to its front-left and the No. 05 car had substantial left-rear damage. While the status of the No. 2 machine is still uncertain, the Sigalsport team has withdrawn the No. 05 Porsche from the Crown Royal 250 and will field its No. 04 Porsche GT3 Cup for co-drivers Gene Sigal and Matthew Alhadeff.

-garra-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Krohn Racing