MIENTRAS QUE EN MEXICO, LLAMEME SOLAMENTE EN TELMEX After winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the GAINSCO Miami Grand Prix, it's quite possible the No. 01 Telmex Lexus-Riley of Scott Pruett and a nicely maturing Memo Rojas are looking to do what...
MIENTRAS QUE EN MEXICO, LLAMEME SOLAMENTE EN TELMEX
After winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the GAINSCO Miami Grand Prix, it's quite possible the No. 01 Telmex Lexus-Riley of Scott Pruett and a nicely maturing Memo Rojas are looking to do what Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty did in 2007: dominate.
That idea was advanced Friday in Mexico City to No. 01 team manager Tim Keene, who said absolutely nothing in response but nevertheless said volumes when he just wryly smiled.
Although the GAINSCO/Bob Stallings No. 99 Pontiac-Riley won the 2007 Mexico City race (the second race on the Rolex Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 schedule), the dynamic red-car duo didn't really let 'er rip until a few races later.
To Fogarty and Gurney's everlasting credit, they fought the good fight in an uphill battle that lasted the entire 2007 season, securing the points lead "for good" just before going into the season's final race.
Pruett, the sage, relatively old "wise guy" of Rolex Series racing (if not in the world of sportscar racing), is known to focus on solid finishes as a means to win racing championships - which he did with Max Papis in capturing the 2004 Rolex Series driving championship.
It was a tone Pruett, if not Papis, set early that season.
Coming in that year among huge expectations (really, if ever there is any, Chip Ganassi is racing's "Pro From Dover") but having them muted with a relatively disappointing 10th-place Rolex 24 finish, the No. 01 CGRwF(and Jose)S car was in contention for the team's very first Rolex Series win in the waning laps of that year's Homestead-Miami Speedway race after pole-qualifier Pruett had at mid-race yielded the Lexus-Riley to Papis.
However, whilst battling for the lead in the race's waning laps, Papis tangled with Jan Magnussen, who in 2004 paired with Didier Theys in the No. 27 Doran-Lista Lexus-Doran.
The two-car action went well beyond mundane door banging (and later also made a lot of newsreels), ending with the No. 01 car limping to a seventh-place finish (the 27-car in 19th) and, in Pruett's eyes, Papis finishing at least five or six spots shy of what he likely would've otherwise accomplished had the latter driver not boxed his way around the course in tit-for-tat, multi-lap action with Magnussen.
Intercepted while making a race-end beeline to the team hauler, Pruett was visibly angry - and it wasn't in the least directed at Magnussen or the No. 27 Doran.
"We're running for a championship," Pruett said.
"Championships aren't won by doing what my teammate did out there today. Winning a championship means that one must first finish, if not in first place then by getting the best finish you can possibly get. You don't ever throw away a chance for a better finish like we did."
Compiling a 2007 Daytona Prototype best-average finish but still losing the championship to the No. 99 GAINSCO team, the No. 01 team succeeded at being steady but again fell one spot short - Pruett's third consecutive runner-up finish in the points.
One gets the idea that the No. 01 Telmex team not only wants to win the championship, but to do so convincingly and as soon as possible.
CAN YOU SAY "SAND BAG?"
At the least, Burt Frisselle and Gabriel Gardel apparently disdain the thought.
At the same time, three syllables are starting to frequently cross the lips of those in the Rolex Series' Daytona Prototype paddock: Dallara.
Frisselle and Gardel's No. 47 BSI/CDOC/Anasten Plus Ford-Dallara made its maiden run here at Mexico, raising more than a few eyebrows in the process by posting some of the opening-day's fastest times - having such an impact that at least a few owners of other car types are now verbally contemplating a switch.
Such only serves to remind one of the rush to Riley back in 2004 when CGRwFS and SunTrust showed up and made similar inroads with the first Riley DPs.
As noted above, Pruett and Papis went on to claim that year's championship and the rush became a veritable stampede.
That one driver, car or team will dominate a racing season is as inevitable as is the sun also rising.
So, too, is at some point falling from grace. It's called "life."
The entire Frisselle family - minus one - flew in from faraway places to witness the No. 47's debut - except family patriarch, Brad, who is recovering from surgery performed this past week in Los Estados Unidos.
Of course, everyone said Brad told 'em to go.
Synergy Racing's No. 80 Oil Heat America.com Porsche GT3 Cup, crashed heavily in Thursday's practice at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
With considerable repairs being necessary and also next to impossible to perform at the track, the team withdrew from the race.
With a the April 25-27 VIRginia International Race only a week away, the team's transporter generally would've already been headed down the road to its shops.
Not in Mexico.
The Rolex Series teams here were part of a convoy (including NASCAR Nationwide Series haulers) that travels to and from the States with no independent action allowed - or even advisable over the roughly 1,400-mile roundtrip route to the Laredo, Texas, crossing point.
When Synergy finally does get turned loose sometime early next week, it at least will be making a bee line for its home base, coincidentally located at VIR.
"It's still going to make for some long days to get ready to race," Synergy's Cole Scrogham said. "But, that's racing."
Mark Wilkins and Brian "I-Ain't-Burt" Frisselle and their AIM Autosport No. 61 Exchange Traded Gold/Mike Direct Ford Riley just might win the Mexico City race later today. A lot of people in the paddock are starting to take notice of the team.
Should the No. 61 not win here, it's only a matter of time before it does.
DC Williams, exclusively for Motorsport.com