Birmingham: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

CONSISTENCY PAID OFF WITH TOP-5 FINISH AT BARBER FOR TEAM TELMEX BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 22, 2007)- In the midst of a close championship battle compounded with only four Rolex races remaining in the 2007 season, TELMEX drivers Scott Pruett and...

CONSISTENCY PAID OFF WITH TOP-5 FINISH AT BARBER FOR TEAM TELMEX

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 22, 2007)- In the midst of a close championship battle compounded with only four Rolex races remaining in the 2007 season, TELMEX drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas were able to gain valuable points from their fifth place finish in the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park. Consistency remained the focus of the CGRFS team's race strategy; throughout the timed 99-lap event, the No.01 Lexus-Riley did not run any lower than seventh among the seventeen-car field and still are atop the driver (Pruett) and team championship standings.

The No.19 Z-Line Design/Mission Residential Lexus-Riley piloted by Rob Finlay and Michael Valiante did not fare as well as their No.01 teammates in The Magic City. A broken drive shaft served as the culprit that ended the team's day on Lap 45 while Valiante was making steady progress through traffic, running in twelfth place after an early driver change and pit stop on Lap 11. The potential for a strong finish was high for the CGRFS team, especially since the orange and black machine consistently ran among the top-3 lap times during Thursday and Friday's practices.

A damaged rear spoiler from contact after the green flag and driver exhaustion headlined Rojas' 46-lap stint; the TELMEX team worked diligently to temporarily fix the problem, which did not hinder the No.01's overall performance. When Pruett took the helm, he maintained good track position, which enabled him to move from seventh to fifth place and to stay on pace with the third and fourth place Daytona Protoypes. After the final full-course yellow on Lap 65, the No.99 and No.75 leaders pulled away from the pack and Pruett pressured the No.58 car of David Donohue for fourth, but timing between the two did not align enough for Pruett to make a pass.

Returning to Indianapolis for a week off in the Rolex schedule, the No.01 team retains their hold on the driver and team championship titles, by an advantage of 11 and 13 marks over their closest rivals, No.10 (Max Angelelli) and No.99 (Gainsco Racing).

SCOTT PRUETT "The car ran good today, and we got what we could out of it. It actually was faster than it may have looked (to an observer). The TELMEX Ganassi team worked hard and did a great job all weekend, through practice and in race preparation, to give us a car that could run up front. At this point in the season, my focus is on winning the championship, and at the end of the day, it all comes down to getting the points that we need. I'm looking forward to Montreal and having a strong performance there, as well."

MEMO ROJAS: "Today's race was really physically demanding for me. I became extremely hot and overheated in the car this afternoon. Fighting exhaustion definitely takes away some of your focus on driving a flawless race. I felt that I did the best I could under the circumstances and am glad that we were able to end the day with a top-5 finish. The TELMEX Ganassi guys really did their best to give a good car today and I'm thankful for that. It will be nice to go back to Montreal (I've raced there before), and work to get the car on the podium."

MICHAEL VALIANTE: "The race certainly didn't go as we had hoped. With a broken drive shaft, there was nothing we could do to salvage the day. We ran great in Thursday and Friday practices, so it was disappointing to not race until the end. The No.19 CGRFS team did everything they could to give me a car that could run at the front. It will be nice to be home in Canada in a few weeks and I'm looking forward to a great race."

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Michael Valiante , David Donohue , Memo Rojas , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing