Birmingham: Toyota Lexus race report

Alabama Rains Wash Away Lexus Hopes For Victory; Three Lexus Cars in Top Five at Barber 250 BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Oct. 11, 2004) - After breaking the previous track record by almost four seconds on Saturday, Max Papis and Lexus saw its advantage...

Alabama Rains Wash Away Lexus Hopes For Victory; Three Lexus Cars in Top Five at Barber 250

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (Oct. 11, 2004) - After breaking the previous track record by almost four seconds on Saturday, Max Papis and Lexus saw its advantage for Sunday's Barber 250 washed away with the rain, although he and co-driver Scott Pruett went on to place third and earn their seventh top-three finish of the season as Lexus-powered cars finished third, fourth and fifth.

In addition to setting the new track speed record in qualifying, Papis, Pruett and the #01 CompUSA Ganassi Racing Lexus team also established a new Rolex Series record with 10 pole positions in their 11 races this season.

The race started on a high note with Papis leading the first 23 laps, but the treacherous conditions hampered his ability to pull away. He eventually gave up the lead while making a pit stop, but the conditions and numerous caution flags held back their charge through the field with the pair eventually settling for third-place. In the process, Papis and Pruett continue to lead the championship, but their advantage has dwindled to just three points.

"We had to set a conservative pace, everyone behind us was able to use our car as a reference for braking points, and that made this very difficult for us," Papis added. "We had a lot to lose because any small mistake could have taken us out of the championship. That's racing and in the end it was a great race in difficult conditions. I don't ever remember driving on slicks in wet conditions for so long. We come out of this race only leading by three points, but the fact remains we're still the ones to beat."

While Papis and Pruett continue to hold on for the championship, their CompUSA Ganassi Racing teammates Jimmy Morales and Luis Diaz in the #02 Lexus continue to battle to move up in the standings after a fourth-place finish - the duo's third straight top-five showing. Morales is in sixth-place overall heading into the Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend.

Right behind Morales in sixth-place is Didier Theys, who co-drove his Doran-Lista Racing Lexus to a fifth-place finish along with Andrea Montermini. After switching to "wet" tires late in the event, it appeared that Montermini might have a shot at the victory, but after passing his way into the top four, the track conditions caught up with him as he spun off the track before recovering for fifth.

For the second consecutive race, Michael Shank Racing's Oswaldo Negri and Burt Frisselle were running in the top six before an incident with a lapped GT car prematurely ended their race.

The season-ending Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend at the California Speedway is scheduled for Oct. 31. The race will be shown live on SPEED beginning at noon eastern.

-toyota-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Didier Theys , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Luis Diaz , Burt Frisselle , Jimmy Morales , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Michael Shank
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing