Chevrolet teams take class wins as Pruett and Rojas earn 2012 title

Ricky Taylor held off a hard-charging Antonio Garcia to win the final Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series race of the season Saturday at Lime Rock Park. It was the third victory of the year for Taylor and teammate Max Angelelli and the SunTrust Corvette DP squad’s third straight win at Lime Rock.

“We made a lot of changes to the car after qualifying,” explained Taylor. “At the beginning of the race, I was just hoping for a podium. But as soon as I saw Max (early in the race), I knew we had a car that could win the race. After a really tough year, it’s nice to have a good result. I’m so happy to be back winning races.”

After a really tough year, it’s nice to have a good result.

Ricky Taylor

Garcia and pole sitter Richard Westbrook crossed the finish line second in the Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP, .334 seconds behind Taylor. The Gainsco Corvette DP shared by Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney ended up third, followed by the two Action Express Corvette DPs.

By finishing seventh, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won the Daytona Prototype drivers’ championship for the third consecutive season and the fourth time in five years. Pruett and Rojas, in their Chip Ganassi Racing BMW, have dominated the Rolex Series in the last few years, winning at least five races in each of their previous championship seasons (six in 2008, nine in 2010, and five in 2011). But this year they won only twice, once at Road America and once at Montreal, where they scored the 150th victory for Chip Ganassi Racing in Grand-Am, NASCAR and major open-wheel competition.

“It’s great to be champions,” explained Pruett. “It’s just been an incredibly difficult and challenging season. We’ve had to really dig deep with all of the experience on the team. We didn’t have the fastest many times during this whole year, but scrapped to get every point that we could in order to try to put ourselves in good position for the championship.”

Pruett now has a record-setting five Daytona Prototype drivers’ titles and Rojas has four. Chip Ganassi Racing can now add a sixth Grand-Am title to its nine Indy Car titles.

# 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R: John Edwards, Robin Liddell
# 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R: John Edwards, Robin Liddell

Photo by: Jackie Buys

Pruett and Rojas entered the race 13 points ahead of Starworks Motorsports Ford of Ryan Dalziel in the drivers’ standings. To win the title, they needed to drive for 30 minutes each and finish at least ninth in the 10-car Daytona Prototype field. That sounded like an easy task, but early contact with the Gainsco car that led to rear bodywork damage and several subsequent encounters with two of the three Starworks entries in the race could have enabled to Dalziel to snatch the title away from them. Instead, the bodywork damage was never an issue and Dalziel finished sixth in the race and second in the championship.

BMW powered Ganassi Racing to the drivers’ title, but Chevrolet walked away with the manufacturers’ title in the Daytona Prototype class. Riley won the chassis manufacturers’ title.

Robin Liddell passed Andy Lally’s Porsche GT3 Cup with less than two minutes left the race to win the GT class for the third time this season. Liddell’s Camaro GT.R finished 3.677 second ahead of the APR Motorsport Audi R8 driven by Dion von Moltke and Jim Norman. Lally ran out of gas before the checkered flag, ending up seventh.

“I just tried to keep the pressure on (Lally),” said Liddell. “Our tires had gone off pretty bad also. I was sliding around and he was sliding around. I was just looking for any chance to get along side of (Lally). But it didn’t happen until he ran out of fuel because he was driving so well.”

Ferrari clinched the manufacturers’ title with a third-place finish by the Scuderia Corso 458 shared by Alessandro Balzan and Johannes van Overbeek. Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato won the GT class drivers’ and team championship after the last race at Laguna Seca. They scored three wins this year in the AIM Autosport Ferrari 458.

Story by: Pat Jennings

#01 Telmex Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW-Riley: Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas
#01 Telmex Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW-Riley: Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas

Photo by: Greg Nichols

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Ryan Dalziel , Antonio Garcia , Jon Fogarty , Scott Pruett , Robin Liddell , Emil Assentato , Andy Lally , Max Angelelli , Memo Rojas , Johannes van Overbeek , Chip Ganassi , Jeff Segal , Alessandro Balzan , Richard Westbrook , John Edwards , Felix Sabates , Dion von Moltke , Ricky Taylor , Jim Norman
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing , Starworks Motorsports , Stevenson Motorsports
Article type Race report
Tags angelelli, chevrolet, edwards, featured, jennings, liddel, lime rock, taylor