Daytona 24: Lexus Thursday report

DIXON LEADS LEXUS WITH THIRD IN ROLEX 24 QUALIFYING DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 26, 2006) -- Scott Dixon placed his Target Lexus-Riley third in qualifying to lead the Lexus contingent in preparation for Saturday's Rolex 24 at the Daytona ...

DIXON LEADS LEXUS WITH THIRD IN ROLEX 24 QUALIFYING

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 26, 2006) -- Scott Dixon placed his Target Lexus-Riley third in qualifying to lead the Lexus contingent in preparation for Saturday's Rolex 24 at the Daytona International Speedway.

Dixon, who campaigned Toyota power to the 2003 Indy Racing League title, will join Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon and NASCAR driver Casey Mears for the race.

"We probably should have been two or three tenths better, which might have given us one more spot," Dixon relayed. "The car had quite a lot of understeer and I locked up the brakes early in the run and had a bad flat spot. I think we'll be really good in the race. Even on old tires, we're still capable of running some really quick times. The key is to start up in the first three rows and avoid getting caught up in early trouble."

Oswaldo Negri gave Lexus two cars in the top-six with a six in his #60 Flight Options Lexus for Michael Shank Racing (MSR). Negri, who will team with Mark Patterson, Justin Wilson and A.J. Allmendinger for the race, hoped to start higher, but was bogged down in traffic.

"Justin Wilson and I looked at data prior to qualifying and we ran right about the exact time we thought we would," said Negri. "I thought I could have gone a couple of tenths quicker, but we got caught up on the last couple of laps -- first by some debris that was on the track after someone spun, and then on the last lap I got caught in traffic in NASCAR 1 and 2 and had to overtake a slower car on the inside. Overall, though, we're fine. We're starting sixth and it's a long race."Four other Lexus-powered cars qualified for the twice-around-the-clock extravaganza.Scott Pruett, the 2004 Daytona Prototype champion and a four-time Rolex 24 winner, qualified 11th in his CompUSA Lexus-Riley; 2003 Champ Car champ Paul Tracy placed 14th in his Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing Lexus-Riley for MSR; Christian Fittipaldi was 15th in the Crown Royal Lexus-Crawford for Cheever Racing and Stefan Johansson was 20th in the NetVu Video Lexus-Crawford in the second Cheever Racing entry. A total of 31 Daytona Prototypes are entered with 29 having qualified today.

SPEED will provide 13.5 hours of television coverage on this year's Rolex 24 at Daytona beginning at noon on Saturday January 28, and will carry all of the action through the first six hours of the race. After a two-hour break, the telecast resumes at 8:00 p.m., with coverage continuing until 11:00 p.m. ET. The third and final segment of the telecast hits the airwaves at 8:30 a.m., running through the race's conclusion.

Additional Quotes:

SCOTT PRUETT, #01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley: "We made some changes for qualifying and branched away a little from the setup we ran in practice. It ended up being the wrong decision, but we made the call based on the information we had. I'll take the blame though due to the fact that I locked up the tires early in the session. In the end it hurt us a bit in straight-line speed, so who knows how many more spots we would have gained. Overall, we have some work to do, but I'm confident the CompUSA car will be strong come Saturday."

SCOTT DIXON, #02 Target Lexus-Riley: "You know, overall I'm pleased with the car and how far we've come with it this afternoon. But I think second place was definitely within our reach. I locked up the front tires and set us back a little so that hurt us. At the start I rolled off behind the no.10 car and was having a good time pressuring him and trying to get into his head to force a mistake. I wanted to get some room to run in the clear but he didn't bite. It's the best starting spot we've had for the Target car at the Rolex 24, so I can't complain."

PAUL TRACY, #6 Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing Lexus-Riley: "One of the guys crashed this morning, so we've just kind of been scrambling ever since. We had a broken gear box and the rear end of the car was damaged, so qualifying didn't go as well as we would have liked. We were fifth or sixth with two minutes to go and ended up. It's a long race, now we just need to get the car right for tomorrow and work our way forward."

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Justin Wilson , Stefan Johansson , Christian Fittipaldi , Paul Tracy , Scott Dixon , Scott Pruett , Dan Wheldon , A.J. Allmendinger , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank
Teams Michael Shank Racing