Daytona II: Lexus preview

LEXUS TAKES SLIM MANUFACTURER'S LEAD INTO DAYTONA TORRANCE, Calif. (June 27, 2006) -- After holding a commanding Manufacturer's Championship lead through most of the season, Lexus will take a slim two-point lead into Thursday's Brumos 250 at ...

LEXUS TAKES SLIM MANUFACTURER'S LEAD INTO DAYTONA

TORRANCE, Calif. (June 27, 2006) -- After holding a commanding Manufacturer's Championship lead through most of the season, Lexus will take a slim two-point lead into Thursday's Brumos 250 at the Daytona International Speedway due to a difficult run at Mid-Ohio this past weekend.

When Scott Pruett was collected by another car spinning across the track at Mid-Ohio, it ended Lexus' chance for a potential podium finish and put a dent in a 13-point championship advantage. Fortunately, there's help on the way.

The biggest news of the week comes with open-wheel star Paul Tracy scheduled to re-join Michael Shank Racing (MSR) for his third race of the season in the team's Lexus-powered Riley. The Canadian again will partner with Mike Borkowski in the #6 Playboy Racing/Mears Motor Coach Lexus to form a combination that earned a third-place finish at Mexico, and also ran upfront in the season opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Tracy's arrival further strengthens an MSR squad that earned a pair of top-10 finishes at Mid-Ohio. Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson earned their sixth top-10 finish of the season last weekend at Mid-Ohio in the #60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley. The team's strong second-place run in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona should bode well this week.

The other new arrival on the scene this weekend is the #61 AIM Autosport Lexus-Riley entered by AIM Autosport for promising young open-wheelers James Hinchcliffe and Mark Wilkins. The Brumos 250 will be the first of three 2006 events for the team (Watkins Glen and Sonoma are the others). AIM also fields teams in Star Mazda and Formula BMW competition with both Hinchcliffe and Wilkins alumni of those programs. Wilkins will run all three races this season, while Daytona will be the lone appearance for Hinchcliffe due to conflicts with his Atlantic schedule. The 19-year-old recently won the Atlantic round at Portland.

Of course, you can't talk about the Lexus Daytona Prototype program without prominently mentioning the Ganassi Racing #01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley driven by Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz. Currently second in points, the duo have earned three wins and four pole positions this season. Pruett is the series all-time leader in career Daytona Prototype victories.

With four wins this season, Lexus-powered entries have now won 12 races and 18 pole positions in 35 Rolex Series events since entering the series in 2004.

Thursday's activities begin with two morning practices, followed by qualifying at 12:15 and the race, which will be shown live on SPEED, beginning at 7:00 p.m. (all times EDT). An IROC race will immediately follow the Rolex Series event.

-lexus/toyota-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Paul Tracy , Scott Pruett , Luis Diaz , Mike Borkowski , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Mark Wilkins , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank , James Hinchcliffe
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing