Daytona II: Lexus race report

PEW/JAMES LEAD WAY FOR LEXUS AT DAYTONA; PRUETT MAINTAINS POINTS LEAD DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 5, 2007) -- John Pew and Ian James drove their ...

PEW/JAMES LEAD WAY FOR LEXUS AT DAYTONA; PRUETT MAINTAINS POINTS LEAD

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 5, 2007) -- John Pew and Ian James drove their #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley to a fourth-place finish as the highest-placing Lexus-powered entry in tonight's Brumos 250 at the Daytona International Speedway.

The strong showing marked the fifth consecutive race that the #6 Lexus had placed in the top-10, withfourtop-seven finishes during that stretch. With the result, the team moved into seventh-place in the Grand-Am Team Championship.

Three more Lexus-powered prototypes also finished in the top-10 Thursday night. Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas (#01 Telmex Lexus-Riley) finished sixth, Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson were seventh (#60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley), and Rob Finlay and Michael Valiante (Z-Line Designs/Make-A-Wish Lexus-Riley) crossed the finish line in eighth.

Pruett narrowly salvaged the points lead with a strong drive through the last half of the event. The 2004 Daytona Prototype champion inherited the car in 13th-place and passed seven cars in the late-going to hold on to a four-point lead in the championship race with six races remaining.

Rounding out the Lexus contingent were Mark Wilkins and Burt Frisselle in the #61 Exchange Traded Gold Lexus-Riley in 12th, along with Randy Ruhlman and Shane Lewis, who were 13th in the #3 PLP Lexus-Riley.

The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series continues at the Iowa Speedway on July 13.

NOTES:

- Today's sixth-place finish marks the 13th consecutive top-10 showing for Scott Pruett and the #01 Ganassi Lexus -- more than an entire calendar year of never finishing out of the top-10. Pruett has finished in the top-10 in 45 of his 48 career Daytona Prototype starts.

- After struggling in their initial two races with Chip Ganassi Racing, Michael Valiante and Rob Finlay have now finished eighth or better in their last three starts with the team, including an eighth today.

- Chip Ganassi Racing has had both of its team cars finish in the top-10 in each of the last three races, while Michael Shank Racing has placed two cars in the top-10 in three of the last four.

- Four Lexus-powered teams remain in the top-10 in the point standings.JThe #01 Chip Ganassi Racing team is first, followed by the #6 Michael Shank Racing team in seventh, their teammates in the #60 Michael Shank Racing in ninth and the first-year #61 AIM Autosport squad sits in 10th.

Quotes:

Ian James, #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: ""I think it was a great team effort. Our pit stops and our in and out laps were quick, and the car just got much better after the changes Dale (Wise, MSR Technical Director) made to the car. I had a great battle with the 58 car, and was able to just track him down and then get him a comfortable distance behind me to the finish."

John Pew, #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: "It was a fantastic race. The team gave me a great car and Ian's running great right now. I love this track. I can't wait to come back here for the 24 Hours."

Oswaldo Negri, #60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: "I didn't know what happened (as he was losing a wheel while running in the top-five), I could just feel it wasn't right. We lost some time, but were able to fight back to the finish. We haven't had the break we deserve yet, but we are fighters and will just keep trying. The team is doing a great job, and so long as we are competitive like we were this weekend, good things will happen."

Mark Patterson, #60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: "It was great to be ahead of a pro driver like Rojas, who drives for a team like Ganassi, and to be holding him off like that. It's a shame what happened to Oz with the wheel - you can't win on three wheels!"

Mike Shank, Michael Shank Racing team owner: "Its too bad what happened with the 60 car because otherwise I think we'd have had two cars in the top five tonight. Ian put in another outstanding performance-he's a real game day player and this result will move us up in the points with the #6 car."

-credit: lexus motorsports

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Shane Lewis , Scott Pruett , Michael Valiante , Ian James , Memo Rojas , Burt Frisselle , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Chip Ganassi , Mark Wilkins , John Pew , Mark Patterson , Rob Finlay , Michael Shank
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing