Lexus Powers Papis/Pruett To Victory, Rolex Series Crown FONTANA, Calif. (Oct. 31, 2004) -- Needing a victory to clinch the Rolex Series title, Lexus-powered drivers Max Papis and Scott Pruett led 81 of 89 laps on the way to a dominating victory...
Lexus Powers Papis/Pruett To Victory, Rolex Series Crown
FONTANA, Calif. (Oct. 31, 2004) -- Needing a victory to clinch the Rolex Series title, Lexus-powered drivers Max Papis and Scott Pruett led 81 of 89 laps on the way to a dominating victory in Sunday's Lexus Grand American 400K to win the 2004 Grand American Rolex Series championship at the California Speedway.
The CompUSA Ganassi Racing drivers led a parade of Lexus-powered entries across the finish line as the manufacturer powered five of the top seven finishers. Darren Manning and Scott Dixon placed third to make it two Ganassi cars on the podium while running a one-off following the conclusion of their IndyCar Series campaign. Didier Theys and Jan Magnussen finished fifth in their Doran-Lista Racing Lexus, with Jimmy Morales and Luis Diaz sixth in the third CompUSA Ganassi Lexus, and Oswaldo Negri and Burt Frisselle teamed to bring home the Michael Shank Racing Lexus in seventh.
"Everybody at CompUSA Ganassi Racing and Lexus wanted this championship very badly," said Papis. "It's a fantastic feeling. The whole team worked so hard and it's great to bring them a championship and to give Lexus its first (Rolex Series) championship."
After starting from the pole for the 11th time in 12 races, Papis and Pruett pulled away from the field early and gave up the lead just once during the race -- from Lap 68 through Lap 75 -- while serving a 30-second penalty in the pits for a pit lane fuel hose violation. Fittingly, the only other car to lead the race was the #02 CompUSA of Morales and Diaz. A flat tire cost the duo a chance at second, but their sixth-place showing was good enough to give Morales sixth in the series points race, while Diaz was ninth. Didier Theys placed eighth.
In addition to winning the driver's championship, the #01 CompUSA Lexus also took the team points title in Ganassi Racing's first season of sports car competition. The Pruett and Papis duo also led the series in laps led with 650 -- more than double the total registered by their nearest competitors.