ROJAS LEADS LEXUS IN HOMESTEAD QUALIFYING; WILKINS SETS NEW QUALIFYING BEST FOR AIM HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 23, 2007) -- Chip Ganassi Racing's Memo Rojas qualified the ...
ROJAS LEADS LEXUS IN HOMESTEAD QUALIFYING; WILKINS SETS NEW QUALIFYING BEST FOR AIM
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 23, 2007) -- Chip Ganassi Racing's Memo Rojas qualified the #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley seventh to place as the highest-qualifying Lexus for Saturday's Grand Prix of Miami at the Homestead-Miami Speedway. Rojas will co-drive with series points leader Scott Pruett in Saturday's race.
In addition to the Ganassi effort, Mark Wilkins made it two Lexus-powered cars in the top-10 with a ninth-place showing in the #61 Exchange Traded Gold Lexus-Riley. The result is the best-ever Daytona Prototype qualifying effort for the fledgling AIM Autosport team. Making just its fourth Grand-Am start, the team has placed in the top-seven in each of its first two races and currently ranks in fifth place. Wilkins will co-drive with Burt Frisselle, who earned a third-place at Homestead in 2004 with Lexus power.
Rounding out the Lexus-powered contingent was Mark Patterson (co-driving the #60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley with Oswaldo Negri) in 13th, Randy Ruhlman (co-driving the #3 Preformed Line Products Lexus-Riley with Shane Lewis) in 18th and Henri Zogaib (co-driving the #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley with Ian James) in 19th.
Mark Wilkins, #61 Exchange Traded Gold Lexus (after losing his power steering in qualifying): "I've never driven the car without power steering -- it's a workout and a half. But we have a great car -- ninth is a testament to how good our car really is. In two laps, to be there is pretty remarkable. We definitely had a top-five car without that little glitch, but it's better to happen in qualifying than in the race because it would have been really hard to drive the car without power steering for an hour and 15 minutes.
Mark Patterson, #60 Flight Options Lexus: "Some of this pavement is just treacherous on the tires and it takes a lot of faith sometimes to stay at full throttle in the banking. It was a challenge to get the power down in some spots even when the tires were brand new, and it only got worse as the session wore on. But these are the conditions we will be racing in tomorrow, so at least we know what well be up against."