Laguna Seca: Lexus race report

PRUETT, ROJAS GIVE LEXUS FIFTH STRAIGHT PODIUM AT LAGUNA ROLEX MONTEREY, Calif. (May 17, 2008) -- Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas drove the ...


MONTEREY, Calif. (May 17, 2008) -- Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas drove the #01 Telmex Lexus to their fifth consecutive top-three podium finish with a third-place today in the Rolex Sports Car Series' 250 at Laguna Seca Raceway.

In a race marred by yellow flags, the duo used an off-sequence pit strategy to work their way to second just after the mid-way point of the race. Pruett, seeking the team's fourth win of the 2008 campaign, then dove under Cristiano da Matta on a Lap 69 re-start to move into the lead. The 2005 Rolex Series champion then held the point position for the next six laps. As Pruett battled Marc Goosens for the lead, third-place Ryan Dalziel was the beneficiary as he dove under the two leaders to take the lead, subsequently dropping Pruett to his eventual third-place finishing position.JThe third-place showing gives the team three wins, a second and a third in the season's first five races. They maintain their lead in both the Drivers and Team championships with a 19-point advantage over second. Likewise, Lexus continues to lead the hotly-contested Manufacturer's Championship by 10 points. No less than four different manufacturers placed in the top-five today with BMW, Porsche and Pontiac all joining Lexus.

The #3 Southard Motorsports Lexus driven by Shane Lewis and Bill Lester were in contention for a top-five finish before a mis-hap in the pits dropped them back in the field. Lewis had climbed as high as third-place and was running in the top-five when his car slid through some gravel on the way into his pit and ended up a little too close to the pit wall, hindering the team's stop as Bill Lester climbed into the car. They would eventually place 12th.

The Rolex Sports Car Series returns Saturday, June 7 for the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen in a race that will be televised live on SPEED.

Memo Rojas, #01 Telmex Lexus: "The car was alright today. I don't think we have the fastest car today, but we have a good race car. The Lexus engine ran very well. It's tough to pass without taking chances and we really can't afford to take big chances because we're doing well in the championship and can't afford to risk that. This track is about track position, and we went out of sequence with our pit decisions, so it was really more about strategy. Traffic was very tough with the GT cars."

Scott Pruett, #01 Telmex Lexus: "We just ran our race. We knew what we wanted, strategy-wise. You never know how it's going to turn out. There were actually less cautions at the start of the race than we had expected, and probably more cautions at the end of the race than we had expected. It had to be great for the fans because we kept jamming it up and we would be in line -- all the top Daytona Prototypes cars -- and all hell broke loose for a couple of laps until we stretched it out. Our goal is to finish on the podium every race. That's what our goal is for the whole season. So far we have been doing what we needed to do. We didn't have the fastest car today, but we made the most of it and everybody did a great job."

Shane Lewis, #3 Southard Motorsports Lexus: "Our first run was awesome. This Lexus Riley was just a great car to drive. Obviously, there was a lot of traffic out there and the track was pretty dirty and we had to be really careful. Our race strategy was perfect and we were able to make our way to the front. Unfortunately, on our last pit stop, I slid through some gravel in the pit ahead of us and just got a little too close to the wall and ended up costing us spots. So I put Bill in a really tough spot with the positions I lost."

-credit: lexus

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Shane Lewis , Ryan Dalziel , Scott Pruett , Memo Rojas , Bill Lester , Cristiano da Matta