Long Beach: Lexus preview

LEXUS BRINGS 10-POINT MANUFACTURER'S LEAD OVER PORSCHE INTO TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH TORRANCE, Calif. (April 5, 2006) -- With five top-three podium finishes in the first three races of the season, Lexus will bring a 10-point lead in the...

LEXUS BRINGS 10-POINT MANUFACTURER'S LEAD OVER PORSCHE INTO TOYOTA GRAND PRIX OF LONG BEACH

TORRANCE, Calif. (April 5, 2006) -- With five top-three podium finishes in the first three races of the season, Lexus will bring a 10-point lead in the Daytona Prototypes Manufacturer's Championship into this weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach as the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series makes its debut performance on America's premiere street circuit.

After wins in the first two races of the season at Daytona and Mexico City, Lexus earned a top-finish of third at Homestead and will focus on returning to victory circle at Long Beach this weekend.

Leading the way is Ganassi Racing, which has earned both Lexus triumphs this season. The team will run a one-car effort featuring 2004 series champion Scott Pruett and Mexican star Luis Diaz in the #01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley. The duo won in Mexico City and placed third in Miami. For Pruett, this weekend's event marks the fourth different type of car he's driven at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach, having won in both Trans-Am and the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race and registering a second in 1995 among his nine Long Beach Champ Car events. Pruett and Diaz enter this weekend's event in third-place in the Driver's Championship.

In addition to the Ganassi entry, Michael Shank Racing will field a pair of Lexus-powered Daytona Prototypes. After a difficult race at Homestead that saw each of the entries involved in multiple incidents on the tight infield road course, they will attempt to match or surpass their earlier season efforts that saw each team register a podium finish.

The #60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley earned a second-place finish at Daytona, but has struggled since. A fluke accident at Mexico City cost the team its chassis and has forced drivers Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson to play catch-up in the last two races with a new car. The #6 Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing Lexus-Riley was on the podium at Mexico City with a third-place finish, but drivers Mike Borkowski and Kenny Wilden saw any hopes of a second straight top finish dashed quickly at Homestead when the car was spun around early and lost a lap.

Heading into the weekend, Lexus maintains a 10-point lead over Porsche in the Daytona Prototypes Manufacturer's Championship.

With a pair of victories to open the season, Lexus-powered entries have won 10 races and 17 pole positions in 29 Rolex Series events since entering the series in 2004.This weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach Grand-Am event will be televised by SPEED with same-day coverage. The 90-minute event is scheduled to see the green flag fall at 7:00 p.m. with SPEED showing the race at 9 p.m. Saturday evening. Friday's qualifying is set for 6:55 p.m. (all times Eastern).

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Luis Diaz , Mike Borkowski , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Michael Shank
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing