Mexico City: Chip Ganassi Racing preview

Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas and the No. 01 TELMEX Lexus Team (Grand-Am) and the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge Team (NNS) Two for Two: Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas' win at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS) marked the Indianapolis-based team's 91st victory for...

Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas and the No. 01 TELMEX Lexus Team (Grand-Am) and the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge Team (NNS)

Two for Two: Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas' win at Homestead-Miami Speedway (HMS) marked the Indianapolis-based team's 91st victory for Chip Ganassi Racing Teams, Inc. (1990-2008). The duo's victory preceded IndyCar teammate Scott Dixon's trip to victory circle later in the evening at HMS which marked the team's 92nd win. The double-dip was the first time in the Indianapolis-based team's 18-year history they have won two races on the same day. With the Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) IndyCar team racing in Motegi, Japan, nearly 12 hours before the Rolex series race on Saturday, the team will have a unique opportunity to win two races on the same day in two different continents.

Sixteen and counting...: Pruett continued to solidify his place in the Grand-Am record books as the winningest driver with 16 career Rolex victories. He also broke the record for most winning Chip Ganassi Racing, Inc. driver with his HMS win, beating Alex Zanardi's 15 career wins under the TCGR banner.

Double-Duty: For the second consecutive year in Mexico City, Pruett will maintain the helm of the No.01 TELMEX Daytona Prototype and No. 40 Fastenal Dodge Charger for CGRFS. In Pruett's double-duty weekend last season, he returned home with two top-five finishes (fourth Rolex, fifth NNS). Pruett's track history in three race starts (two Rolex, one NNS) includes two pole positions, three top-five finishes and one win.

A Friend, Indeed: Rojas will be attending the Nationwide race on Sunday to cheer on Pruett and looks forward to supporting his teammate in any way he can. In fact, his duties include giving Pruett rides to and from the airport this weekend.

Racing through the Alphabet: Pruett and wife Judy are putting the final touches on their fourth children's book titled Racing through the Alphabet which is scheduled to be finished and ready to sell next Tuesday (April 22). The quartet of books includes 12 Little Race Cars, 12 More Little Race Cars and Rookie Racer and will be sold at select Target stores in the United States. Pruett exclaims, "this book is truly awesome. It's educational... It's fun.....Judy and I are excited to finally have it on the bookshelves!"

Pruett's NNS Stats: Pruett has a total of nine career starts in NNS competition, which include two pole positions (one that was earned last March at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in the NNS race and the other driving for Kevin Lepage at Watkins Glen (NY) International in July 2001), one top-five and three top-10 finishes. Last March was his first official NNS start for his long-time team owners Chip Ganassi and Felix Sabates, and first stock car run at the Mexico City 2.518-mile road course in a stock car in which he earned the pole position and a top-five finish. This weekend's run will mark his second stock car start at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Pruett has made a total of 11 stock car starts on road courses for CGRFS in both NNS and Sprint Cup Series, scoring one pole, four top-five finishes and six top-10 finishes.

Crew Camera Cardamone: This Sunday in Mexico City, Tony Cardamone, a native of Charleston, W.Va. and the jack man for the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge, will be featured during the Nationwide race with the coveted ESPN crew camera. The camera will give viewers a pit crewman's up-close view of Pruett's pit stops. Cardamone and the crew's perspective will be in reverse this weekend as Pruett and the team perform their stops backwards due to the unique road course design.

NNS Standings Update: In the NNS owner standings, the No. 40 Fastenal Dodge Team has scored back-to-back 11th-place finishes in the team's last two efforts--at Texas Motor Speedway and Phoenix International Raceway. The strong finishes have advanced the CGRFS NNS team a total of three positions in the NNS owner standings--into 18th place. The team is just 71 points outside the top 10 and 292 out of first.

Like Father, Like Son: One of Rojas' special guests this weekend is his father Guillermo "Memo" who shares the same passion for motorsports as his 28-year-old son. "Memo's" racing accomplishments include competing in the 1974 24 Hours of Le Mans. TCGR Managing Director Mike Hull recalls the past, "Memo's father was one of the fiercest and at the same time fairest race drivers that I ever raced against anywhere. He had enormous passion that didn't need translation."

Home Sweet Home: Rojas will not have far to travel from his residence in Mexico City to this weekend's race. Throughout his racing career he has considered Laguna Seca a home track because he lived there and mastered the track after moving to the United States to compete in the Skip Barber Dodge Series.

A Day with Memo: Memo's life has been on the rev limiter since January's Rolex 24 At Daytona win and he has changed his physical training by adding boxing to the line-up to keep him competitive. In addition, his daily life is virtually non-stop with an 8 a.m. wakeup call followed by breakfast and checking email until 10 a.m. He spends three hours at the gym each morning and returns home for lunch after training. Rojas' afternoons consist of a second workout, more email or media events in Mexico City for TELMEX. Being with friends and watching T.V. at the end of the day is finally when he unwinds...and yet, the alarm will be buzzing early the next morning.

On Two Wheels: Rojas was the guest of honor at a RedBull X-Fighters' April 4 event in Mexico City which features freestyle motocross competitions. With a crowd of 60,000 people, a video highlighting Memo's career illuminated the Plaza de Toros Monumental as the tables turned and he occupied the spectator's seat.

A Blue Entourage: Rojas plans on keeping his pre-race events with friends and family low-key as he plans to stay at the team hotel to get plenty of sleep and maintain his focus. It won't be hard to miss Memo's fans because his guest list includes about 70 friends, family and sponsors who will predictably be outfitted in blue TELMEX colors and related paraphernalia.

Memo's Progress: CGRFS Rolex Series Team Manager, Tim Keene spent time before departing for Mexico City to reflect on Rojas' development and maturity in his second season of Rolex competition. "The first thing I notice about Memo is he is much more confident -- he's been to all the tracks and knows them. Last year we spent a lot of time, about a half an hour every race, which is valuable track time, getting him to learn the track. We don't have to worry about that this year. We're able to show up at the track with Memo and get right into tuning the car and having the best qualifying and race-able car. This is huge for the team and also shows that Memo's comfort level has increased a lot in the past year. I mean last year we finished every lap and on the strength of that, plus winning the first two races already whereas we won two races in the whole season last year, we're able to move forward. Also, I see a drastic physical and mental difference in Memo this year. He is in much better physical condition this year -- we had him working specifically on physical training and he is mentally confident. The past twelve months have proven to be a beneficial maturing time for Memo and we are looking to make a great showing at his home track this weekend."

Kyle Krisiloff and the No. 41 Polaroid Team (NNS)

Krisiloff Is Right on Course: Kyle Krisiloff faired well in the NNS road course competitions in 2007, scoring a 16th-place finish (started 34th) at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez last March and a sixth-place finish (started 20th) at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve last August.

Owner Standings Update: Krisiloff and the No. 41 Polaroid team maintained their 29th-place position in the overall NNS owner standings after finishing 24th at Phoenix International Raceway last Friday night. With a current tally of 622, they are now 346 points outside the top 10 and 567 out of first.

Topic: Both of you have had different experiences with Mexico City -- Memo you will be racing for the second time in the Daytona Prototype; and Scott you have raced on the track in both DP's and NASCAR Nationwide cars. What are your feelings going into the weekend, and how is this year different than last year (or years past, Scott)?

Scott Pruett: "I don't think my feelings have changed much from prior years. I'm really looking forward to getting back into the No.40 Fastenal Nationwide car. There's no doubt it will be a busy weekend between being on-track with both cars and then spending time with each group of engineers and crew to make the fastest car in each series. Relatively speaking, we've been successful at the track with the 2006 Rolex win and top-5 finish with Memo last year as well as having a highly competitive NNS car last year. This weekend should be fun and certainly keep me on my toes."

Memo Rojas: "Well, last year I was a rookie, and Mexico City was my first sprint race of the season. I didn't know a lot of things about the competition, the car and the team. Now, everything is different. I know all of those things pretty well and with the results from last year and this year so far, I definitely have a lot more confidence."

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kevin Lepage , Scott Dixon , Alex Zanardi , Scott Pruett , Kyle Krisiloff , Gilles Villeneuve , Memo Rojas , Skip Barber , Chip Ganassi , Mike Hull
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing