Mid-Ohio: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

Third Win a Charm for CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing at Mid-Ohio Lexington, OH, August 7th, 2004-- After the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver Max Papis put the No. 01 CompUSA Lexus Riley on the pole at the EMCO Gears...

Third Win a Charm for CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing at Mid-Ohio

Lexington, OH, August 7th, 2004-- After the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates driver Max Papis put the No. 01 CompUSA Lexus Riley on the pole at the EMCO Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic, the sixth time in seven races this season, posting a new Daytona Prototype track record while he was at it, he and co-driver Scott Pruett combined to give the team their third win of the season. Making it an even more successful race weekend for CompUSA was the No.2 Lexus Riley's third place finish with drivers Luis Diaz and Jimmy Morales, tying their best result to date and giving the team their second double podium of the year.

The No.01 CompUSA Lexus Riley nearly led the race from start to finish, only relinquishing the lead for just a few laps after a close call with another car and debris that eventually sent Max Papis into the pits for some quick adjustments. During the stop, the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing crew got teammate Scott Pruett into the car and back on track in the lead.

"We had an extremely close call on Turn 1 but we were very lucky as it was a matter of millimeters," says Max Papis of the incident with a backmarker hesitating on whether to go left or right to avoid debris and had him putting the car half way onto the grass to avoid disaster. "We had a really fast pace in the beginning, and unfortunately, that problem affected our rhythm. I think this whole weekend has been about teamwork. The team has been working to make improvements on the car, and we knew from Daytona, we had to work harder. Lexus has put in a lot of hours and working really hard in maximizing everything we could. It was a satisfying and really important day for Chip Ganassi Racing as whole. We went into the race inspired by the team's Nascar driver Casey Mears's pole setting performance earlier in the day. Add to that to our win and a third place finish and I think we can all say we are proud to be part of such a great organization."

The win was doubly satisfying for Scott Pruett who put in double duty this weekend by taking part in both the Rolex Grand Am Series event in Mid-Ohio and NASCAR's Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis, traveling back and forth between the two events, and following an accident in Friday's Nascar practice, dealt with soreness in this left ribcage throughout the EMCO Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic.

"As long as we were under green, I was OK because you've got enough adrenaline pumping you don't feel it but under the yellow, it was killing me," says Pruett who himself has put the No.1 car on pole four times this year. "Victory takes the edge off. The car was good. I ran on Thursday, Max ran on Friday and we made some changes to it. I asked the car to go fast and it went fast. When you're going for a shoot out like that, you're going ten tenths.

The victory allows the No.01 duo to extend their lead in the Daytona Prototype championship standings to 22 points (218-196) after seven of 12 races.

From their fifth place starting position on the grid, no.02 Lexus Riley drivers Luis Diaz and Jimmy Morales, methodically worked their way through the field after falling back to 16th overall after an early pitstop, and eventually putting themselves back among the frontrunners and nose to tail behind their No.01 teammates with four laps to go.

But with just minutes remaining in the timed race, the no. 2 car of Andy Wallace and Milka Duno passed the No. 02 CompUSA Lexus Riley on the final restart to steal a second place finish from their grasp. Had there been a chance to hold them off, Luis Diaz certainly would have, but the young Mexican driver let experience overrule his desire.

"I knew my tires were a lot older than theirs and I was having some problems with the power steering and one of our tires, so I didn't really feel the car was strong enough to take that kind of a risk," says Diaz who has been on a steep learning curve in this his rookie season in the Rolex Sports Car Series. "Jimmy (Morales) and I put in so much effort to get that far it would have been nice to gain one more spot but we're happy with the third place finish. Teamwork got us across the finish line this week. We were lucky in some things, and not very lucky in others. Jimmy did a great job, but not only in the race. He's a big help to me with the car and finding a good set-up, and I'm very happy for everybody. We are a real team, we are friends, and we are a family. We have five races to go, so we have to take the lessons we've learned here and build for the next race."

The CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team will try to extend their winning streak next Friday, August 12th and 13th for the Sahlen's 200 at The Glen as the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series will make its second stop at Watkins Glen International, the site of the CompUSA team's second win and first double podium of the year.

Throughout the 2004 season, fans of CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates are invited to follow the team's progress by logging onto their official website at www.chipganassiracing.com for news, features, photos and much more.

-cgr-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Milka Duno , Casey Mears , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Luis Diaz , Jimmy Morales , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing