COMPUSA TEAM CONVERTS MONT-TREMBLANT POLE INTO PODIUM MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, Canada (May 22, 2005) -- When the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates transporter thundered into Mont-Tremblant and unloaded at the 2.65-mile Laurentian...
COMPUSA TEAM CONVERTS MONT-TREMBLANT POLE INTO PODIUM
MONT-TREMBLANT, Quebec, Canada (May 22, 2005) -- When the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates transporter thundered into Mont-Tremblant and unloaded at the 2.65-mile Laurentian Mountain road course, the team had every intention of backing up their win from pole which served as a catalyst for consecutive victories in six-hour enduros a year ago.
Defending Rolex Series Champion Scott Pruett looked to be headed down a familiar path to his third straight win of the season with co-pilot Luis Diaz after starting on pole in the Canadian countryside. The second-year Ganassi driver jumped out to a three-plus second lead over teammate Stefan Johansson in the no.02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley sister car at the start, and maintained a strong presence in the top three for the duration of the six hour event. Although Mother Nature played a significant factor in the race, forcing numerous incidents and significantly limiting cockpit visibility, Pruett and Diaz powered on to a podium performance of third.
More importantly, the CompUSA duo cut the gap in the championship points to SunTrust Racing in half, narrowing the margin to just five (150-155) with five rounds of Rolex Series races in the books.
Pruett ran the first and final of the race's three 120-minute stints, and was leading late in the final hour when he was forced to save fuel to ensure the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley would make it to the stripe when the checkereds flew. Taking on the role of the unselfish teammate, the defending champ pulled aside when Johansson's braintrust acknowledged they had the best shot of running down eventual racewinner Any Wallace with the mileage necessary to run full-rich on fuel.
"We had a tough car today, one that could have won this race," said Pruett. "It's a shame we had to cut it so close on fuel at the end because I was hoping we'd be able to take a run at Andy for the win. But the up side to things is that we were able to cut the points lead in half and finish the race. That's what wins championships, so I guess we'll take it."
Diaz' day was eventful in that the Mexico native survived a brief off through the Turn Four grass in Hour Three of the enduro, and managed to turn the car back over to Pruett without any major mechanical hiccups.
"It was a good race for the CompUSA car," said Diaz. "We had strong pit stops all day, but the weather really played a part in how the race was run. Scott did an awesome job bringing the car home again today. The points are the most important thing to us, so I am happy with the result."
Chip Ganassi Racing teammates Cort Wagner and Stefan Johansson finished a team-best second in the Daytona Prototype class ahead of Pruett and Diaz in the no.02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley. The double-podium is the third for Chip Ganassi Racing in Daytona Prototype competition, and the first since Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course last season.
Fans of CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates can follow the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley all season long by logging onto the Rolex Sports Car Series website at www.grandamerican.com for free live timing, and keep up with the team's successes throughout the 2005 season by logging onto the official website at www.chipganassiracing.com for news, features, photos and much more. Next up for the team is the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen on Sunday, June 12 (Part I, LIVE, SPEED Channel, 10:00 am ET/ Part II, LIVE, SPEED Channel, 12:30 pm ET) at Watkins Glen International in New York for Round 6 of the Rolex Sports Car Series.