TELMEX AND PRUETT STILL LEAD CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER MONTREAL MONTREAL, Quebec (Aug. 3, 2007)-Cautions and carnage proved to be the most influential factors in the inaugural Montreal 400k for the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) No.01...
TELMEX AND PRUETT STILL LEAD CHAMPIONSHIP AFTER MONTREAL
MONTREAL, Quebec (Aug. 3, 2007)-Cautions and carnage proved to be the most influential factors in the inaugural Montreal 400k for the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (CGRFS) No.01 TELMEX and No.19 Z-Line Designs/Mission Residential cars; a late yellow flag caused the race to end with a green/white and checkered that did not allow Pruett to get a last-minute run on the competition from fifth place on the restart. Causing the final fifth caution of the day, Valiante's run ended on lap 63 after making contact with No.75 Colin Braun on the front straightaway and through turn one where he was forced to pull the car off the track.
Cautions highlighted Pruett's run at the famed Circuit Gilles Villeneuve; he assumed the helm of the No.01 TELMEX DP on the first of five cautions on lap 13 of 69 of the timed two-and-a-half hour race. Pruett was able to maneuver the car to a race-high third place by lap 41 shortly after a pit stop during the race's third caution (lap 34). Pruett's charging pace was disturbed after the fourth restart (lap 53), when he expressed via team radio, "I can't make a move or a take a look (on the four front-runners)" and fought to maintain his fifth position throughout the remainder of the timed event.
The late race accident with Braun was not the only carnage the No.19 Lexus-Riley machine endured. After the second restart on lap 29, the No.19 CGRFS team was forced to make an unexpected pit stop for a damaged right rear tire on the following lap. The team remained confident that the stop would not hurt them too much. Valiante methodically worked his way through traffic to ninth with the prospect that other competitors would fall off at the end of race, yet the team's strategy was cut short after contact with No.75 ended their day.
The championship battles for the No.01 TELMEX team and Pruett are shaping out to be a tight point race that will be decided in the remaining three Rolex races in Watkins Glen, Sonoma, and Salt Lake City. Both the team and driver advantages for CGRFS are 2 markers (319 and 324 points) above their closest competition in the No.10 Sun Trust entry.
Up next for the No.01 and No.19 CGRFS team is Round 12 of 14 races at Watkins Glen International Speedway in Watkins Glen, New York on Friday, August 10th at 6:30 p.m. Television coverage airs on SPEED Channel at 8:00 p.m. ET on August 10th (Tape Delay).
CGRFS Driver Quoteboard
SCOTT PRUETT: "I feel that we got the most out of the car that we could today. We needed that extra horsepower to get around the top runners in the last portion of the race. The Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates No.01 TELMEX team worked hard all weekend in Montreal and we were all hoping to finish with a podium to secure our points lead over the No.10 and No.99. This weekend was very busy as I was running both the Grand-Am and Busch car. Coming here for the first time (as a driver and for the Rolex series) was certainly a great experience and I am looking forward to a strong performance in the No.41 Juicy Fruit ® Busch car tomorrow."
MEMO ROJAS: "We all wanted a stronger finish to the day in Montreal. We just weren't the fastest car today; but we worked hard to leave with valuable championship points. Personally, I was upset by some of the driving by (Christian) Fittipaldi (minor contact in turn two). Scott drove the car well, as we were back to eighth at one point and he was able to get up to third for a good run in the race. I'm looking forward to a strong finish at Watkins Glen next week, so we can have a good position in the championship going into the final part of the season."
MICHAEL VALIANTE: "My hopes were really high for a good finish in Montreal this weekend since I had raced here in the past (Atlantics 2001-2003) and had done well then. The tire problem after the lap 29 restart did slow us down a bit. The car felt good at the beginning of the race, but the balance didn't feel right toward the middle to end of the race. Then, the contact with Braun was definitely not the way we wanted our day to end. The CGRFS guys did a great job working with the car and trying to setup the best car for the race, especially since my time was divided between both the Rolex and NBS cars. We ended Busch practice P2 today, so I'm looking forward to a strong run tomorrow."