LEXUS PLACES 5-6-7 AT MONTREAL GRAND-AM MONTREAL, Canada (August 3, 2007 - Lexus-powered cars finished fifth, sixth and seventh in the Rolex Sports Car Series' first-ever run at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada on...
LEXUS PLACES 5-6-7 AT MONTREAL GRAND-AM
MONTREAL, Canada (August 3, 2007 - Lexus-powered cars finished fifth, sixth and seventh in the Rolex Sports Car Series' first-ever run at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada on Friday.
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas combined for fifth in the #10 Telmex Lexus-Riley, while Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri teamed to place sixth in the #60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley, and Mark Wilkins and Burt Frisselle were seventh in their #61 Exchange Traded Gold Lexus-Riley.
The #6 Playboy-liveried Lexus-Riley driven by John Pew and Ian James placed 11th, with the Southard Motorsports' #3 PLP Lexus-Riley piloted by Shane Lewis and Randy Ruhlman in 15th. The only Lexus-powered car that wasn't running at the finish was the #19 Z-Line Designs/Make-A-Wish Lexus-Riley of Michael Valiante and Rob Finlay. Valiante was running in the top-10 late in the event before getting together with the #75 car driven by Colin Braun, ending the #19's day prematurely in the 16th position.
After running this weekend with the NASCAR Busch Series, the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series continues next weekend at Watkins Glen International on Friday, Aug. 10 in conjunction with the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series.
- With today's fifth-place finish, Scott Pruett retains a two-point lead in the Driver's Championship. The effort marked the 16th consecutive top-10 finish for the #01 Lexus, and also gave the team its ninth top-five finish in 11 races this season.
- With a sixth today, Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson now have registered five consecutive top-10 finishes and have been in the top-six in three straight races. The team also moved up into sixth-place in the team championship.
- Mark Wilkins earned AIM Autosport's best-ever qualifying effort on Friday morning with a fifth. That showing marked the team's fifth straight top-10 qualifying effort. With a seventh in the race, the team earned its first top-10 finish since Laguna Seca in May.
- Four Lexus-powered teams remain in the top-10 in the point standings. The #01 Chip Ganassi Racing team is first, followed by the two Michael Shank Racing efforts, with the #60 in sixth and the #6 in a tie for seventh. AIM Autosport currently holds down the tenth position.
Oswaldo Negri, #60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: "The team called a great race for us today. I could tell that the guys behind me were getting desperate at the end, so I had to just make sure I kept enough distance from them to keep them from doing anything aggressive. The car kept getting better even though we didn't have new tires at the end, so I could make up some of that ground we lost when we got spun. Mark had a great day today. His qualifying was outstanding and watching him run where he was at the start was great, I was really proud of his effort today."
Mark Patterson, #60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: b^0x001c(On his great start that moved him into fifth) That was really something, to look forward and see that there were just four cars ahead! The guys ahead were already getting into each other in the first corner, and I knew that the other lane had more grip, so I was able to just clear them on the inside no problem. I had to fight to hold onto the position, but eventually they found a weakness and pounced on it. But the car was great and I had a ball running like we did today."
Ian James, #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: "We had a pretty big understeer and just struggled with the traction, so it was challenging. That one restart really hurt us, but I had no choice but to back out of it, and I was trapped on one line, but everyone went inside and there was nothing I could do. So it was disappointing, but at least I got a couple spots at the end of the race trying to salvage a top ten."
John Pew, #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: b^0x001cI had a good battle going with Rob (Finlay) and Jim (Matthews), but it was pretty hard to pass around here. It's too bad to not keep the top-tens going, but I'm looking forward to the Glen. I've never driven the short course there, but I know this team has been fast so hopefully we can keep moving up in the championship there."
Burt Frisselle, #61 Exchange Traded Gold Lexus-Riley: "It was a long stint, but it wasn't too hard because there were lots of yellows. It was a great team result. Mark's been so quick this weekend -- he really showed me around this place. He did a great job in qualifying and then the team called the best strategy of the race -- I don't think anyone else called the strategy we did -- and it was perfect. I've got to thank the team and Exchange Traded Gold and all our supporters. Today we had a great car and it showed in the result."
Mark Wilkins, #61 Exchange Traded Gold Lexus-Riley: "It's great for the team! Maybe it's something about having races outside the U.S. -- Mexico was seventh, Canada was seventh, and those are two of our best results this season. It was unfortunate there was so much caution, but it really paid off for us today. To stop so early for fuel and to be here seventh is awesome. The team did a great job, as always. Thanks to Telus Mike Network for their Ultimate Road Trip adventure to Montr0x00e9al and RBC for their contribution. We really appreciate their support and we're glad to give them a good result. We'll take this momentum to Watkins Glen next week and hopefully we can pound out another solid result."