Phoenix: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

Max Papis and CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Battles Through Traffic to Finish 2nd in Phoenix Phoenix, Arizona, April 9th, 2004 -- The CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates drivers battled their way through tight traffic...

Max Papis and CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Battles Through Traffic to Finish 2nd in Phoenix

Phoenix, Arizona, April 9th, 2004 -- The CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates drivers battled their way through tight traffic all night, with the #01 team of Scott Pruett and Max Papis crossing the finish line in second place. The #02 Lexus-Riley drivers, Jimmy Morales and Luis Diaz, followed closely behind, finishing in fourth position.J "We played our plan perfectly," said #01 driver Scott Pruett, who drove the second half of the race. "We got a little tripped up because there were a lot of yellows at the start, which other teams could take advantage of. Our strategy was to make one stop; unfortunately a caution didn't come back to help us."

Both the #01 and the #02 Lexus-Riley's were forced to pit under a long green flag run around lap 80, four tires, fuel, and driver changes. Unfortunately, a caution on lap 86 came too quickly after pit stops and put the teams at a disadvantage. "The CompUSA guys did a terrific job to get us in and out very quick on the pit stop," Pruett said. "We managed to keep our lap, which was big. Then we just worked our way back through traffic, and at the end it came down to a shoot out."

Max Papis led the first half of the race in the #01 Lexus-Riley. "The beginning of the race was very hectic because of all the yellows and the traffic that was out there. We ended up second and I think that it was just a matter of track position at the end," Papis said. "We should be very proud because we are creeping up in the championship points. The team is still new to the series and we are working on the learning curve. Everyone at Ganassi Racing knows how to win, and this is just the beginning."

Drivers of the #02 Lexus-Riley, Jimmy Morales and Luis Diaz, teamed up to finish fourth in only their second race in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. After the 2 hour and 45 minute race Morales said, "We fought to the end, but our car was too loose. This is the best finish we've had, but we hate to loose."

Rookie driver Luis Diaz gained valuable experience during tonight's race. "This was my first time to race at night," said Diaz. "The conditions we're very difficult tonight with traffic. The track changed a lot from practice this morning to the race tonight. I'm very proud to be part of this CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team. I think with a little bit of experience, we are going to be very good."

Veteran driver Scott Pruett knows that his new team is off to a strong start. "This is the first year for Chip Ganassi Racing (with Felix Sabates) in this series, and the guys that beat us have been in this series for many, many years," Pruett pointed out. "That says a lot for the high caliber of the team." Team co-owner, Chip Ganassi knows his team is up against a lot of experience. "We're certainly happy that we finished second and fourth," Ganassi said. "In racing there are battles and wars, today we lost the battle, but we are in it for the war."

The war will continue, as the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team will now return to the shop in Indianapolis to prepare for their next battle at Le Circuit Mont-Tremblant, Canada to be held on May 23.

-cgr/mp-

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