Phoenix: Toyota Lexus preview

LEXUS GRAND-AM BATTLE CONTINUES AT PHOENIX TORRANCE, Calif. (Sept. 6, 2005) -- With just four races remaining, it's now-or-never time for Scott Pruett, Luis Diaz and the CompUSA Lexus team as the Rolex Sports Car Series heads to Phoenix ...

LEXUS GRAND-AM BATTLE CONTINUES AT PHOENIX

TORRANCE, Calif. (Sept. 6, 2005) -- With just four races remaining, it's now-or-never time for Scott Pruett, Luis Diaz and the CompUSA Lexus team as the Rolex Sports Car Series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the Phoenix 250 Saturday night.

Coming off a second-place finish at Mid-Ohio, Pruett and Diaz are now within 19 points of the series leading SunTrust team. This weekend, the pair will head to a track where they finished second a year ago and attempt to cut the lead further for the season's final three races. For the year, their #01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley has registered two wins, five top-three and eight top-five finishes in 10 races.

Pruett and Diaz aren't the only members of the Ganassi Racing team looking to rise within the point standings at Phoenix. Stefan Johansson and Cort Wagner currently sit in sixth place in their #02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley -- just one point out of the top five. A late, unscheduled pit stop at Mid-Ohio cost the duo their second podium finish of the season. Wagner drove to a third-place showing on the PIR infield road course a year ago, while Johansson is scheduled to make his first Daytona Prototype start at Phoenix this weekend.

Michael Shank Racing (MSR), which returned to the Lexus camp at Mid-Ohio with drivers Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson, will not be running this weekend in Phoenix. The team will resume action in the Crown Royal 250 at The Glen on Sept. 24. After a pole-winning 0x285cone-off0x285d earlier this year at Laguna Seca, MSR experienced mixed results at Mid-Ohio. A pair of impressive runs of second and fourth in practice opened the weekend, but a red flag in qualifying dropped the team well back on the starting grid. On race day, an early spin dropped the #60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley three laps down and into 44th place. Despite the early problems, Oswaldo Negri climbed in the car and gained 27 positions for an eventual 17th-place showing. The team is scheduled to campaign the final three races on the 2005 schedule.

Lexus-powered Daytona Prototypes have won seven races and registered 14 pole positions in 22 Rolex Series events to date.

Qualifying for the Phoenix 250 is scheduled for Sept. 9 at 6:45 p.m. EDT. Saturday's start will get the green flag at 7:00 p.m. with SPEED providing one-hour delayed coverage beginning at 8 p.m. Saturday evening. The Rolex Sports Car Series event is planned for 250 miles or 166 laps on the 1.51-mile road course with a time limit of two hours and forty-five minutes.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Stefan Johansson , Scott Pruett , Luis Diaz , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Mark Patterson , Michael Shank , Cort Wagner
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing