Pat Jennings – Grand-Am Correspondent
Pruett, Rojas pick up win no. 150 For Chip Ganassi
John Edwards, Robin Liddell win for Stevenson Motorsports in GT
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won Saturday’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Montreal 200 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, finishing almost 23 seconds ahead of the Gainsco Bob Stallings Corvette DP shared by Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney. The victory was the second of the year for the Ganassi BMW Riley and the 150th for Ganassi Racing in all forms of motorsport.
We’ve been either hit or miss here. Today, we hit it.
“We had no idea we would dominate like this,” said Pruett, who passed Ryan Dalziel’s Starworks Ford Riley on lap 32 and went on to lead the final 37 laps of the race. “The team got the car working really well and got the tires lasting longer than anyone. That’s what got us here. We haven’t had a car this good all season long, and it’s been a dogfight all season long. This victory is incredibly important for the championship. We felt Montreal would be the most difficult race of the final three of the season. We’ve been either hit or miss here. Today, we hit it.”
Pruett and Rojas now hold an 18-point lead over Dalziel in the Daytona Prototype class with two races left in the season. Dalziel finished eighth after being penalized for rough driving with just under half an hour to go in the race. The penalty came as Dalziel was dicing for third with SunTrust Racing’s Ricky Taylor. Taylor and Max Angelelli came home fifth.
After starting from the pole, Gurney and Fogarty finished second for the third time this season. “It was a very tough race for sure, we had to keep a strong pace the whole time, and it was just a shame we got a little bit behind on one of our first stops,” Gurney said. “I had a problem when I got in the car, I lost maybe a second or two, it was a good stop by the crew, but from that point we knew we were going to be in trouble. We were kind of stuck there in fifth place for a long time and when it came time to do the next stop to go to the end, the guys decided the only way we were going to make up positions was to stay on the same tires. I didn’t necessarily like it but it was the right strategy decision and it worked out OK.”
The two Action Express entries ended up third and fourth.
In the GT class, Robin Liddell and John Edwards led all but two laps en route to their second win of the year in the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R. Liddell finished just over half a second in front of the AIM Autosport Ferrari 458 driven by Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal. Wayne Nonnamaker and Dane Cameron finished third in the Team Sahlen Mazda RX-8.
“At the end of the day, we’ve had a good record here,” said Liddell. “The team did a great job.”
Assentato and Segal now hold a 29-point lead over Paul Dalla Lana in the GT drivers’ championship. Dalla Lana lost ground to the Ferrari tandem thanks to a crash in the Turner Motorsports BMW.