Trailing Krohn Racing's Jorg Bergmeister by 45 points in the Daytona Prototype drivers' championship with just three races remaining in the season, Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz entered Friday's Rolex Sports Car Series Crown...
Trailing Krohn Racing's Jorg Bergmeister by 45 points in the Daytona Prototype drivers' championship with just three races remaining in the season, Ganassi Racing teammates Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz entered Friday's Rolex Sports Car Series Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen International needing a win and some bad luck to befall Bergmeister to remain in contention for the title. And they got both, taking their fourth victory of the year in the No. 01 Lexus Riley as Bergmeister had to settle for 9th after his teammate, Colin Braun, was assessed a two-minute penalty early in the race for running into the back of the No. 12 Fernandez Racing Pontiac Riley. Pruett and Diaz now lie 32 points behind Bergmeister.
"I think the 76 car just did a bone head thing today," said Pruett, referring to Braun's brush with the No. 12 car in the early going. "I mean they should have just been playing it smart like they want to win a championship. I was pretty surprised that Colin did that, but I guess he's young. And he'll make mistakes and that's kind of the way it is.
"But it's good for us and good for the (SunTrust) car. (The championship) is still an outside chance. Our focus is to go win the last two races. And I'm sure the (SunTrust) car wants to do the same. But all in all there is no strategy. The strategy is just to try and go have some good smart, hard races and hopefully we can put the car at the front."
Despite a throttle cable problem, Max Angelelli and Ryan Briscoe came home second in the SunTrust Pontiac Riley, enabling Angelelli to close to within 29 points of Bergmeister in the championship. "Scott had some really good speed today and he was running fast," explained Angelelli after his fifth podium of the year. "I pushed hard and gave it all I had, I just couldn't catch him. I really feel lucky though because in the last 15 or 20 laps the throttle cable came loose and almost broke so I'm very happy to have second place."
The No. 23 Alex Job Racing/Emory Motorsports Porsche Crawford of Mike Rockenfeller and Patrick Long ended up third. "We started third so obviously we tried to fight for the victory," said Rockenfeller. "But I think there was really no chance speed-wise to beat the others. We lost quite a lot on the straight. Unless they didn't make any mistakes, it wasn't our chance today. And they deserved it and congratulations to them."
Indeed, after taking the lead from Guy Cosmo on Lap 43, neither Angelelli nor Long was able to mount a serious challenge to Pruett. At one point it looked the pole sitting No. 99 Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley would finally get its first victory, but any chance it had of winning was dashed on Lap 31 when Jon Fogarty stormed out of the pits with the fuel hose still attached to the car. The team was assessed a stop and go penalty and never recovered. On that same lap, the Ganassi car entered the pits in fourth - behind the 99 car, the 10 car, and the 23 car - and emerged one place behind Cosmo, who did not pit with the leaders.
Rounding out the top-five were the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus Riley and the No. 5 Essex/Finlay Motorsports Ford Crawford.
The Rolex Series returns to the track on August 26, 2006 at Infineon Raceway.