Pruett, Rojas take inaugural Iowa win

Ganassi Racing's Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, driving a Lexus Riley, ended the three-race Bob Stallings Racing winning streak on Friday evening at the 1.3-mile, nine-turn Iowa Speedway, leading 105 of 192 laps en route to their second Rolex Sports...

Ganassi Racing's Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, driving a Lexus Riley, ended the three-race Bob Stallings Racing winning streak on Friday evening at the 1.3-mile, nine-turn Iowa Speedway, leading 105 of 192 laps en route to their second Rolex Sports Car Series victory of the year. Pruett finished 0.325 seconds ahead of the second Ganassi entry of Michael Valiante and Rob Finlay - career best finishes for both drivers. He now holds a 15-point lead over Max Angelelli, who finished seventh, in the Daytona Prototype drivers' championship with five races remaining.

"It was a tough night," said Pruett after recording his record-setting 14th overall Rolex Series race win. "This is a hard, physical, tough track. The car ran great. We ran consistent. We didn't make any mistakes in the pits. We though we played a real smart race. The only difficult part was on the last lap - three turns from the end - we were running out of gas. It was stumbling and stumbling and I was going, 'Just get to the checkers. Just get to the checkers.' Hopefully, we can just keep doing what we're doing and just keep making ground on the championship."

Pruett took the lead from Jorg Bergmeister on Lap 88 and never relinquished it despite a last-turn charge from Valiante, who opted not to force the issue to avoid running into Pruett. "When Scott bobbled, I checked up, and if it was anyone else I would have gone for it," said Valiante. "It was going to be our best finishing position anyway, so it just wouldn't have been a smart move to make and maybe take both of us out. Second was good for us. We all do a good job sharing information (within Ganassi), and this relationship has just grown very well. We are extremely happy with this result."

Bob Stallings Racing's Alex Gurney and co-driver Jon Fogarty, who were going for a record-setting fourth consecutive Rolex Series win, were less happy with their finish. After starting from the pole, Fogarty led 81 of the first 85 laps. But when Gurney took over from Fogarty on Lap 85, the team's Pontiac Riley did not have enough for Pruett over the closing laps to mount a serious challenge for the win.

"After the driver change, I came out of the pits right behind Pruett, and we had a fast car that, after a few laps, had something for him," Gurney said. "Every time we came into traffic, I was pressuring him. But then we broke the exhaust, I thought we were going to lose more power than we did, but it really hurt the fuel mileage. We had to conserve more, and I had alarms going off the whole time. But to finish third on a rough day is not a bad result."

Gurney and Fogarty are now 22 points behind Pruett in the drivers' standings.

The No. 75 Pontiac Riley of Max Papis and Colin Braun and the No. 60 Lexus Riley driven by Mark Patterson and Oswaldo Negri rounded out the top five.

The race featured two cautions for 13 laps and four lead changes among five drivers.

The Rolex Series returns to the track July 22 at Barber Motorsports Park.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Max Papis , Jon Fogarty , Scott Pruett , Colin Braun , Michael Valiante , Jörg Bergmeister , Max Angelelli , Memo Rojas , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Mark Patterson , Bob Stallings
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing