Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won Saturday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen at the historic Watkins Glen International road course, crossing the finish line 3.033 seconds ahead of the No. 58 ...
Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won Saturday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen at the historic Watkins Glen International road course, crossing the finish line 3.033 seconds ahead of the No. 58 Brumos Porsche Riley co-driven by David Donohue and Darren Law. The Ganassi pair, who have four Daytona Prototype wins in six races this season, led 39 of 179 laps in a race that featured a brief rain shower and some unseasonably hot and humid weather that took its toll on a number of drivers.
"It was a great day for the whole team," said Pruett after his record extending 18th Rolex Series win. "We made just one little change - took a little wicker out of the back. When we unloaded the car, it was good. We were real pleased with the balance. I think as the track rubbered up, the car got a little tighter and that's why we took the gurney out of the rear. Then it was pretty good and we just left it there. And we did what we had to do."
"Things went pretty good for us and we focused on staying out of trouble, which can be tough to do in such a long race," added Rojas, who handed over the team's Lexus Riley to Pruett on Lap 90. "We had a great car today. Things just keep working for us."
After starting the race from the pit lane, Pruett did the first stint before handing the car over to Rojas. After the final driver change, Pruett secured the victory when he pulled away from a six-car pack that included Law, Oswaldo Negri, Jr., Max Angelelli, Ian James, Mark Wilkins, and Memo Gidley during the race's final restart, which occurred with less than 20 minutes remaining.
"Second place is a good result for the way this season's been going," said Donohue. "We've messed up on strategy. We've had some failures. And we've had some problems here and there."
Muscling his way past Negri on the penultimate lap, Angelelli survived a furious race to the checkered flag to finish third in the SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley, followed by Negri in the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley and Gidley in the Doran Racing Ford Dallara.
"I really wanted this for the guys because they deserve so much," explained Angelelli, whose team lost its primary race car and most of its equipment in a fire that consumed its transporter on the return trip from the previous race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. "We lost everything. So I wanted this podium for my team so badly that I closed my eyes and just went (for it)."
With six events in the books this year, Pruett and Rojas have yet to finish outside of the top-three and they now hold a 36-point point lead over Marc Goosens and Jim Mathews, who finished 13th, in the Daytona Prototype drivers' championship with eight races remaining. "It seems like everything has just jelled (this year)," said Pruett. "The engine's a little better, Memo's a little bit better, and the team is figuring out things just a little quicker."
In the GT class, the pole sitting SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 driven by Emil Assentato, Nick Longhi, and Jeff Segal broke Pontiac's five-race winning streak, handing Mazda its first Rolex Series GT victory since the season opening 24 Hours of Daytona in January. The Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R of Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell finished second, followed by the Banner Racing Pontiac shared by GM factory drivers Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards.
"It's great," said Segal, describing his first Rolex Series win. "We've been fast all year. We came close (to winning) at VIR and we had a little contact that ended things there. We thought we had the car at Laguna and we had a little failure there. And I promised (the team) at Laguna that we would win the six-hour. And we did it."
The Rolex Series will return to the track on June 22 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.