LATE-RACE MECHANICAL GREMLINS FOIL PRUETT'S BID FOR INFINEON SUPREMECY SONOMA, Calif. (June 26, 2005) -- After putting years of experience on the tarmac to the test today against the best the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series has to offer, road racing ...
LATE-RACE MECHANICAL GREMLINS FOIL PRUETT'S BID FOR INFINEON SUPREMECY
SONOMA, Calif. (June 26, 2005) -- After putting years of experience on the tarmac to the test today against the best the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series has to offer, road racing ringer Scott Pruett was forced to finish the Dodge/Save Mart 350 in third gear while the racing gods looked down unkindly on the Sacramento, Calif. native and his No. 39 Texaco/Havoline "Shine On" Dodge. Pruett helplessly dropped 19 track positions as the lap count dwindled and finished a disappointing 31st in the first of the season's two road course races.
The moment the green flag unfurled over the thunderous 43-car field, the current Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series points leader made his presence known on the 1.99-mile circuit, charging into Turn 11's hairpin and picking off would-be competitors. By Lap 7 of the 110-lap contest, Pruett had overtaken two cars on classic out-braking maneuvers, and was firmly in the hunt in seventh position.
Once the field settled into familiar single-file style at Infineon in front a capacity crowd, Pruett kept his foot in it and managed to work his way further up the scoring pylon, passing the sixth and seventh place machines of Kurt Busch and Mark Martin, respectively. By Lap 15 he was the fastest car on the track, and after putting a move on Robby Gordon on Lap 24, he had nosed his way up to the front-running fray that included race leaders Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart.
Pruett's Texaco/Havoline squad did not disappoint, providing the experienced pilot the first of two perfect stops as the race reached its halfway mark. He continued to hold his ground in third position until Lap 70 when he made his final stop for fuel and fresh Goodyears, but his luck was about to take a turn for the worst.
As the car became increasingly looser with each tour around Infineon's tricky 11-turn layout, Pruett desperately tried to hang on to 12th position as the pit stop loop cycled for the final time. Michael Waltrip did his best impression of a Texas Tornado heading off course into the gravel on Lap 103, and on the ensuing restart Pruett reached for high gear and found that the gearbox was comfortable just where it was at in third.
Even one of the world's most accomplished drivers could do nothing when the mechanism seized up with four to go, and Pruett simply had to play the harsh hand he was dealt, which resulted in a 31st place finish.
"We had a pretty good car for the most part of the day, but this one just wasn't meant to be," said Pruett who put the fourth Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates machine in the show this weekend. "I had two good stops from the Texaco/Havoline crew, but I can't tell you how painful it was to have to sit there and watch it all go up in smoke with just third gear at the end."
Pruett's Ganassi stablemates Jaime McMurray, Casey Mears and Sterling Marlin finished 13th, 20th and 26th, respectively, in the Dodge/Save Mart 350.
Fans of CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates can follow the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley all season long by logging onto the Rolex Sports Car Series website at www.grandamerican.com for free live timing, and keep up with the team's successes throughout the 2005 season by logging onto the official website at www.chipganassiracing.com for news, features, photos and much more. Next up for the team is the Brumos Porsche 250 on Thursday, June 30th (LIVE, SPEED Channel, 8:00 pm ET) at Daytona International Speedway for Round 7 of the Rolex Sports Car Series.
About CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates
Founded in 2004, Indianapolis-based CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates fields the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype class for American driver and defending Rolex Series Champion Scott Pruett, and second-year Mexican pilot Luis Diaz.