Utah: Pruett - Lexus spotlight

PRUETT'S HUNT FOR A TITLE With just three points separating four competitors for this year's Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Driver's Championship heading into the season finale at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday, Lexus-powered driver...


With just three points separating four competitors for this year's Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Driver's Championship heading into the season finale at Miller Motorsports Park on Saturday, Lexus-powered driver Scott Pruett is in the hunt for his eighth sports car title. Here's a season-long look at how Pruett worked himself into that position.

ROUND 1, DAYTONA BEACH (Jan. 28, 2007) - Scott Pruett, Juan Montoya and Salvador Duran teamed to give Lexus and Ganassi Racing their second consecutive Rolex 24 at Daytona victory as their #01 Telmex/Target Lexus-Riley won in dominating fashion.

The winning trio led 468 of the 668 laps, while overall Lexus-powered cars led a total of 504 laps -- good for more than 75 percent of the laps run over the 24 hours. After starting 12th, the winning #01 Lexus moved to the lead for the first time on Lap 68 and would go on to dominate the race -- never putting a wheel wrong as both the Lexus engine and car ran flawlessly, never pitting for more than brake pads, fuel or tires.The victory was a record-setting seventh Rolex 24 class victory for Pruett. It also marked the second win in a row here for Chip Ganassi Racing, which became the first team in 20 years to repeat a Rolex 24 overall victory after Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon and Casey Mears drove to victory in their #02 Lexus-Riley in 2006.

ROUND 2, MEXICO CITY (March 3, 2007) - After winning the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, Chip Ganassi Racing's Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett registered another strong performance combining to finish fourth as the highest-placing Lexus in their #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.

The finish marked the second consecutive top-five showing for the team and kept Pruett on top of the series point standings. Earlier in the day, Pruett won the pole for the weekend's NASCAR Busch Series event.

ROUND 3, HOMESTEAD, FLA (March 24, 2007) -- On the strength of a terrific three-car pass on Lap 61, Scott Pruett maneuvered himself from sixth to third in one corner on the way to a third-place finish in the Miami Grand Prix at the Homestead-Miami Speedway as the highest-finishing Lexus.

Pruett, who co-drove the #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley with Memo Rojas, would eventually move up to second. He then made a move for the lead and momentarily had the position before getting balked with traffic in a move that dropped him to an eventual third-place finish.

With his third-place finish, Scott Pruett earned his 32nd top-five finish and his 40th top-10 finish in 43 career Daytona Prototype starts. It also marked his third top-five in three races this season after winning the Rolex 24 and finishing fourth at Mexico City. In addition, the third-place finish gave Rojas his first Daytona Prototype podium position.

ROUND 4, ALTON, VA (APRIL 29) - Memo Rojas enjoyed a brief two-lap stint at the front with Laps 8 and 9 before he went off-track on Lap 10 after contact with the #58 car while leading in the VIR 400 at the Virginia International Raceway.

Rojas' teammate Scott Pruett then climbed into the car and proceeded to register the fastest lap of the race by more than a half second, but couldn't overcome the huge deficit on the way to an eighth-place finish. With that showing, Pruett dropped out of the series' points lead.

ROUND 5, MONTEREY, CALIF. hMay 20, 2007) -- With the race-leading Porsche on the verge of running out of fuel, only a late-race full course caution could keep Scott Pruett and the Chip Ganassi Racing team away from the squad's second victory of the season as Pruett placed second in the Road and Track 250 Rolex Sports Car Series event at Laguna Seca Raceway.Pruett's Lexus closed on the leading Porsche in an attempt to make a pass for the lead with just over four minutes remaining of the two-hour, 30-minute event when the full-course yellow waived, allowing the Porsche to complete the final two laps under caution with just enough fuel to cross the finish line. While the victory eluded Pruett and co-driver Memo Rojas, both Pruett and the Ganassi team re-took the points lead in the Driver's and Team championships.

ROUND 6, WATKINS GLEN, NY, (June 9, 2007) - After falling a lap down on two different occasions, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas rallied to finish second to lead the Lexus contingent in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen Rolex Sports Car Series event at Watkins Glen International.

Pruett recovered to lead the race in the last hour before finally giving up the lead for good with just 25 minutes remaining in the six-hour enduro. With the second-place finish, Pruett extended his series points lead to seven points over Max Angelelli. Results

ROUND 7, LEXINGTON, OHIO (June 24, 2007) - Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas co-drove to a second-place finish as the highest-finishing Lexus in the EMCO Gears Classic Rolex Sports Car Series event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

The second-place finish was the third consecutive runner-up showing for the #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley and lengthened Pruett's championship points lead to 11 points, while also extending Chip Ganassi Racing's Team Championship lead to 16 points at the midway point of the 2007 campaign.

The second-place finish marked the 12th consecutive top-10 showing for the #01 Ganassi Lexus -- marking an entire calendar year of never finishing out of the top-10.Results

ROUND 8, DAYTONA BEACH (July 5, 2007) - Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas finished sixth in the one-day summer event at the Daytona International Speedway. The duo recovered after a disappointing ninth in qualifying.

Pruett narrowly salvaged the points lead with a strong drive through the last half of the event. The 2004 Daytona Prototype champion inherited the car in 13th-place and passed seven cars in the late-going to hold on to a four-point lead in the championship race with six races remaining.

ROUND 9, NEWTON, IOWA (July 13, 2007) -- Scott Pruett took over the lead on Lap 88 and went on to lead the final 105 laps in pacing a one-two Lexus finish with teammate Michael Valiante in the inaugural Iowa 400k at the Iowa Speedway.

Pruett, co-driving the #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley with Memo Rojas, earned a Rolex Series record 14th victory. In addition, the win also marked a record 15th Rolex Series triumph for Chip Ganassi Racing. For Rojas, it was his first-ever Daytona Prototype win.

In addition to Pruett's record-setting victory, the win also marked the fourth time in the last five races that Pruett and Rojas placed in the top two.

ROUND 10, BIRMINGHAM, ALA. (July 22, 2007) -- Scott Pruett mounted a late charge from seventh to challenge for a top-three finish, but eventually placed fifth as the highest-placing Lexus in the Barber 250 at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

With the fifth-place finish, Scott Pruett retained an 11-point lead in the Driver's Championship. The effort marked the 15th consecutive top-10 finish for the #01 Lexus, and also gave the team its eighth top-five finish in 10 races this season.

ROUND 11, MONTREAL, CANADA (August 3, 2007 -- Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas combined to finish fifth in the Rolex Series first-ever run at the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve in Montreal, Canada. Pruett retained the series points lead, but his lead dwindled to just five points.

ROUND 12, WATKINS GLEN, NY (August 10, 2007) -- After a strong early run from Memo Rojas, Scott Pruett then charged from eighth to finish third as the highest-finishing Lexus in a Friday evening event at Watkins Glen International and maintained a tie for the series points lead in the process.

Rojas started the race in 14th-place in the #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley and climbed as high as sixth before falling back to eighth late in his stint. Pruett then climbed into the car and after a series of terrific laps exiting the pits, he eventually gained four positions as the pit stop sequence cycled through. He then gained one more position late in the race to earn the team's seventh podium finish of the season.

ROUND 13, SONOMA, CALIF. hAugust 25, 2007) -- Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas led 36 laps on the way to a third-place finish in the Armed Forces 250 at Infineon Raceway, setting the stage for a three-way showdown for the series championship in the season finale at Salt Lake City on Sept. 15.

Rojas started the race in fourth and maintained the position throughout his stint before handing the car over to Pruett on Lap 22. The Northern California native ran a series of fast laps on his adopted "home track" and took over the lead on Lap 30 after the other leaders made their first pit stops. Pruett stayed in the top spot until giving up the lead while pitting on Lap 66. He resumed in third-place and held the position for the remainder of the 97-lap event.

For just the second time this season, Pruett did not hold the points lead following a race as he fell one point behind Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty.The third-place finish marked the eighth top-three podium finish of the season for the #01 Telmex Lexus. The effort also marked the 18th consecutive top-10 finish for the #01 Lexus.

-credit: lexus

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Casey Mears , Scott Dixon , Scott Pruett , Michael Valiante , Dan Wheldon , Max Angelelli , Memo Rojas , Chip Ganassi , Salvador Duran
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing