Utah: Series champions banquet report

Champions Honored at Rolex Banquet Sept. 14, 2010 - LAS VEGAS - GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series driving champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in Daytona Prototypes and Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato in the GT class were among those honored in...

Champions Honored at Rolex Banquet

Sept. 14, 2010 - LAS VEGAS - GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series driving champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in Daytona Prototypes and Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato in the GT class were among those honored in Monday's Rolex Champions Banquet presented by SunTrust at the sparkling Aria Resort & Casino Las Vegas.

Pruett and Rojas earned their record ninth DP victory Saturday at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, Utah, giving them a second driving championship in three years. It was Pruett's third DP title, while Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates earned its fourth team title since joining the series in 2004.

"Wow, what a year!" Pruett said. "How lucky I am to still be doing what I do at my age. Memo keeps getting better and better every race. Each day I become more and more impressed."

Team owner Chip Ganassi also accepted the team championship.

"What a performance from Team TELMEX in 2010," Ganassi said. "It's always special to receive awards; it's a total team effort. I've always said that drivers win races, but teams win championships, and you've seen the flawless job this team has done week in and week out."

The team led BMW to its first DP Manufacturer Championship, while Riley Technology captured its seventh consecutive DP Constructor Championship, winning 11 of the 12 races.

Pruett also earned the Gianfranco Martelli Award in DPs, honoring the memory of the late Pirelli engineer who was a major contributor to the design of the Pirelli tires the Rolex Series has competed on for the past three seasons.

Assentato and Segal, drivers of the No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8, won the GT title by five points over SpeedSource teammate and team owner Sylvain Tremblay, in addition to leading SpeedSource to 1-2 finish in the team championship and Mazda to the GT Manufacturer's Championship. Jonathan Bomarito, Tremblay's co-driver on the No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8, was third in the championship and also won the MESCO Building for the Future Award as the top rookie in both of the Rolex Series classes.

"It was an incredible season for everyone at SpeedSource," said Tremblay, whose team won five races. "Emil and Jeff were great in the No. 69 car. I am a racer 12 days out of the season and a team owner 365 days a year, so anyway you look at it, I'm happy with the performance."

Segal became the second driver to win championships in both the Rolex Series and GRAND-AM's Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge, joining Craig Stanton.

"This year has been special in a lot of ways, and to pick up championships for both Emil and I, as well as SpeedSource, is a great accomplishment," said Segal, who also earned the Gianfranco Martelli Award in the GT class. "When Emil and I first started driving together, no one expected we could make this happen. But we did, and we're looking forward to next year already."

The driving champions in both the DP and GT classes received Rolex Daytona Chronographs, presented by Tyler Meine on behalf of Rolex Watch USA.

John Pew was presented with the Jim Trueman Award while Assentato became the first two-time winner of the Bob Akin Award. Racing legend George Follmer presented them with hand-crafted Steuben crystal awards as the top Pro-Am drivers in the respective DP and GT classes.

The No. 41 Dempsey Racing/Team Seattle Mazda RX-8 team of Leh Keen and James Gue was voted the winner of the 2010 Rolex Moment of the Year in fan balloting for Keen's third to first charge in the closing laps of the Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen International, giving Dempsey Racing its first Rolex Series victory.

Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli, drivers of the No. 10 SunTrust Ford/Dallara, were recognized for finishing second in the DP championship, while 2009 titlist Jon Fogarty, driver of the No. 99 GAINSCO Chevrolet/Riley, finished third.

The 2010 Pirelli P-Zero Club award, a season-long competition for teams to earn points for not only on-track performance but promotional and publicity activity to support the series, was also given. GAINSCO/Bob Stalling Racing won the $15,000 prize in the Daytona Prototype class, with the SpeedSource No. 70 Mazda team winning GT honors.

Winners of the SunTrust Improve Your Position Awards were the No. 8 Corsa Car Care BMW of Ryan Dalziel and Ryan Dalziel in DP, accepted by car owner Peter Baron, and the No. 69 FXDD Mazda team of Assentato and Segal in GT.

Co-emceeing the event were SPEED TV's Calvin Fish and Chris Neville. Musical entertainment was provided by T Killa Music recording artist, Toby Lightman.

The next activity for the Rolex Series will be testing in October at Virginia International Raceway. The 2011 season officially gets underway with Jan. 7-9 "Roar Before the Rolex 24" Test Days at Daytona International Speedway, leading up to the 49th running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Jan. 29-30. The 2011 Rolex Series schedule will be announced in the near future.

-source: grand-am

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Jon Fogarty , Scott Pruett , Emil Assentato , Calvin Fish , George Follmer , Peter Baron , Max Angelelli , Sylvain Tremblay , Memo Rojas , Craig Stanton , Jonathan Bomarito , Chip Ganassi , Jeff Segal , John Pew , Bob Akin , Lehman Keen , Felix Sabates , Ricky Taylor
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , SpeedSource