LAST-LAP DRAMA SENDS PRUETT AND DIAZ HOME THIRD IN VIR THRILLER ALTON, Va. (April 23, 2006) -- After a post-qualifying engine change put Luis Diaz of CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates on pit lane for the start of the VIR 400K, the...
LAST-LAP DRAMA SENDS PRUETT AND DIAZ HOME THIRD IN VIR THRILLER
ALTON, Va. (April 23, 2006) -- After a post-qualifying engine change put Luis Diaz of CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates on pit lane for the start of the VIR 400K, the third-year Daytona Prototype driver moved the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley from 22nd to the lead before the driver change for co-pilot Scott Pruett on Lap 46 of 77.
Pruett cycled through the field as the pit strategy played out, and found himself in eighth on Lap 50 when the race to the checkered began. The 2004 Rolex Series Champion made moves for fifth, fourth and then third from Laps 61-63, and was positioned in the top-two when the lead pack was nose-to-tail for the final stretch on Lap 71.
Pruett hounded the no.10 Pontiac-Riley for the point lap after lap, often showing SunTrust driver Max Angelelli a nose heading into turn 1. But the move of the race came on the final lap when Pruett came alongside Angelelli for the lead, making his bid to defend the VIR win for CGRFS from a year ago. Pruett's move in Turn 14 proved to be costly, as the no.23 Porsche-Crawford snuck through from third and stole the top spot for the win.
Pruett managed to hold on and finish third behind the no.23 and the no.10 Daytona Prototypes in what is being called the best race in Rolex Series history.
With the podium, the CompUSA team moved up to second behind the no.23 in the Rolex Series Championship point race (164-150) as the series enters Round 6 of the 14-race schedule. It is the no.01 car's fourth podium in five starts in 2006, and the 20th podium in 31 career Grand American starts.
Next up for Pruett and Diaz and the no.01 team is Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the U.S. Sports Car Invitational May 7th where the two are defending champions on the 2.238-mile permanent road course. Catch the team in action on SPEED Channel at 3:00 ET Sunday (LIVE).
CGRFS Driver Quoteboard
SCOTT PRUETT "It was a great race. There's not much more to say really. If you like racing, then you would have loved to watch this one I can tell you. It just doesn't get any better than that the way the top-three finished. The first three cars were dueling it out for at least the last 20 laps. This kind of finish just shows that it's not over until the fat lady sings."
LUIS DIAZ "From my point of view, it was a challenging start coming off pit lane and making up spots where we could. But my main focus was just keeping the nose clean, picking people off one at a time and then getting the car back to Scott in one piece. Scott's the man, he ran a great race and we almost did it here again today at VIR."