Watkins Glen: Chip Ganassi Racing race report

Ganassi Duo Gives Lexus Fourth '08 Victory At Glen Six Hours WATKINS GLEN, NY (June 7, 2008) -- Scott Pruett took the lead with 45 minutes remaining and was never headed as he and Memo Rojas drove the ...

Ganassi Duo Gives Lexus Fourth '08 Victory At Glen Six Hours

WATKINS GLEN, NY (June 7, 2008) -- Scott Pruett took the lead with 45 minutes remaining and was never headed as he and Memo Rojas drove the #01 Telmex Lexus to 3.033-second victory in today's Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen Rolex Sports Car Series race at Watkins Glen International.

The win is the fourth in six races for the Ganassi/Lexus team and gives both the drivers and the team a 36-point championship lead heading into the midway point of the season at Mid-Ohio. In addition, Lexus continued its domination of endurance racing with its fifth win in the last eight Grand-Am endurance events and now holds a 15-point lead in the manufacturer's championship.

The victory was anything but easy, though. After starting last from the pit lane after Saturday's qualifying session was abbreviated to just four minutes of track time, Pruett and Rojas had to charge through the field almost non-stop until taking the lead for the first time on Lap 115. After pitting and dropping back to fourth on Lap 130, Pruett quickly moved up to second and then finally took the lead for good on Lap 156 of the 179-lap event as he passed former Toyota Formula One driver Ricardo Zonta.

The #3 Southard Motorsports Lexus driven by Shane Lewis and Bill Lester was running in the top-10 early before suffering a split heat exchanger, forcing the team back to the garage area. They eventually returned to the track 12 laps down and would placed 17th.

Notes:

- With today's triumph, Lexus has now won five of the last eight Grand-Am endurance races to go along with two seconds and a pair of fourth-place finishes. In addition to today's victory, the current stretch includes three Rolex 24 at Daytona victories, as well as a nine-hour win at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah.

In the Watkins Glen six-hour events, Lexus powered cars have two wins (Scott Pruett/Max Papis in 2004 being the other), a second, a third and a fourth place result. Last year, Pruett and Rojas combined for a second-place finish.

- Today's win is the fourth of the season for the #01 Telmex Lexus and gives the team the best six-race start in Daytona Prototype history. The team has registered six consecutive podium finishes with four wins, a second and a third.

- With the victory today, Scott Pruett has now won 11 endurance races of six hours or longer. He has seven Daytona 24 victories, along with one 24 Hours of Le Mans, one Sebring 12 Hours and, with today's victory, two Six Hours of The Glen triumphs.

- With the first-place today, the #01 Lexus has now finished in the top-10 in every race for the past two years dating back to Mid-Ohio in June, 2006. During that 25-race stretch, the team has eight victories, 17 top-three showings and 21 top-five finishes.

- After coming out on top this afternoon, Lexus has now registered four wins in nine Rolex Series races at Watkins Glen -- with Chip Ganassi Racing also winning the 2004 Sahlen's Six Hours, as well as last year's August event. Doran Racing earned the fourth Lexus win at the track in August 2004.

Memo Rojas, #01 Telmex Lexus: b^0x001cWe focused on what we needed to do -- just stay out of trouble during my stint. We just tried to keep a good pace. Take care of the tires, take care of the car and make sure to hand off a good car to Scott for the finish. The conditions were very hot. I don't know how Scott stayed in the car for almost the last three hours (Pruett raced the final 2:45 in 90+ degree heat)."

Scott Pruett, #01 Telmex Lexus: "The car ran really well. We unloaded the car and immediately it was really good. We didn't have to make many changes this weekend. We just did what we had to do. Even though you call this an endurance race, it was really a six-hour sprint race. There was no time to relax today with all the traffic. It's been a dream start to the season. In no small part, we owe a big piece of it to Lexus. They've really stepped up this year and have worked really hard. Memo has really stepped up as well this year to improve in his second season. It just seems like the team's been figuring it out a little bit quicker. We started from pit lane and still were able to come back and win this race today."

-credit: cgr

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Shane Lewis , Ricardo Zonta , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Memo Rojas , Bill Lester , Chip Ganassi
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Doran Racing