VIVACIOUS VARMENT NEARLY PLAYS INTO PRUETT'S HAND AT THE GLEN WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (September 24, 2005) -- Anything can happen in a championship chase. That proved to be true for CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates' Scott Pruett...
VIVACIOUS VARMENT NEARLY PLAYS INTO PRUETT'S HAND AT THE GLEN
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (September 24, 2005) -- Anything can happen in a championship chase. That proved to be true for CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates' Scott Pruett while running down points-leading SunTrust Racing for the lead in the closing laps of the Crown Royal 250 at Watkins Glen. The defending Daytona Prototype champ Pruett had his no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley cautiously mimicking the tailpipes of the leader with three laps to go in the 66-lap sprint when a woodchuck picked an inopportune time to cross the tarmac on the back straight. With the checkered flags fluttering in the distance, the no.10 car struck the fuzzy foreigner, sending debris all over Pruett's hopes of the team's third win of the season.
Luckily for the no.10 car and driver Max Angelelli, they were somehow able to sustain the pace and keep Pruett at bay for the race win. In the process, Pruett and co-driver Luis Diaz slipped three markers in the championship hunt to 39 in arrears of SunTrust Racing (379-340) with just Virginia and Mexico City remaining on the 2005 Rolex Series docket.
"It was a wild race out there today. Talk about action," said Pruett. "As far as the little guy that got out on the track at the end, let's just say Max hit it and I got all the debris. It was pretty nasty. We can just leave it at that. But the CompUSA guys were strong in the pits and the no.10 car had a bit more than us at the end. There were a few places where I could pull up to them, but I just couldn't get there. This track is so fast, I would get up to him [Angelelli], but I couldn't keep the nose going because of aero-push."
Diaz, who started the 2:45 sprint event from the front row after notching his second career pole a day before, drove a solid first stint for the team and led 11 laps. Unfortunately, he was unable to break the streak that has seen every one of the first lap leaders in 12 races this year fail to win the race.
"We had a very, very good car, but I had some trouble and got passed in traffic," said Diaz of the Lap 39 incident that opened the door for the no.10 car. "I guess sometimes traffic works in your favor and other times it doesn't. Today I got caught out and so it wasn't meant to happen."
The podium is the fourth for the team this season, and is the 14th in 24 career starts for the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley in Grand American competition.