LEXUS PUTS TWO ON THE PODIUM AT WATKINS GLEN TORRANCE, Calif. (Sept. 24, 2005) - After sweeping the front row in qualifying, Lexus-powered cars earned two of the top three spots in Saturday's Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Crown Royal...
LEXUS PUTS TWO ON THE PODIUM AT WATKINS GLEN
TORRANCE, Calif. (Sept. 24, 2005) - After sweeping the front row in qualifying, Lexus-powered cars earned two of the top three spots in Saturday's Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Crown Royal 250 at The Glen. All three Lexus prototypes in the field finished in the top six.
Luis Diaz and Scott Pruett registered their sixth top-three podium finish of the season with a second in the #01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley, while Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson earned an impressive third in their #60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley, and Stefan Johansson and Cort Wagner were sixth in the #02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley.
Diaz began the weekend in spectacular fashion in taking the pole position and was able to maintain the lead for the first 11 laps before a full-course caution where he gave up the lead while making a pit stop. Upon returning to the track, Diaz quickly moved back into the top-five where they would run the remainder of the race. After another full-course caution, co-driver Scott Pruett took over the driving duties in second-place where he waged a classic battle for the lead with eventual winner Max Angelelli. Pruett's efforts came up short, though, as he finished in the runner-up position - just .473 seconds behind. The second-place finish marked the team's sixth podium finish of the 2005 campaign.
In just their third race of the season together for Michael Shank Racing, Negri and Patterson turned in a strong performance on the way to logging their best finish of the year with a third. Negri was particularly impressive as he take over in 16th-place and sliced through the field up to the third spot - just a few hundred yards behind the leaders at the race's conclusion.
"This is just so fantastic," beamed Negri. "We really didn't get off to a fast start this weekend and didn't get as much track time as we wanted before the race, but Mark (Patterson) and these guys on the Michael Shank Racing team did such a fantastic job today. The effort I put in the car doesn't come close to repaying their efforts this weekend, but its great we got on the podium and I can't wait for VIR!"
After qualifying second, the tandem of Wagner and Johansson earned a respectable sixth-place finish. Unfortunately, a potential podium finish was lost when Johansson was knocked into the wall as a part of a mid-race incident that eliminated no less than five prototypes. He was able to soldier on for a sixth-place finish, but never able to get back into contention. The result dropped the duo into sixth-place in the championship race with two races remaining.
The Daytona Prototypes head next to the Virginia International Raceway for the VIR 400 on Oct. 9 to be televised live on SPEED beginning at 1 p.m. ET.