PRUETT/ROJAS PLACE SECOND TO RETAIN POINTS LEAD; LEAD LEXUS AT THE GLEN WATKINS GLEN, NY (June 9, 2007) -- After falling a lap down on two different occasions, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas rallied to finish second to lead the Lexus contingent in...
PRUETT/ROJAS PLACE SECOND TO RETAIN POINTS LEAD; LEAD LEXUS AT THE GLEN
WATKINS GLEN, NY (June 9, 2007) -- After falling a lap down on two different occasions, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas rallied to finish second to lead the Lexus contingent in today's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen Rolex Sports Car Series event at Watkins Glen International.
Pruett recovered to lead the race in the last hour before finally giving up the lead for good with just 25 minutes remaining in the six-hour enduro. The Ganassi duo wasn't the only Lexus-powered entry to take a turn at the point position today as Ian James' held the lead in the #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus with an hour remaining. James, who co-drove with John Pew, eventually slipped to fourth in the late-going, but still earned the team's top finish of the season.
It was a day of what-ifs for three other Lexus-powered teams that each ran in the top-five before suffering late mechanical woes. The #60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus (alternator), the #61 AIM Autosport Lexus (fuel pick-up) and the #19 Ganassi Racing entry (battery) all saw potential top-five runs hampered, although the #19 driven by Michael Valiante and Rob Finlay did overcome two late pit stops to place seventh in matching their best finish of the 2007 campaign.
Scott Pruett: #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley: "I think we rebounded about as well as we could. We had second-place car today. The whole team did a great job in coming back after falling a lap down a couple of times. The Lexus engine ran well, and it really provided us with some options strategy-wise because of the great fuel mileage."
Oswaldo Negri, #60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: "I was frustrated by the 59 car and how unprofessional the driver was (after blocking while a number of laps down). I am even more disappointed and surprised that he wasn't penalized at all. But I had to keep our championship in mind and just try to get what we could out of the day."
Mark Patterson, #60 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: "Oz did a tremendous job today and it's just a shame we had that small little problem take us out of contention for a really great result. It took a couple laps for me to get into a rhythm, but I got in behind Memo Gidley and just stuck off his back bumper and stayed with him. I really had a blast out there and am pretty pleased with the times we were putting up. The result wasn't what we wanted, but it wasn't due to a lack of trying from this team."
Ian James, #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: "A Corvette ran me into the dirt and I lost all my momentum, so I was pretty much a sitting duck for the 99 car. But it was great to be up front and controlling the race today. This car was excellent on the long runs and our only weakness was how the car was on new tires, so it's a shame we didn't get more green flag laps today. But getting into the top six in this series is something to be happy about, so to take fourth today is something I think we can be happy about."
John Pew, #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: "It was great, I had a blast out there. Ian did a fantastic job, and I am really happy to be working with this team."
Mark Wilkins, #61 Exchange Traded Gold Lexus-Riley: "We suffered from a bit of a fuel pickup problem and it just hurt us. I'd be on throttle and the engine would start to cut slowly; it was almost like traction control at high speed. There's not much you can do when you lose that much time. The AIM guys did a great job. The car was the best it has been, so I commend them on that. I think we would have had a really strong finish without the fuel problem. Our next race is Mid-Ohio and I'm confident after our test [last week] that we'll have something for everyone there."
Brian Frisselle, #61 Exchange Traded Gold Lexus-Riley: "It was a bit of a disappointing race. The Exchange Traded Gold car was quick and had a good overall pace. We weren't the fastest car out there, but we were consistent. We were running in the top six most of the day. We thought we could make it to the end, but we couldn't. It was a good effort; it just came up a little short."
Burt Frisselle, #61 Exchange Traded Gold Lexus-Riley "These guys gave us a great race car. It doesn't show on the scoreboard, but we were there all day, battling at the front. We just came up a little short on our fuel number at the end. The cockpit temperature was so good, the double-stinting was no big deal. I felt like I could have even stayed in for another stint. It just gets us into a good flow and that way we're on pace the whole time. It's easier than having the confusion of multiple driver changes."