PRUETT'S EIGHTH IROC SEASON ENDS ON SOUR NOTE IN ATLANTA HAMPTON, Ga. (October 30, 2005) -- Twenty-four hours after being honored as one of 'Crown Royal's Legends of Victory Lane' alongside fellow IROC all-time greats Mario Andretti, ...
PRUETT'S EIGHTH IROC SEASON ENDS ON SOUR NOTE IN ATLANTA
HAMPTON, Ga. (October 30, 2005) -- Twenty-four hours after being honored as one of 'Crown Royal's Legends of Victory Lane' alongside fellow IROC all-time greats Mario Andretti, Dale Earnhardt and Steve Kinser, two-time IROC racewinner Scott Pruett of CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates was involved in a last-lap incident in the final round of the four-race series at Atlanta Motor Speedway, relegating the defending Rolex Series Daytona Prototype champion to an 11th place finish.
Pruett was taken to Atlanta Motor Speedway's Infield Care Center, where he was treated and sent to Atlanta's downtown Emergency Care Center for further evaluation. X-rays revealed a slight fracture in the left toe of his left foot, and he was discharged from the center shortly thereafter.
"It was a big hit, but nobody was at fault," said Pruett of the incident. "I was having a great time out there. Everyone got together in the end, but I was the one who got into the fence hard. I don't have a whole lot of time before I have to get back in a car for the Rolex Series finale in Mexico City, but I'll be ready and I'm looking forward to getting back at it next weekend."
Pruett started the scheduled 67-lap (100.5-mile) IROC finale on pole for the second consecutive race, and survived some early fender-bending and inspiring bump-drafting to establish himself in the top three through the first 10 tours of Atlanta's high-speed 1.54-mile quad-oval.
Electing to take the high groove early on, the Californian was intent on conserving tires, and motored on in the top-six until the yellow flag was shown to the 12-car field of champions for a mandatory competition caution period to grab fresh rubber on Lap 40.
When the field thundered back to life on Lap 41, Pruett remained focused and competitive. While eventual racewinner Martin Truex Jr. and series champion Mark Martin pulled away in a two-horse race, Pruett had his hands full, running in the raciest pack of identically-prepared IROC machines over the final 10 laps.
While in sixth position and running flat-out to the finish, a gaggle of cars fanned three-wide on the backstretch. The jockeying for position resulted in a marriage of metal between Bobby Hamilton and Sebastian Bourdais, which in turn collected and sent Pruett's no.01 Gold car hard into the inside retaining wall.
The event finished under the yellow and checkered flags two-laps shy of its original 67-lap distance due to the incident. Under his own power, Pruett exited the tattered car which sustained heavy left-front damage. In the day's most sportsmanlike gesture, NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Kurt Busch stopped his machine and came to Pruett's driver-side door to check in on the eight-year IROC veteran.
The final round of the 2005 Rolex Sports Car Series at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez in Mexico City, Mexico awaits Pruett, co-driver Luis Diaz and the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley next Saturday, November 5th (LIVE, SPEED Channel, 4:00 pm ET).
For more information please visit www.chipganassiracing.com or www.irocracing.com