Pruett/Rojas' Third Leads Lexus At Miami

 
 
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HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 24, 2007) - On the strength of a terrific three-car pass on Lap 61, Scott Pruett maneuvered himself from sixth to third in one corner on the way to a third-place finish in Saturday's Miami Grand Prix at the Homestead-Miami Speedway as the highest-finishing Lexus.

Pruett, who co-drove the #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley with Memo Rojas, would eventually move up to second.  He then made a move for the lead and momentarily had the position before getting balked with traffic in a move that dropped him to an eventual third-place finish.

Also joining the Chip Ganassi Racing duo in the top-10 was the AIM Autosport pairing of Mark Wilkins and Burt Frisselle.  Their #61 Exchange Traded Gold Lexus-Riley ran as high as second during the race, but slipped back in the field after a string of full-course cautions put a crimp in the team's one-pit stop strategy.

Rounding out the Lexus contingent were Ian James/Henri Zogaib in 13th, Mark Patterson/Oswaldo Negri in 15th and Randy Ruhlman/Shane Lewis in 16th.

The Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series continues at the Virginia International Raceway on April 29 with SPEED providing live coverage beginning at 1 p.m. EDT.


NOTES:

- With his third-place finish today, Scott Pruett earned his 32nd top-five finish and his 40th top-10 finish in 43 career Daytona Prototype starts.  It also marks his third top-five in three races this season after winning the Rolex 24 and finishing fourth at Mexico City.  In addition, the third-place finish gave teammate Memo Rojas his first Daytona Prototype podium position.

- Scott Pruett continues to lead the Daytona Prototype point standings and will take a one-point lead into the next race at Virginia International Raceway.

- AIM Autosport's 10th-place marked the team's third consecutive top-10 showing in the team's first full season of Rolex Series competition.

- Ian James led 18 laps for Michael Shank Racing before dropping back to 12th after a pair of late-race pit stops.  It marked the second time this season that the #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus had led a race.

 

Lexus results - Start/Finish

#01      Memo Rojas/Scott Pruett                                           7/3

#61      Mark Wilkins/Brian Frisselle                                       9/10

#6        Henri Zogaib/Ian James                                              19/12

#60      Mark Patterson/Oswaldo Negri                                   13/15

#3        Shane Lewis/Randy Ruhlman                                    18/16


Quotes:

Scott Pruett, #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley:  "I had a run on Ian (James) on the back-straight, and was able to get inside of him and had the lead for a second or two, but just ran out of room and I didn't want to get into him.  I had to get out of it a little bit and that allowed Max (Angelelli) to get by and he brought the 05 car with him.  It was a scrap out there all race long.  That's what Grand-Am racing is all about.  We had a strong effort from everyone - Memo (Rojas) did a great job, Lexus did a great job and really the whole Ganassi team was terrific."

Memo Rojas, #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley: "I'm happy with my first podium.  The racing was really tough.  It seemed like we were always in a battle trying to get to the front.  In the end, I think any of the cars that were running upfront had a chance depending on traffic.  It was really good racing."
 
Burt Frisselle, #61 Exchange Traded Gold Lexus-Riley:  "Third race, third top-10, that's really exciting. Our car wasn't ideal.  I made a couple of errors and had a little issue with my shifting. But it's always nice to bring the car home in the top 10 and be competitive for a top-five. It was a big battle all day, a lot of good drivers, no cars really went down a lap, so at the end you saw what DP racing is all about."

Mark Wilkins, #61 Exchange Traded Gold Lexus-Riley:  "These races are a blast! I really enjoy driving these Daytona Prototypes. The guys gave me a great car, Lexus gave me a great engine, the Dynamic shocks worked really well here. It was some of the best racing I've done in a while, running with those guys right up at the front. They're aggressive. I had to be as aggressive as possible. We struggled with power-down a little bit, so I would compensate by driving really hard on the brakes and I flat-spotted the front tires. Overall, it was a great race. Another top-10 is fantastic for us."

Mark Patterson, #60 NetApp/ESP Lexus-Riley: "It was a great race, but it just didn't end up the way we hoped it would. My first stint was fabulous. We avoided a problem right at the start and were in the top ten by the time I came into the pits, but things didn't go as well for us from there. But some other cars had some problems as well, so hopefully it wont hurt us too much in the championship and in the Trueman Award standings."
Oswaldo Negri, #60 NetApp/ESP Lexus-Riley: "Things were going pretty well and we were in the top ten with a lot of racing to do yet, but, unfortunately, I hit on some oil or something I didn't see and went right off in turn one.  I hate it for the team and all the friends and family who were out here to see us race, but it was just some bad luck for us today."

Henri Zogaib, #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: "I have to admit it was a thrill to see Ian leading the race ahead of my good friend JC France's car out there.  I felt really good about how I started the race, and the strategy we had for the first segment worked to perfection. The car was fantastic and I felt very comfortable on this track. I am looking forward to getting more time in the car soon."

Ian James, #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: "It was good to lead a Rolex race for the second time this season.  Unfortunately, our pit strategy didn't work as well as we hoped with the way the yellows played out. But Henri did a great job at the start, and the car was really good during my stint so we know we have some good results in our future, just not to

 

Credit: Lexus Motorsports
Photos: Grand American

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