03/04/06 Torrance, CA
Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz left no doubt that their Friday pole position was no fluke as they led wire-to-wire to give Lexus a dominating victory in today’s Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series event at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.
TWO LEXUS-POWERED ENTRIES ON THE PODIUM
Pruett took the lead at the green flag and stretched out a 16-second lead before handing the #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley off to home-town hero Luis Diaz on Lap 47. It was a new driver, but the same result when Diaz pulled away from the field in never giving up the lead. Only a late-race full-course caution could close the gap to the eventual victory margin of 2.840 seconds in a wildly popular victory before the home-town faithful.
While Pruett and Diaz were having their way at the front of the field, Michael Shank Racing’s Paul Tracy gave the 100-lap contest some late-race thrills. The Canadian charged through the field late on his way to a third-place finish for he and MSR teammate Mike Borkowski in the #6 Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing Lexus-Riley to make it two Lexus-powered entries on the victory podium. The entry started 13th after suffering substantial damage in a Thursday practice crash. Borkowski maneuvered his way into the top-10 and then Tracy powered his way from sixth on Lap 78 into third-place on Lap 91.
The victory is the second straight for Ganassi Racing and Lexus after winning the Rolex 24 at Daytona to open up the 2006 campaign. Today’s triumph is the 10th for Lexus in 28 Rolex Series events since entering the series in 2004.
The win is Pruett’s eighth in Daytona Prototype competition and the fourth for Diaz – all coming with Lexus power.
The Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series returns to action at the Grand Prix of Miami at the Homestead-Miami Speedway on March 26 as a part of the Toyota Indy 300 weekend.
Lexus results – Start/Finish
#01 Scott Pruett/Luis Diaz 1/1
#6 Mike Borkowski/Paul Tracy 13/3
LUIS DIAZ, #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley: “This was a total team effort first. I have to thank everyone involved. We owed this win to the Mexican people after what happened last year. I have to thank Lexus as well, as they came a long way for us from last year in terms of fuel mileage. Scott did an awesome job for the team today too. It was a flawless performance. This is the biggest win of my career and I couldn’t be happier knowing it came with Chip Ganassi Racing in front of my family and friends.”
SCOTT PRUETT, #01 Telmex Lexus-Riley: “This win is so exciting to be a part of. With all the team’s ties to Mexico, this is just on another scale in terms of a big win. The car was perfect all day, and for this team it’s very, very special to win here. I couldn’t be happier for Luis. It’s one thing to win big races, but it’s another to win big races in your backyard, and he did that today. I couldn’t be more proud of him.”
PAUL TRACY, #6 Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing with MSR Lexus-Riley: “I really had a blast out there racing with Max (Angelelli)-he’s pretty much as crazy as I am. We had a really great fight out there, running door handle to door handle all the way down the front stretch. No matter if we had been fighting over 14th-place, it was a great battle and that’s the kind of racing you get up for in the morning.”
“I want to thank Graydon Elliott and Mike Shank for making this opportunity possible, and also really thank Kenny Wilden for stepping out of the car and letting me run this race this weekend. Without all these guys, it just wouldn’t have happened. I kind of got us behind early in the weekend with my crash on Thursday, but the team worked hard and we had a strong race car today. Restarts are pretty much my specialty, and the car was really good under braking so I was able to move up several spots each time.”
MIKE BORKOWSKI, #6 Graydon Elliott Fusion Racing with MSR Lexus-Riley: “It’s great to get a finish under our belt and start working our way back up in the points after not being able to finish Daytona. It also feels good to get Graydon Elliott on the podium. We were really focused on getting a finish here this weekend for those guys, and it’s even better to get them up on the podium. The car was much better today than it had been all weekend, and Paul did a great job with the restarts to get us some key positions late in the race. This has been a tough weekend all around, so to make it up to third at the finish is really encouraging for us looking forward to the rest of the season.”
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More information on the Lexus powered victories in Mexico City:
Diaz &amp;amp; Pruett Score Wildly Popular Victory in Dominating Mexico City 250 Performance