Rojas' Third Leads Lexus In Mexico City Qualifying
TORRANCE, Calif. (March 2, 2007) – Memo Rojas qualified third in just his second Grand-Am Daytona Prototype event to lead the Lexus-powered contingent in qualifying for Saturday’s Mexico City 400k at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City.
Rojas will be racing in front of his hometown fans for the first time in his career when he takes to the track on Saturday. He will be joined by teammate Scott Pruett in the defending race champion #01 Ganassi Racing Lexus-Riley. Pruett enters this weekend’s action as the series points leader.
"The people supporting us here are really amazing,” said Rojas. “I am really happy to have a second row start to begin with. It puts us in a good spot. We will make the best of it tomorrow and take the Telmex Lexus Riley to the front for a win."
Shane Lewis made it two Lexus-powered cars in the top-10 with a 10th-place showing in the #3 Preformed Line Products Lexus-Riley for Southard Racing. Lewis will team with Randy Ruhlman in Saturday’s race.
After placing second overall in practice on Friday, the Michael Shank Racing #60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley placed 12th in qualifying with Mark Patterson behind the wheel. The reigning Jim Trueman Award winner will partner with Oswaldo Negri again this weekend. Henri Zogaib and Ian James will start 17th in the second MSR Lexus-Riley. Each will be making his first appearance at Mexico City this weekend.
After a strong run in practice with a time that would have put the team in contention for a top-10 qualifying effort, the AIM Autosport #61 Exchange Traded Gold Lexus-Riley with Mark Wilkins and Brian Frisselle suffered mechanical problems and did not register a time in qualifying to place 18th among the Daytona Prototypes.
Saturday’s Mexico City round, which is being run in conjunction with the NASCAR Busch Series, will be televised live by SPEED beginning at 4 p.m. EST.
Car # Drivers, Car Place
#01 Rojas/Pruett, Telmex Lexus-Riley 3rd
#3 Lewis/Ruhlman, Preformed Line Products Lexus-Riley 10th
#60 Patterson/Negri, Flight Options Lexus-Riley 12th
#6 Zogaib/James, Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley 17th
#61 Wilkins/Frisselle, Exchange Traded Gold Lexus-Riley 18th (No Time)
MEMO ROJAS, #01 TELMEX Lexus-Riley: "The people supporting us here are really amazing. I am really happy to have a second row start to begin with. It puts us in a good spot. We will make the best of it tomorrow and take the Telmex Lexus Riley to the front for a win."
MARK PATTERSON, #60 Flight Options Lexus-Riley: “We had a local driver (Rod MacLeod, who drove with MSR in the 2006 Phoenix round) give us some insight on how the track would change and he was spot-on with his prediction. I love this track, it may be my favorite. I attacked like a demon the entire session, but just couldn’t get back down to the times we were setting this morning. But this car is fantastic and we should be looking good tomorrow.”
MICHAEL SHANK, MSR team owner: ““I am impressed with how much progress Henri has made this weekend. This is his first time here but he’s done a great job learning this track. Mark put in another great qualifying as well and I think we are positioned to do well with both cars tomorrow. The Lexus guys have done a great job again this weekend, and we are pretty confident about the race tomorrow.”
HENRI ZOGAIB, #6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus-Riley: “We went through the data yesterday, and I set a goal of taking four seconds off my time today and I’m glad to have done that in qualifying, but I’m still frustrated with where we are yet. My confidence continues to grow in the car and hopefully we can get a good start and get some luck with the timing on the yellows so I can turn the car over to Ian to make a strong run to the finish.”
Credit: Lexus Motorsports