Sunday, August 27, 2006

Rolex Series update from Sonoma

Pruett & Diaz Score Record-Tying Fifth Race Win
With Sonoma 250 Victory at Infineon Raceway

SONOMA, Calif. – No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-drivers Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz scored their Daytona Prototype record-tying fifth victory of the season Saturday afternoon in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Sonoma 250 at Infineon Raceway (SPEED, August 27 at 3 p.m. ET), keeping their 2006 championship hopes alive with only one race remaining on the season schedule.

Pruett, a resident of nearby Auburn, Calif., took control of the No. 01 machine during a Lap 22 caution in 15th place and charged to the front, eventually inheriting the lead on Lap 74 during a stretch of green flag pit stops. The No. 01 car was forced down pit road on late in the race for a splash of fuel, but the Ganassi crew made quick work of the stop, sending Pruett out just ahead of Andy Wallace in the No. 4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford. Pruett held off the Englishman after a late-race caution to score a wildly popular victory in front of his hometown crowd.

The victory at Infineon Raceway is the fifth victory of the season for the No. 01 machine, tying the record set in 2005 by defending Daytona Prototype champions Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley. The win also marks the 12th overall victory in Pruett’s Rolex Series career, tying him with Wallace’s co-driver, Butch Leitzinger, for second-most all-time with 12.

“We got put behind a little bit early on in the race,” said Pruett. “The guys did a great job on the pit stop, sending me out there in front. It feels great to get this win in front of the home crowd. There’s nothing like winning on your home court. All these things together make this sweet. We dug deep to pull a strategy that would give us the best chance to win.”

Wolf Henzler and Robin Liddell scored their third Rolex Series GT class victory of the season in the Sonoma 250 at Infineon Raceway, and head into next weekend’s season-finale at Miller Motorsports Park just eight points behind No. 65 TRG/F1 Air Pontiac GTO.R co-drivers Andy Lally and Marc Bunting in the standings, with nine hours of racing to decide the 2006 champions.

Liddell started from the class pole and led throughout his opening stint. The Scot handed control to Henzler during a Lap 22 caution, eventually climbing back into the cockpit for the finish. Liddell inherited the lead again on Lap 83 when Lally had to take the No. 65 machine down pit road for fuel, and held off a late charge after a full-course caution period to score the third victory of the year for the Tafel Racing Porsche.

“I didn’t really make a fantastic start, but I was able to make the correct line on the first turn,” said Liddell. “After two laps, my lead was completely gone with a little bit of understeer. The track was extremely difficult to manage today. It’s very twisty and on the straights, there was really only one good line. The Daytona Prototypes did a great job today, and was able to avoid any issues. We were able to pull away a little bit in the traffic, which ultimately was the difference.”

All images/news used with permission from the Grand American Road Racing Series.


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