Ganassi Dominates First Half Of Grand-Am Season
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas are taking a cautious approach to the second half of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season despite dominating the opening half of the campaign.
"As soon as you start thinking about a championship that is the time you lose it," said Pruett, who joined Memo Rojas in winning four of the opening six races in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley. "We need to stay focused at every race."
Pruett and Rojas enter the second half of the season with an 18-point lead over Ryan Dalziel (190-172), looking for their second Daytona Prototype title in three years. The season enters its second half with the EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank on Saturday, June 19 at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course (SPEED, live, 5 p.m. ET).
The TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates drivers finished second in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona and then won at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Barber Motorsports Park and Virginia International Raceway. They recovered from a last-place finish following a first-lap incident in the Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park by winning the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.
"It's too early to take anything for granted," Rojas said. "Lime Rock taught us that it's too early for us to talk about winning the championship. We entered that race with a very strong lead, and nearly lost it on the first lap. We cannot take anything for granted. We have to do the best we can and keep pushing to the end."
Dalziel opened the season as part of the winning Action Express Racing lineup in the Rolex 24, and then joined Mike Forest in the No. 8 Corsa Car Care BMW/Riley, finishing second at Lime Rock Park. Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor are third with 166 points, scoring podium finishes in the last three races in the No. 10 SunTrust Ford/Dallara.
In the production-based GT class, Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato recovered from a 15-place finish in the Rolex 24 by recording back-to-back victories at Homestead and Barber in the No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8. They hold a one-point lead in the GT title chase (176-175) over SpeedSource teammates Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito, who won the Rolex 24 in the No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8.
"Fortunately, we're running for the championship, and I don't view it as a burden at all," Segal said. "In years past, we've been frustrated not being in the hunt by the time the second half of the season rolled around. It's uncharted territory for the No. 69 team, but SpeedSource has done it before and I have done it in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge in 2007. So we'll see how it works out at the end of the year."
Andy Lally, winner at Virginia and Watkins Glen in the No. 66 TRG Porsche GT3, is third in the championship with 165 points.
Following Mid-Ohio, the series returns to Daytona International Speedway on July 3 for the Brumos Porsche 250. The season continues at New Jersey Motorsports Park on July 18, followed by the Crown Royal 200 at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 7 and the Montreal 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Aug. 28. The season concludes at Miller Motorsports Park near Salt Lake City, Utah on Sept. 11. All of the races are televised live on SPEED and broadcast on MRN, with SPEED.com streaming qualifying for most of the events.
Points Leaders (Daytona Prototype): Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas (by 18 points, 190-172, over Ryan Dalziel)
Points Leaders (GT): Emil Assentato, Jeff Segal (by 1 point, 176-175, over Sylvain Tremblay, Jonathan Bomarito)
Owner Points Leaders (Daytona Prototype): No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW/Riley (by 24 points, 190-166, over No. 10 SunTrust Racing Ford/Dallara)
Owner Points Leaders (GT): No. 69 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 (by 1 point, 176-175, over No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8)
Manufacturer Points Leaders (Daytona Prototype): BMW (by 17 points, 204-187, over Ford)
Chassis Points Leaders (Daytona Prototype): Riley (by 32 points, 207-175, over Dallara)
Manufacturer Points Leaders (GT): Mazda (by 34 points, 204-169, over Porsche)
Race Winners, Drivers (Daytona Prototype): Scott Pruett (4), Memo Rojas (4), Terry Borcheller (1), Joao Barbosa (1), Ryan Dalziel (1), Mike Rockenfeller (1), Max Angelelli (1), Ricky Taylor (1)
Race Winners, Drivers (GT): Jeff Segal (2), Emil Assentato (2), Andy Lally (2), Sylvain Tremblay (1), Nick Ham (1), David Haskell (1), Jonathan Bomarito (1), Ted Ballou (1), Adam Christodoulou (1), John Edwards (1), Spencer Pumpelly (1), Bob Doyle (1)
Race Winners, Teams (Daytona Prototype): TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (4), Action Express Racing (1), SunTrust Racing (1)
Race Winners, Teams (GT): SpeedSource (4), TRG (2)
Most Races Led, Drivers (Daytona Prototype): Scott Pruett (5)
Most Races Led, Drivers (GT): Jonathan Bomarito (5), Jordan Taylor (5)
Most Laps Led, Drivers (Daytona Prototype): Scott Pruett (306)
Most Laps Led, Drivers (GT): Robin Liddell (160)
Number of Drivers Who Have Led (Daytona Prototype): 38
Number of Drivers Who Have Led (GT): 33
Most Laps Led, Car (Daytona Prototype): No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley (459)
Most Laps Led, Car (GT): No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 (275)
Number of Cars Which Have Led (Daytona Prototype): 16
Number of Cars Which Have Led (GT): 14
Laps Completed (Daytona Prototype, Car): No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford/Lola (1,403/1,441; 97.4 percent)
Laps Completed (GT, Car): No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 (1,356/1,357; 99.9 percent)
Pole Positions, Drivers (Daytona Prototype): Max Angelelli (1), Darren Law (1), Ricky Taylor (1), Memo Rojas (1), Nic J├Ânsson (1), Scott Pruett (1)
Pole Positions, Drivers (GT): Jordan Taylor (2), Jeff Segal (1), Paul Edwards (1), Jonathan Bomarito (1), Craig Stanton (1)
Starting Positions for Winners (Daytona Prototype): 1st (2; VIR, Sahlen's Six Hours), 2nd (1; Lime Rock), 3rd (1; Barber), 4th (1; Homestead-Miami), 8th (1; Rolex 24)
Starting Positions for Winners (GT): 2nd (1; Lime Rock), 3rd (1; Rolex 24), 4th (1; Homestead-Miami), 6th (1; Barber), 11th (1; VIR); 15th (1; Sahlen's Six Hours)
Finishes Under Five Seconds (Daytona Prototype): 4/6 (Homestead-Miami, 0.255 seconds; VIR, 0.293 seconds; Lime Rock, 4.791 seconds; Sahlen's Six Hours, 1.623 seconds)
Finishes Under Five Seconds (GT): 4/6 (Barber, 3.675 seconds; VIR, 0.712 seconds; Lime Rock, 3.112 seconds; Sahlen's Six Hours, 3.712 seconds)
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