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DATE News (chronologically)
07/14/07
ga
Pruett, Rojas win in Iowa
Daytona Prototype championship points leader Scott Pruett and his points-leading No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team rewrote the record books Friday in Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve competition, as both became leaders in overall Rolex Series victories at Iowa Speedway with a narrow triumph at the 1.3-mile, nine-turn stadium road course. Pruett shared the victory in the Daytona Prototype feature race with Mexican rookie Memo Rojas.

Pruett, who now owns a record 14 Rolex Series overall wins, led No. 19 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Z-Line/Mission Residential Lexus Riley teammate Michael Valiante by .325 seconds at the checkered flag for the No. 01 team's second victory of 2007 and Ganassi's first ever 1-2 finish in the series. It also marked the 15th overall Rolex Series victory for Ganassi, another series record, and gave Rojas his first Rolex Series victory after three runner-up finishes earlier this season.

Pruett and Valiante, who co-drove with Rob Finlay to the pair's best career finish, battled through traffic for the final 10 laps, trying desperately to garner breathing room for a clean shootout. However, lapped traffic didn't budge, and Valiante had a last-ditch passing opportunity when Pruett's car hiccupped in the final corner. But Valiante also checked up and didn't force an attempt, giving Pruett just enough to secure the victory and improve his championship points lead to 15 over Max Angelelli (272-257) with five series races remaining.

"We had rules not to take each other out," Pruett said of him and his teammates. "It was good and bad. Everything was good until the last lap when we started running out of fuel and coughing. Luckily, the car picked it up and we didn't miss coming onto the straightaway. We unloaded strong, and we each tried some things that helped us out throughout the evening. It is a strong finish for Ganassi. We've been very fortunate with Ganassi, Lexus and Carlos Slim (of TELMEX). Michael and Rob have been a strong addition to the team, and all in all, we just try to do what we know how to do - go out and win races. Tonight was a lot better than I expected. I hope we put on a strong race for the fans."

Rojas completed the first 38 laps after starting second. He fell to third on the first lap but held that position until pitting.

Finlay posted a career-best starting position of fifth and kept the car in the top-five much of his stint before Valiante took over during the first round of pit stops. Valiante set the race's fastest lap on Lap 173 (41.624 seconds; 112.435 mph) and quickly shortened a three-second advantage to about six tenths of a second soon after. Valiante closed in as the lead duo approached slower traffic, and decided against possible contact with Pruett to improve his position on the final lap.

"When Scott bobbled, I checked up, and if it was anyone else I would have tried to make that winning move," Valiante said. "It was going to be our best finishing position anyway, so it just wouldn't have been a smart move to make and maybe take both of us out. Second was good for us. We all do a good job sharing information (within Ganassi), and this relationship has just grown very well. We are extremely happy with this result."

Pos No. Class Driver Team/Car Laps
1 01 DP Pruett/ Rojas TELMEX Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates / Lexus Riley 192
2 19 DP Finlay/ Valiante Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates / Lexus Riley 192
3 99 DP Fogarty/ Gurney Gainsco/ Bob Stallings Racing / Pontiac Riley 192
4 75 DP Braun/ Papis Krohn Racing / Pontiac Riley 192
5 60 DP Patterson/ Negri Jr Michael Shank Racing / Lexus Riley 192
6 58 DP Donohue/ Law Red Bull/ Brumos Porsche / Porsche Riley 192
7 10 DP Taylor/ Angelelli/ Magnussen SunTrust Racing / Pontiac Riley 191
8 3 DP Lewis/ Ruhlman/ Martin Southard Motorsports / Lexus Riley 190
9 6 DP Pew/ James Michael Shank Racing / Lexus Riley 190
10 23 DP Patrick Long Alex Job Racing / Porsche Crawford 190
11 76 DP Krohn/ Jonsson Krohn Racing / Pontiac Riley 188
12 59 DP Haywood/ France/ Cosmo Brumos Porsche/ Kendall / Porsche Riley 186
13 05 DP Auberlen/ Alhadeff Luggage Express Team Sigalsport BMW / BMW Riley 159
14 39 DP Fittipaldi/ Brix Cheever Racing / Porsche Fabcar 117
15 61 DP Frisselle/ Wilkins/ Frisselle AIM Autosport / Lexus Riley 99
16 91 DP Matthews/ Goossens Riley-Matthews Motorsports / Pontiac Riley 66
17 11 DP Szekeres/ Carpentier SAMAX / Pontiac Riley 34
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