Utah: Chip Ganassi Racing preview
Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas and the No. 01 TELMEX Lexus Team Lloyd in the Line-up: Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) Development Driver, Alex Lloyd will join Pruett and Rojas in the No.01 TELMEX Daytona Prototype (DP) at MMP. Lloyd last raced the ...
Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas and the No. 01 TELMEX Lexus Team
Lloyd in the Line-up: Target Chip Ganassi Racing (TCGR) Development Driver, Alex Lloyd will join Pruett and Rojas in the No.01 TELMEX Daytona Prototype (DP) at MMP. Lloyd last raced the No.02 Target/TELMEX car at January's Rolex 24 At Daytona with TCGR teammates Scott Dixon, Dan Wheldon and Salvador Duran with an 18th in-class finish after a mechanical DNF ended their run. After clinching the 2007 Firestone IndyLights championship at Infineon Raceway, the Englishman partnered with Michael Valiante in the No.19 CGRFS DP and finished in sixth place after starting fifth on the grid. Alex states, "I'm thrilled to get back into the TELMEX car and help Scott (Pruett) and Memo (Rojas) win the championship. I'm looking forward to learning and racing on the impressive track at Miller and can not wait to have a successful weekend."
Championship Race: In 2004 Pruett and Max Papis clinched the Rolex Series Driver and Team Championship after scoring four wins, 11 poles and eight podium finishes. CGRFS won the Team Championship in 2006 with five wins, five poles and eight podium finishes. In 2008's commanding season the TELMEX duo has amassed six wins, two poles and eight podium finishes in 13 starts.
Salt Lake in the Rear View: With 25 laps remaining in last season's finale at MMP, Pruett took over the helm from Rojas and Salvador Duran and came out of the pits in second place, behind race leader Angelelli with Fogarty closing the gap behind the No.01 car. The No.10 car was forced to pit when their fender began rubbing on a tire. Meanwhile, the No.99 car attempted to overtake the TELMEX machine for both the race and championship lead by making controversial contact that sent Pruett wide, blew out the left rear tire and caused extensive damage to the Lexus-Riley while the No.99 sustained a flat left front. The No.01 TELMEX DP began to fight its way back into contention for the championship until contact that Grand-Am deemed unavoidable on lap 132 with the No.99 caused Pruett to incur a drive through penalty. After serving the penalty with three laps remaining, the team finished the race one spot behind the No.99 car and became the runner-up in the Championship.
Winless in Salt Lake: MMP is one of two venues (Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal) where the TELMEX team has not scored a victory in the team's five-year history of Rolex Series competition. The No.01 car has tallied two poles in two starts at the west coast track. The team scored their best finish (fourth place) in 2006 with Scott Pruett, Luis Diaz and Scott Dixon at the helm and left with a top-ten finish (ninth) last year. Earlier in the season, Pruett and Rojas broke winless barriers at Homestead Miami Speedway, Daytona (summer sprint) and Barber Motorsports Park.
Record-Breaking?: If Pruett wins the Grand-Am driver championship, he could score an American record eight major sports car championships, breaking a record he currently holds with the late Peter Gregg. Pruett's title includes one Daytona Prototype championship (2004), two IMSA GTO titles (1986 and 1988), one IMSA GT Endurance (1986) and three Trans-Am championships (1987,1994 and 2003). In 10 full seasons of sports car racing since 1986, Pruett has never finished below second in a championship race. With a championship Rojas could be the first Mexican driver to win a major racing championship in the United States.
Atop the Standings: Pruett and Rojas will enter Saturday's event with a 38-point margin over the No.99 car as the TELMEX team continues to hold the championship points lead into the season-closer Round #14. The TELMEX duo has entered each race this season as the points leader and has led 521 laps of 1,855 total laps run this season (28%).
No. 01 TELMEX: Will race back-up No.01 TELMEX car with Grand-Am approved bodywork. Car raced under the No.01 TELMEX/Target banner at the 2008 Rolex 24 At Daytona and was raced at the inaugural New Jersey Motorsports Park event on August 31.