Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Pruett maintained his Rolex Sports Car Series driver's points lead with a sixth place finish under the lights at Daytona International Speedway in the latest round of the Grand-Am Roelx Sportscar Series.
The threat of rain and humid track conditions, compounded with practice, qualification, and the race in the same day added to the complexity of CGRFS' strategy. Memo Rojas began behind the wheel for the No.01 TELMEX Lexus-Riley from eighth on the grid, with Pruett stepping in on Lap 36 and running consistently as he progressed from 11th to sixth place.
With a lack of favorable cautions (only one full course yellow) through the entire 70-lap race, the TELMEX car secured their eighth top-10 in as many races on the 2007 season.
Starting next to their teammates in ninth, the no.19 Z-Line Design/Mission Residential/ Make-A-Wish Lexus-Riley piloted by Rob Finlay and Michael Valiante proved that an early spin in the back straightway chicane would not deter their performance.
Valiante steadily charged up the scoreboard from 16th to a race-high third by Lap 44. After the team's second pit stop on Lap 45, the car maintained its top-10 run and was the eighth DP to cross the finish line under the lights at DIS.
With the result, Pruett remains the Rolex Series point leader in the driver championship with 237 markers, four more than his nearest competition Max Angelelli as the series heads to Round 9 of the 14-race schedule. Pruett and Rojas also maintained their lead in the team championship with 237 points.
“When I got in the car and we were running 11th, I got set up and settled in and was in a position of straggling in 11th,” Pruett said. “The Ganassi crew was great though because they were able to take the car up to sixth.
“I'm glad we are able to maintain our points lead. Certainly, we had to change our strategy because of our qualifying results. But, at the end of the evening, it seemed that our game plan worked well. I feel that we really got the most that we could from the car tonight.”