Raphael Matos enjoyed a winning end to the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season as, after winning the GT class in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona back in January, he returned to take his first Daytona Prototype win at Miller Motorsports Park.
Matos joined regular drivers Ian James and John Pew to give the #6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley its first Rolex Series victory as the team became the third first-time Daytona Prototype winner in three races at Miller Motorsports Park.
Meanwhile, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas wrapped up the 2008 Daytona Prototype championship with a ninth place finish in the #01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley, joined by Alex Lloyd.
The 137-lap race on the 4.486-mile circuit saw 16 lead changes among 14 drivers and ten cars, with the event including a mid-race deluge that quickly dissipated. A record nine of the ten lead-lap finishers led the race.
However, Matos pulled away on the restart following the sixth and final caution. He led the final 28 laps - the most in the event - cruising to a 29.398-second margin of victory over the #10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Dallara of Max Angelelli and Michael Valiante.
"The car was very strong at the end of the race and that's why I was able to pull a gap,” Matos, the 2008 Indy Lights title winner, said. “I love this series and I love the cars. I love driving them.
“I had a great team - Mike Shank did an amazing job, and John Pew and Ian James did a great job. The crew had an amazing pit stop, and that's what put us in first position. This is a happy moment for everyone and a great way to finish the season.
“I was a little bit concerned about the car before the race, but the car had a great balance and the balanced improved throughout the race. That's why were able to win at the end."
Michael Shank Racing scored its first victory at Miller in 2006 when Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson took the team's #60 entry to victory. That was their first triumph until the most recent Rolex Series race, when Negri and Patterson brought the #60 Ford Riley to victory lane at New Jersey Motorsports Park.