Grand AM » 07 June 2009
Ganassi team claims Sahlen's win.
Defending Daytona Prototype champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas were still vying for their first victory of 2009 entering Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen, but that changed in the second-longest race on the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series
The duo cruised to victory and vaulted from fourth - and 14 points adrift - in the standings to take a share of the championship lead at Watkins Glen International as the #01 TELMEX Lexus Riley fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates finally converted pole into victory.
It was the team's third victory in the event - note that both previous times saw Pruett go on to capture the Daytona Prototype title - and they dominated the event, leading 142 of the 188 laps on the 3.4-mile circuit - including the final 35.
"The championship is back to being a nail-biter," said Pruett, who scored a series-extending 20th DP victory, "It's going to be a fight with the SunTrust, GAINSCO and Penske teams. There are a lot of guys in the mix and a lot of exciting racing going on. It's going to go down to the wire at Homestead-Miami Speedway."
Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty entered the event with an eight-point lead, but had a frustrating day. Gurney needed four pit-stops early in the race, while the team worked on handling problems on the #99 GAINSCO Pontiac Riley, which dropped them to 16th and four laps down. The pair battled to get back onto the lead lap, and Fogarty was running sixth with two hours remaining when he tangled with Rolex 24 winner David Donohue in turn eight, spinning into a gravel trap and retiring with floorboard damage - resulting from the car being towed from the trap.
"It was just an all-around forgettable day," Gurney sighed, "We were reasonably competitive and thinking about the championship we just had a lot of things go wrong today. We were running fifth and we were in good shape - it was just unfortunate."
Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle finished second in the #10 SunTrust Ford Dallara, moving into a tie for the points lead with the Ganassi duo on 140 points. Timo Bernard and Romain Dumas finished third in the #12 Verizon Wireless Porsche Riley, tying Gurney and Fogarty for third in the standings, six points behind the leaders.
Rounding out the top five at The Glen were the two Michael Shank Racing Ford Rileys, with Oz Negri and Mark Patterson finishing fourth in the #60, followed by Michael Valiante and John Pew in the #6 sister car.
Sixth place went to JC France, Joao Barbosa and Hurley Haywood, who advanced a race-high eleven positions in the #59 Brumos Porsche Riley as Haywood celebrated the 40th anniversary of his first of six class victories in the Six Hours of The Glen.
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