Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas captured their first win in Grand-Am this season. [Jon Kanter Photo]
Pruett And Rojas Back In Victory Lane At Road America
by John Wiedemann
Elkhart Lake, WI - June 23, 2012 - Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas finally found victory lane this year, winning the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Rolex 250 driven by VisitFlorida.com at Road America in Elkhart Lake, WI.
One wouldn't think of the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team of being underdogs. While they lead the championship standings, they had not yet won a race in the series this year. In fact, their last win was almost eleven months ago at New Jersey Motorsports Park on July 24, 2011.
When the race leading SunTrust Corvette driven by Ricky Taylor damaged his left rear suspension after impacting the wall while warming up his tires under caution, Pruett suddenly found himself in the lead with a little more than twelve minutes remaining in the race.
Back under green, Pruett took off and sped to the victory in the TelMex BMW, taking the win over three seconds ahead of Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio in the Starworks Motorsport Ford. Ozz Negri Jr. and John Pew finished third in the LiveOn.com Ford shutting Corvette, a winner of the last five races, out of the podium.
"We've been digging all year, working to get every point we can," said Pruett. "With about five laps to go, all I could do was to go every lap like I was qualifying. We could always do consistent fast laps, so all I could do was go like heck to the checkered. Road America is one of my favorite tracks. Winning here again is awesome."
With the win, Pruett and Rojas continue to lead the point standings now by five points over Dalziel and Potolicchio.
In GT class action, Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato drove the AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia to victory. Segal took the lead with thirty-three minutes remaining in the race and took the checkers two and a half seconds ahead of the Turner Motorsport BMW driven by Paul Dalla Lana and Bill Auberlen. Jonathan Bomarito and Sylvain Tremblay finished third in class driving the SpeedSource Mazda RX-8.
"It's exciting to be able to run up front," said Assentato. "I've got to take my hat off to Ian Willis and the entire team. Without their preparation, this car would be very difficult to handle because it has a very narrow window of setup. It's not the fastest car out there, but we've got a great team and Jeff [Segal] did a fantastic job taking it to the finish."
Local racer Scott Mayer, along with co-driver Colin Braun, raced the Starworks Motorsport Ford/Riley to an overall fifth place finish.
"It's great to be racing close to home," said Mayer. "I've got experience here, but I haven't race Road America since 1999. I've got a local sponsor, Sprecher Root Beer of Milwaukee, and I have a lot of people here for the race. "
Ara Malkhassain won the SCCA Pro Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup race at Road America on Saturday morning. Driving for ALARA Racing, Malkhassain beat Dean Copeland to the checkers by seven hundredths of a second, sideways. Copeland had the lead racing up the hill to the checkers but Malkhassain got alongside and the two mada contact spinning both Mazdas into the wall and across the finish line. Race officials reviewed the finish and penalized Copeland for blocking and making avoidable contact, but Copeland will keep the runner-up finish.
The driving team of Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi in their RumBum Racing Porsche 997 held off Jack Roush Jr. and Billy Johnson's Roush Performance Racing Mustang Boss 302R GT to take the victory in the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race at Road America on Friday evening.