Pruett-Rojas Victors On Hot Day At Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, June 7 – Veteran racer Scott Pruett and teammate Memo Rojas overcame the intense heat – 92 degrees – and the equally intense on-track competition to win the Sahlen’s Six Hours of the Glen, the seventh Rolex Series race of the season.

The 26th running of the lengthy race was staged on the Glen’s 11-turn, 3.4-mile long course.

The winners, driving the TELMEX Lexus Riley fielded by Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Racing, started 17th after not having the opportunity to take a high-speed qualifying lap but they didn’t waste time getting into contention.

Winning for the fourth time in 2008, Pruett and Rojas led 39 of the 170 laps and averaged 101.018 miles per hour en route to the checkered flag.

“We only had to make one change to the car,” Pruett said. “This race is six hours long but it has become a sprint race – everyone pushes 100 per cent all the way. There is not a chance to relax.”

Concerning the oppressive heat, he added, “It just didn’t bother me. It could be my genetics or something like that.”

Added Rojas, “The race came to us in the last couple of years. With Scott (Pruett) in the car for the last three hours, he is my hero.”

In total, Pruett drove more than four hours but he was within the rules in doing so.

Pruett started the race and Rojas took over during the second hour. On lap 90, Pruett returned to the cockpit and drove the car to the finish — when the heat was at its worst.

For Pruett, he won for the third time at the Glen and for the 18th time in Rolex action. And he claimed his 11th victory for races of six hours or longer.

Rojas went to victory lane for the first time at the Glen.

Second place in the hard-fought race went to veteran drivers Darren Law and David Donohue driving the famed Brumos Porsche. Their previous best finish in 2008 had been fifth place three weeks ago.

“We wanted to win the race for a lot of reasons, but second place for the way we have been doing is good for us,” Donohue said. Law stated, “We had a tough time on restarts and I got loose each time. But our program is really coming together.”

Max Angelelli and Michael Valiante were the crowd favorites as they miraculously rebounded from a transporter fire that destroyed their primary car and equipment to gain the final podium position. The duo drove the SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley.

With Angelelli driving, the Italian made a frantic charge in the final minutes to score the third place finish even though he was barely coherent on the radio. “I wanted the podium for the guys and I was pushing hard,” he said. “The way I drive I use up all of my energy.”

In the closing laps, his team knew how badly the heat was affecting him and they were attempting to keep him going. He had to be treated for the heat upon emerging from the car.

Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Mark Patterson brought their Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley into fourth place ahead of the Doran Ford Dallara driven by Memo Gidley and Brad Jaeger.

In the GT class, Jeff Segal, Nick Longhi and Emil Assentato drove their FXDD Mazda RX-8 to victory – their first in Rolex Series competition.

Second in GT went to the Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R of Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell. Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards claimed third in the Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R.

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