Lexus Grand Am Preview - New Jersey Motorsports Park

April 28, 2009
01 Lexus Grand-Am Rolex 24
What: Verizon Wireless 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park

When: Sunday, May 3, 1:00 p.m. EDT

Where: New Jersey Motorsports Park, 2.25-mile, 14-turn road course

Length: 2 hours, 45 minutes

TV: Live on SPEED

UNFAMILIAR TERRITORY – For the first time in 16 races, Lexus drivers Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas will not lead the Rolex Sports Car Series driver’s championship standings as they head to the New Jersey Motorsports Park for the Verizon Wireless 250. The duo enters this weekend’s action in fourth-place, nine points behind the leader, after failing to finish last weekend’s race in Virginia. Pruett and Rojas went wire-to-wire in winning last year’s championship, never trailing after winning the Rolex 24.

LAST RACE - After overcoming an early tire change, the #01 Telmex Lexus was running third at Virginia International Raceway and set to challenge for the victory before Scott Pruett was punted off the track on a re-start with just three laps remaining and was unable to finish the race, retiring in 12th-place. Memo Rojas had previously won the team’s first pole position of the season and led 27 of his 43 laps.

LAST YEAR AT NJMP – Despite a Thursday testing crash that forced the team to miss every session prior to the race, the #01 Telmex Lexus driven by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas drove up through the field to finish ninth in last year’s Grand-Am event at the New Jersey Motorsports Park and clinch the Rolex Sports Car Series team and driver’s championships.

The testing incident resulted in the team’s primary car being destroyed and forced the Ganassi team to return to its Indianapolis race shop and basically assemble the team’s back-up car. The crew flew back to the race shop on Thursday night, worked all day and night on Friday to prepare the car to be loaded on Saturday morning for the return trip to New Jersey.

NEW JERSEY CONNECTIONS – Last year’s race at the New Jersey Motorsports Park wasn’t the first trek into the Garden State for Lexus driver Scott Pruett. Pruett raced in the now defunct Meadowlands Grand Prix twice in the late 1980s. He finished third in the 1989 CART event behind Bobby Rahal and Emerson Fittipaldi in a top-five that also included Rick Mears and Al Unser Jr.

IN THE RECORD BOOKS – The Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus team enters into this weekend’s race as the winningest team in Rolex Sports Car Series history with 21 victories since entering the series in 2004. Lead driver Scott Pruett has won more races than any driver in Rolex history with 20, while also holding the record for most podium finishes with 41. Despite its relatively late entry into the series, Lexus is second among manufacturers in all-time wins with 23.

Pruett, the most decorated sports car racer in American history, set another record last season by earning his eighth major sports car title in winning the Rolex Series crown. Amazingly enough, Pruett established that record despite having spent eight full seasons in Indy cars and one in NASCAR, as well as missing a full season due to injury (1991). Pruett’s titles include two Daytona Prototype championships (2008 and 2004), two IMSA GTO titles (1986 and 1988), one IMSA GT Endurance (1986) and three Trans-Am championships (1987, 1994 and 2003). In 11 full seasons of sports car racing since 1986, Pruett has never finished below second in a points race.



Lexus Daytona Prototype Performance Index

Date Race Qualified/Finished

#01 #02

1/27 Daytona 24 6/2 8/5

4/25 Virginia 1/12 ---

5/3 New Jersey

5/17 Laguna Seca

6/6 Watkins Glen 6-Hour

6/20 Mid-Ohio

7/4 Daytona

7/19 Birmingham

8/7 Watkins Glen

8/29 Montreal

9/19 Salt Lake City

10/10 Miami-Homestead


Driver’s Championship


1.

2.

4.


Donohue/Law

Gurney/Fogarty

Pruett/Rojas


60

59

51


Team Championship


1.

2.

4.


Brumos #58

Gainsco/Stallings Racing

Chip Ganassi Racing


60

59

51


Manufacturer’s Championship


1.

2.

3.

4.

5.


Porsche

Ford

Pontiac

Lexus

BMW


60

60

59

51

50

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