Pruett, Rojas Seek Record-Tying Seventh Victory
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas (No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley) rebounded from a post-race infraction from the recent event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to score a commanding victory in the recent Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona, increasing their lead in the Daytona Prototype championship to 13 points (235-222) with four races remaining in the GRAND-AM Rolex Series season.
After opening the season with a second-place finish in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates drivers won six of the next seven races - with Rojas' first-lap off-track excursion at Lime Rock Park the lone blemish on their record.
This weekend, they will seek to score their seventh victory of the season, which would tie Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty (No. 99 GAINSCO Chevrolet/Riley) for the all-time record. They also look to score a record fourth consecutive overall victory-although their last attempt at that mark resulted in a last-place finish at Lime Rock.
Pruett leads all drivers with 28 victories in the 100 Daytona Prototype races to date, while Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates leads GRAND-AM's premier division with 29 triumphs.
"Going back to New Jersey last year was fantastic," said Pruett, who was involved in a spectacular accident during opening testing prior to the 2008 event. "The weekend was incredible - with fans cheering all the way to the checkered flag despite the horrific rain. I look forward to going back."
Krohn Racing Returns Lola to Scene of First DP Victory
Krohn Racing gave the Proto-Auto Lola its first victory in Rolex Series Daytona Prototype competition last spring at New Jersey Motorsports Park, when Nic Jönsson (No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford/Lola) and Ricardo Zonta won the rain-soaked NJMP 250.
Jönsson and Zonta backed up that victory in more favorable conditions later in the season, winning at Watkins Glen International.
This weekend, Jonsson will co-drive the No. 75 Krohn Racing Ford/Lola with car owner Tracy Krohn.
"It's a different time of the year, and hopefully it will be sunny for all the spectators enjoying the very close racing," Jönsson said. "We were very quick at New Jersey the last two years, and won there last year. I thought our Proto-Auto Ford/Lola is very suited to that track and we're hopeful that Tracy Krohn and I can do it again. The car runs very well in the rain, but I think we also should be very strong in dry conditions-and I hope it stays dry for the fans."
Jonsson and Krohn finished sixth in the recent Brumos Porsche 250, losing two positions in the closing laps. It was their best outing since placing fourth in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.
While Krohn did not race at NJMP last season, he posted his best outing of 2008 at Thunderbolt Raceway with an eighth-place finish.
Dempsey Looks to Return
Patrick Dempsey (No. 40 Mazda USA Mazda RX-8 GT) is wrapping up a film project in Louisiana but hopes to be back behind the wheel again before the end of the season.
"I had a great opportunity to do four races in a row at the start of the season and I am sure to be back for at least a couple more before the season is out," Dempsey said.
"In the meantime, I am very pleased with the progress of the team and the speed that both of our cars are showing. I am sure Leh (Keen) and James (Gue) (No. 41 Team Seattle/Global Diving Mazda RX-8) will win a race at some point when the breaks fall their way. Joe (Foster) and Charles (Espenlaub) also continue to impress in the older No. 40 car as we work hard on the sponsorship partnerships we need to get that car updated or replaced. I look forward to getting back as soon as possible."
Four-Week Layoff Ends For Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Teams
It has been four weeks since the last Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race, but competitors return to action for the third annual Garden State 250 at 2:45 p.m. ET Saturday at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Grand Sport championship leaders Charles Espenlaub and Charlie Putman (No. 48 Fall-Line/Sparco BMW M3) enter the eighth of 10 rounds on the 2010 circuit with a 17-point advantage (206-189) in the standings over Joey Hand and Michael Marsal (No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3). Espenlaub and Putman have not finished worse than sixth, and have four podium finishes in seven races.
Historically speaking, the leaders with three races remaining on the schedule have won two of the last three titles (2008 season excluded).
New ST Points Leaders Look to Stay There: Seth Thomas and Bill Heumann (No. 81 Performance Friction/RAYS Engineering BMW 328i) find themselves atop the Street Tuner championship points standings following their second victory of 2010 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Thomas and Heumann lead the championship by only one point though (212-211), as the pair tries to give the team, BimmerWorld/GearWrench, a title in its rookie season.
"Coming off a great race at Mid-Ohio I think we have a huge momentum swing in our favor," Thomas said. "New Jersey has been good to our cars for speed in the past where we qualified second in a different series last year. Also, the track is very similar to Mid-Ohio with a fast long straight and a very tight technical section. (But) we will have to rely more on the suspension tuning and pit strategy that has helped us run up at the front all year."
The team's other drivers are David White and team owner James Clay (No. 80 Performance Friction/RAYS Engineering BMW 328i).
New ST Points Leaders Look to Stay There: Second in the championship standings are a pair of drivers who led the points after the first six races. Lawson Aschenbach and David Thilenius (No. 74 Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si), have two victories, yet a cut tire in the most recent race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course forced a late pit stop and a 10th-place finish, the pair's worst result of 2010.
The pair takes to the track Saturday at a place where Compass360 made history last season, earning an unprecedented podium sweep in the Street Tuner class. Aschenbach and Thilenius's No. 74 Honda Civic Si won the race.
This season, the team is fielding four cars at each race, so a 1-2-3-4 sweep could trump even the record effort from 2009. The other drivers are Ryan Eversley and Zach Lutz (No. 75 Skunk2/JC Concrete Honda Civic Si); John Kuitwaard and Benoit Theetge (No. 76 Skunk2/Carmen & Camille Honda Civic Si); and Alex Kirby and Gregory Liefooghe (No. 77 C360R/Exclusive Management Honda Civic Si).
Ted Anthony Jr. Joins Mitchum: Mitchum Motorsports has picked up rookie Ted Anthony Jr. (No. 62 Atterbury Racing Camaro) to drive for the team the remainder of the season.
Anthony, who has a best finish of 15th this season, joins Joey Atterbury at a team that earned its best finish of the season at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course-eighth. Both drivers began the 2010 season with TC Motorsports.
"I am really looking forward to racing the Camaro again, as well as working with Joey and Mitchum Motorsports," Anthony said. "I've been following them all season and have been impressed with the development of the car and the professionalism of the team."