Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas won the Grand-Am Rolex Series race at Road America, returning their Ganassi Riley-BMW to the winners circle for the first time since the April race at Barber Motorsports Park. The win came in a two-hour race, the shortest of the Rolex Series season.
Rojas had qualified the car third on the Daytona Prototype grid. Both he and Pruett said that while the car was not handling well in qualifying, the Ganassi crew was able to improve the setup substantially for the race.
Rojas was running third five laps into the race, when a two-car crash in the GT class between the Camaro of Gunter Schaldach and the Mazda RX-8 of Joe Foster brought out a yellow flag that began a 51-minute caution period.
When the track went back to green Pruett was in the Ganassi car, running third. He made a fuel stop, returned to the track, and soon moved into the lead. He stayed there for the balance of the race, taking the win ahead of the Riley-Chevrolet of Alex Gurney/Jon Fogarty and the Dallara-Ford of Ricky Taylor/Max Angelelli.
Rojas said, "Today was a strange race for everybody, with the long yellow flag. We weren't really happy with the car before the race and thought we lost our way, but we found a few issues and made some radical decisions. We didn't know what to expect for the race, but the car was really good. We did our long stop early on, and that helped us later in the race."
The GT class win went to the Corvette of Eric Curran/John Heinricy. Curran took the lead on the last lap after two front-running cars, the Camaro of Jordan Taylor/Bill Lester and the Porsche of Spencer Pumpelly/Steven Berthau, ran out of fuel. The Turner Motorsport M3 of Bill Auberlen/Paul Dalla Lana ran as high as second, but the car fell back after a late-race fuel stop and finished eighth in class.
After Road America, Pruett and Rojas lead the Daytona Prototype driver standings, while Auberlen and Dalla Lana remain in third in GT points behind Camaro racers Bill Lester and Jordan Taylor and Porsche racers Leh Keen and Andrew Davis.
Matt Bell and John Edwards won the Road America Continental Sports Car Challenge Series race at Road America, scoring the first Camaro win of the season. They finished ahead of the Mustang of Jack Roush Jr. and Billy Johnson and the pole-sitting Rum-Bum M3 of Nick Longhi and Matt Plumb.
Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana held onto their Grand Sport class points lead while finishing eighth. Dalla Lana was hit by Roush on lap two; the Mustang driver was given a stop-and-go penalty for the incident. Dalla Lana brought the car in for repairs on an early full-course yellow that came out after the BimmerWorld M3 of Lyonel Kent rolled after making contact with the Mustang of Eduardo Furlanetto.
Tyler McQuarrie qualified the Insight Racing 328i on the ST class pole and led his entire stint, handing off to co-driver Nico Rondet. With 24 minutes remaining in the 2 ½ -hour race Rondet crashed heavily into the barrier in turn two. He walked away from the incident, but damage of the barrier was too severe to repair in time for a restart, so the race finished under yellow. Nic Jonsson and Mike Galati won the ST class in their Kia Forte. The Mini of Sarah Cattaneo/Owen Trinkler finished fourth, and the 328i of
Jesse Combs/Jeff Mosing finished fifth.
The Rolex and CTSCC series run again at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on July 8 and 9.—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.org
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