Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in their Ganassi Racing Riley-BMW ended their nine-race drought with an overall win in the two-hour Grand-Am Rolex Series race at Road America. In the GT class, Bill Auberlen and Paul Dalla Lana, coming off their GT class win at Mid-Ohio, finished second in class behind the Ferrari 458 of Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato.
In Friday’s Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race James Clay and John Capestro-Dubets in their BimmerWorld 328i finished third in ST.
Crew chief Tim Keen’s pit strategy calls and strong drives by both Pruett and Rojas contributed to Ganassi Racing’s win at Road America. With qualifying rained out, the grid was set by points standings; as Pruett and Rojas led by a scant two points going into the race, they started from the pole. Rojas led from the start and came in for fuel on an early yellow. The timing of the stop served the team well; they pitted again for fuel and a driver change with 48 minutes left, leaving Pruett running near the front with enough fuel to finish the race.
He was running second, poised to take the lead after a late full-course yellow when race leader Ricky Taylor took himself out, crashing the SunTrust Corvette DP that he shared with Max Angelelli under yellow as he was warming up his tires. It was an unpleasant déjà vu experience for Taylor, who had hit the pit wall two races earlier in Detroit, ending the team’s chance of a win there.
Pruett held off Ryan Dalziel in his Starworks Riley-Ford. Dalziel and his teammate Enzo Potolicchio, who are second to Pruett and Rojas in points, had just returned from Le Mans, where they won the LMP2 class in Starworks’ HPD-Honda prototype.
Paul Dalla Lana started the Turner Motorsport M3 fifth on the GT class grid. He fell back on his stint after being caught up in an early-race contact incident, but after Bill Auberlen took over he moved the M3 through the pack, leading at one point during pit stop shuffles in the second half of the race. Running second after the last caution period, he battled with the Porsche of Leh Keen, falling to third momentarily but soon regaining the position. But he could not catch Segal for the win.
After Road America Pruett and Rojas extended their slim points lead over Dalziel and Potolicchio from two points to five, and Dalla Lana moved up to fourth in GT, where Segal and Assentato lead.
John Capestro-Dubets in his BimmerWorld 328i finished third in class in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race at Road America on Friday night, salvaging BMW’s honor in a yellow-flag-plagued 2 ½ enduro that saw many of the marque’s front runners side tracked.
The overall and Grand Sport win went to Matt Plumb and Nick Longhi in their Rum Bum Porsche; the team had moved from BMW to Porsche early in the season. Mustang racers Billy Johnson and Jack Roush Jr. finished second, while Porsche racers David Empringham and John Farano rounded out the podium.
It was not a great day for the GS M3s; Both Turner cars went out in crashes, with Bill Auberlen's caused by suspension failure, and the Charles Putman/Charles Espenlaub Fall-Line car also crashed out. Al Carter had mechanical problems early in the race in the Fall-Line M3 that he shared with Hugh Plumb, but the duo recovered to finish eighth.
BMW was closer to the front in Street Tuner, where the Capestro-Dubets/James Clay BimmerWorld 328i, the Jesse Combs/Jeff Mosing Epic-Murillo330i, and the Terry Borcheller/Mike LaMarra Burton Racing 128i were all contenders; Borcheller led at one point.
At the end of the race Capestro-Dubets finished third and Borcheller finished fourth. Aleks Altberg and David Cheng won in their APR Motorsport VW GTI, with Chad Gilsinger and Michael Valiante second in their Hart Honda Civic Si.
Grand-Am goes directly from Road America to Watkins Glen for two races next weekend. The CTSCC series runs a 2 ½-hour race on Saturday afternoon and the Rolex Series runs a six-hour enduro on Sunday.—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.orgBack to News