Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in their Ganassi Racing Riley-BMW finished second in a rough Grand-Am Rolex Series race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Starworks Motorsports’ Sebastien Bourdais and Alex Popow took the overall win in the three-hour race in their Riley-Ford. Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Dixon finished fourth in another Ganassi Riley-BMW, behind the Corvette DP of Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli.
The race, the first for Grand-Am at the Brickyard, started in the wet, then ran for a time in the dry, then went back to rain with a heavy downpour, and finished in dry conditions. Rojas was fast in the rain, either leading or battling for the lead for much of his stint. He had spun and fallen to sixth when Pruett took over an hour into the race during one of the race’s nine full course yellow flag periods.
Pruett ran behind Ryan Dalziel in the Starworks Riley-Ford and Max Angelelli for a time, and then fell to fourth behind Dixon.
Eventually Rojas, who appeared to be faster in the rain, got back into the car. Pruett said, “I got out because Memo was just rocking in the rain. I wasn’t as quick as he was. We’re running for a championship, and I’m not too proud to notice he’s doing a better job in these conditions.”
But Rojas had problems on his second stint. As he tried to move up, he made contact with Bourdais, and then hit the wall as he tried to make an overambitious pass on a Camaro entering the front straight. He came in under yellow for repairs, and Pruett took over, still on the lead lap.
Late in the race Dalziel and his teammate Enzo Potolicchio, running second in drivers’ points to Pruett and Rojas, appeared to be on their way to a win; they led, ahead of Joao Barbosa in his Corvette DP, with Pruett third and Montoya fourth. Montoya made contact with both Barbosa and Dalziel, taking them out of contention, advancing his teammates’ points lead and making Starworks team owner Peter Baron very unhappy.
Bourdais took a commanding lead in the other Starworks car, eventually winning ahead of Pruett, Taylor, and Montoya.
While the win extended the points lead of Pruett and Rojas over Dalziel and Potolocchio, there was a major consolation for Baron; the Indianapolis race was the third and final round of Grand-Am’s new North American Endurance Championship, which also included the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Watkins Glen six-hour race. The win by Bourdais and Popow clinched the title and the $100,000 prize for Starworks.
Turner Motorsport’s M3, piloted by Paul Dalla Lana, Billy Johnson, and Bill Auberlen finished fourth in the GT class. It was the Turner team’s 250th professional race. Andy Lally and John Potter in their Magnum Racing Porsche GT3 won the class and the NAEC title, which carried a $50,000 award for GT.
The Rolex Series has four races left in its thirteen-race season. Watkins Glen is next, in two weeks, followed by Montreal, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, and the finale at Lime Rock in late September.—Brian S. Morgan, motorsports editor, bmwcca.orgBack to News