Mexico City: Matthews Riley Ends Ganassi Streak + Results

Goosens and Matthews took their second Grand Am win

MEXICO CITY (April 19, 2008) - There was plenty of bumping and banging up front in Saturday's Mexico City 250 at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Riley Matthews Motorsports teammates Jim Matthews and Marc Goossens bided their time before making their move, leading the final 28 laps to score their second career victory in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.

Pole winner Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett were seeking their third consecutive triumph in the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley, with both drivers involved in controversial bumping incidents.

Goossens made his move on a strong outside pass of Pruett with 28 laps remaining, and managed to hold off Pruett, Ricardo Zonta and Alex Gurney down the stretch to claim the team's first victory since the 2007 season finale at Miller Motorsports Park in Salt Lake City, when they were joined
by Ryan Hunter-Reay.

"It was tough," said Goossens. "Once I got by Scott, he kept putting pressure on me all the way. It was pretty tough keeping the lead."

The top three finishers -- joined at times by Gurney -- battled nose-to-tail throughout the final 20 laps.

Matthews, who started 15th, wasn't surprised by the victory.

"I expected it," he said. "I've got the best people around me."

In GT, Stephenson Motorsports took its first Rolex Series victory, with Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell stretching the fuel mileage in the No. 57 Pontiac GXP.R to hold off the new division's point leaders, Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards in the No. 07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R.

Rojas took the early lead from the pole. In a strategic move, Jon Fogarty pitted at the end of the first lap, to satisfy Grand-Am¹s requirement that each team must pit during the opening 45 minutes of a race.

Burt Frisselle attempted that strategy on lap five in the debut of the No. 47 Doran Racing Ford Dallara, but he was penalized for speeding on pit road.

Henri Zogaib spun on lap 12 in the No. 2 Cigarette Racing SAMAX Pontiac BMW, and collected the No. 21 Matt Connolly Motorsports BMW of Pepe Montano. Both cars were able to continue. Simultaneously, the second-place No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley of Mark Wilkins began smoking heavily, sending the
second-fastest qualifier to the pits for a long stop to replace a seal on the side of the gearbox.

Rojas pitted on lap 16, 21 minutes into the race, topping off with fuel. That gave the lead to David Donohue in the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley.

The first caution waved on lap 20 for debris from the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola of Tracy Krohn. With the incident coming 30 minutes into the event, starting drivers met the minimum requirement to score points. Rojas stayed out to gain the lead, followed by Gene Sigal in the No. 7 Rum Bum BMW Riley and Fogarty. Most of the remaining Daytona Prototype and GT pitted and changed tires.

Rojas held off an attempted pass by Sigal on the lap 24 restart, with Fogarty getting by Sigal to take second. Moments later, Sigal pitted under green, turning the Sigalsport BMW Riley over to Matt Plumb in 16th place.

Fogarty took the lead on lap 34 with an aggressive pass of Rojas. The GAINSCO driver got to the inside of the TELMEX Lexus entering Turn 7. The two went down the front straight side by side ­ bumping at least seven times with Fogarty taking the lead entering Turn 1.

Our big problem was we pitted when we shouldn't have, Fogarty said. The GAINSCO car was good enough so we could work our strategy the way we wanted to and get by the No. 01. We had a battle there. That's not what I expect out of Memo, but I guess in his home country, in front of all of his fans, he gets pretty desperate. I¹ll forgive him this time, but I¹ll punch his teeth out next time, Fogarty said.

We had a close moment there, Rojas said. He got lucky with the traffic and was able to get a run on me on the inside. I don¹t know his words, so I can't say anything back.

The second caution waved on lap 40 after Nick Ham tagged the barrier in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 at the exit of Turn 8 after contact with Diego Alessi in the No. 21 Matt Connolly Motorsports BMW M3.

That allowed the top two cars to change drivers, with Alex Gurney taking over for Fogarty and Scott Pruett replacing Rojas. Fogarty, however, came in while the pits were still closed. He was forced to pit again the following lap, costing the team track position.

Law, running in his 100th Rolex Series race, led the field on the lap 44 restart

Two laps after the restart, Max Angelelli in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Dallara and Plumb had contact in the final turn, putting both cars into the wall and out of the race. That brought out another caution.

The way I saw it, I was in front of him, completed the overtaking, I was in the middle of the corner and I just felt a big hit in the back, said Angelelli after the new Dallara crashed out of its second consecutive event.
When he lost the advantage, he should have given it up.

The Banner Racing drivers have a bit of fun

We went off a different strategy than other people, Sigal said. I was in second place when I gave the car to Matt. Everybody was racing hard, but this is the second year in a row we got taken out by the SunTrust car. It's unfortunate. Last year we were in second when we got rear-ended by Jan Magnussen. Today we were squeezed by Angelelli.

After an extended cleanup, racing resumed on lap 52 after an extended clean-up, with Law in the lead, followed by Memo Gidley in the No. 77 Doran Racing Kodak Ford Dallara and Pruett. Gurney was back in eighth.

Only one lap after the restart, Joey Hand spun the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Porsche Crawford after contact with Pruett while battling for third. Hand stalled in the spin, losing a lap in the incident.

Car owner Chip Ganassi sided with Hand in the incident.

I feel bad, Ganassi said. If I was the No. 23 driver, I'd be pretty mad. I think it was uncalled for. I saw that move last year in the Busch race (when Pruett was bumped out of the lead by Juan Pablo Montoya), and Pruett was on the other end of that. I think it was a low-percentage move.

From that point, clean passes were the order of the day for the remainder of the event.

Pruett needed four laps before taking second from Gidley, with Marc Goossens following him to take third in the No. 91 Riley Matthews Pontiac Riley. Pruett then took the lead from Law on lap 59, with Goossens taking second from Law two laps later, with Ricardo Zonta then taking third in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola started by Nic Jonsson.

Goossens took the lead on lap 72 by going around Pruett on the outside in Turn 1, and held on to lead the rest of the way.

Jeff Segal took the early GT lead in the No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8, but was passed in the opening laps by pole winner Pierre Kaffer in the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche GT3. After the driver changes on lap 23, Paul
Edwards gained the lead after taking over from Kelly Collins in the No. 07 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R. Robin Liddell then worked his way into the lead in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R, followed by the No. 06 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R of Ron Fellows and Dirk Werner in the No. 87 Porsche. Fellows lost the position when he pitted for fuel.

Pruett and Rojas remain the Daytona Prototype point leaders, wtih Goossens and Mathews 16 points back and Gurney and Fogarty one point behind Saturday's winners.

In GT, Edwards and Collins took over a 10-point lead.

The next action for the Grand-Am Rolex Series will be next Sunday, April 28, with a 400-kilometer race at Virginia International Raceway.

Pos Class Drivers Team Car Laps
1 DP M.Goossens, J.Matthews Bob Stallings/Riley-Matthews Pontiac Riley 100
2 DP S.Pruett, M.Rojas Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley 100
3 DP N.Jonsson, R.Zonta Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola 100
4 DP J.Fogarty, A.Gurney Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley 100
5 DP O.Negri, M.Patterson Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley 100

6 DP I.James, J.Pew Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley 100
7 DP M.Gidley, B.Jaeger Doran Racing Ford Dallara 100
8 DP J.Barbosa, JC.France Brumos Porsche Porsche Riley 100
9 DP B.Frisselle G.Gardel Doran Racing Ford Dallara 100
10 DP T.Krohn, E.van de Poele Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola 100

11 DP* D.Donohue, D.Law Brumos Porsche Porsche Riley 100
12 DP B.Lester, S.Lewis Southard Motorsports Lexus Riley 99
13 DP B.Auberlen, J.Hand Alex Job Racing Porsche Crawford 96
14 DP M.Bobbi, A.Garcia Cheever Racing Pontiac Coyote 95
15 GT A.Davis, R.Liddell Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R 95

16 GT K.Collins, P.Edwards Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R 95
17 GT P.Kaffer, D.Werner Farnbacher Loles Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup 95
18 GT L.Aschenbach, T.Lewis Autohaus Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R 94
19 GT E.Assentato, J.Segal, N.Longhi SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 94
20 GT T.Ballou, B.Miller TRG Porsche GT3 Cup 94

21 GT R.Fellows, L.Reese Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R 94
22 GT L.Keen, E.Lux Farnbacher Loles Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup 94
23 GT C.Stone, J.Riley Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda RX-8 93
24 DP B.Frisselle, M.Wilkins AIM Autosport Ford Riley 93
25 GT K.O'Connell, K.Roush O'Connell Racing Porsche GT3 Cup 92

26 GT D.Alessi, M.Connolly, P.Montano Matt Connolly Motorsports Pontiac GTO.R 83
27 GT T.George, S.Pumpelly TRG Porsche GT3 Cup 81
28 DP R.Dalziel, H.Zogaib SAMAX BMW Riley 58
29 GT N.Ham, S.Tremblay SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 55
30 DP M.Plumb, G.Sigal Sigalsport BMW Riley 43

31 DP M.Angelelli, M.Valiante SunTrust Racing Pontiac Dallara 43
32 GT J.Heylen, C.Scrogham Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup 0
* No. 58 received a 2-second penalty