Miller: Shank and Banner Racing Take the Wins

Ganassi took a third Championship - with a little help?

TOOELE, Utah (Sept. 20, 2008) - Raphael Matos bookended the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 season. After winning the GT class in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona back in January, Matos made his return to the series by winning in his first Daytona Prototype start.

Matos joined regular drivers Ian James and John Pew to give the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley its first Rolex Series victory in the 1000 presented by The Grand and Little America Hotels. The team became the third first-time Daytona Prototype winner in three races at Miller Motorsports Park.

Meanwhile, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas wrapped up the 2008 Daytona Prototype championship with a ninth place finish in the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley, joined by Alex Lloyd.

The 137-lap race on the 4.486-mile circuit saw 16 lead changes among 14 drivers and 10 cars. A record nine of the 10 lead-lap finishers led the race. However, Matos pulled away on the restart following the sixth and final caution. He lead the final 28 laps - most in the event - cruising to a 29.398-second margin of victory over the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Dallara of Max Angelelli and Michael Valiante.

"The car was very strong at the end of the race and that's why I was able to pull a gap," said Matos, the 2008 IRL Firestone Indy Lights championship. "I love this series and I love the cars. I love driving them. I had a great team - Mike Shank did an amazing job, and John Pew and Ian James did a great job. The crew had an amazing pit stop, and that's what put us in first position. This is a happy moment for everyone and a great way to finish the season."

Utah offered changeable weather, which kept the race interesting

Michael Shank Racing scored its first victory at Miller in 2006 when Oswaldo Negri and Mark Patterson took the team's No. 60 entry to victory. That was their first triumph until the most recent Rolex Series race, when Negri and Patterson brought the No. 60 Ford Riley to victory lane at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

Fogarty and Alex Gurney concluded their season as the reigning series champions in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley with Jimmy Vasser, taking third place. The outgoing titlists won once in 2008.

Joao Barbosa and JC France finished fourth for the fifth time in six races in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley, taking third in the final team standings behind the No. 01 and No. 99 teams.

Polesitter Ricardo Zonta and Nic Jonsson finished fifth in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola. The race was marked by a mid-race deluge that led to five laps under caution, although the track quickly dried as the percipitation dissipated.

Pruett and Rojas drove a consistent - but not completely trouble-free race, finishing ninth in the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley. The car spun twice, yet with a season-high six victories, Pruett and Rojas only needed to complete 30 minutes each to share the championship. Pruett drove the first stint from the second starting position, driving an hour-and-a-half before Rojas got in. Alex Lloyd, the 2007 Firestone Indy Lights champion, also earned seat time.

Another win and the Championship for Banner

In GT, race winners Kelly Collins and Paul Edwards claimed the championship, winning by more than a lap over Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis, second in the final points. Edwards took the lead late in the race and distanced himself enough to make a late splash for fuel without losing the lead. Edwards and Collins won the championship by nine points after winning a season-best four times.

Davis and Liddell, who won three times this season, earned their ninth podium finish in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R, but it was not enough for the title. Andy Lally, Patrick Long and Rolex Series Rookie of the Year Tim George Jr. finished third in the No. 67 TRG Porsche GT3.