Watkins Glen: Ganassi Bounces Back with Victory

Pruett and Rojas celebrate another win

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Five days after a three-race GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series winning streak ended in a first-lap crash, Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas turned in a solid performance and started a new streak Saturday in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW Riley by scoring their third consecutive victory in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen.

Pruett led the final 30 of 191 laps on the 3.4-mile Watkins Glen International long circuit, beating Max Angelelli to the checkered flag by 1.623 seconds. On Monday, the Chip Ganassi team finished last in the Daytona Prototype field after Rojas went off in Turn 1 at Lime Rock Park.

"I love coming to Watkins Glen and I love racing here," said Pruett, who scored his 27th career victory driving a Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Daytona Prototype - with an event record four of them coming in the six-hour Glen event.

"Getting my little piece of history here is an honor. It was a little scary today when the rain started coming down early in the race on part of the course - that always adds some extra drama."

Pruett and Rojas won their fourth race of 2010, extending their lead in the Daytona Prototype championship to 18 points (190-172) over Ryan Dalziel, who finished seventh in the No. 8 Corsa Car Care BMW Riley.

It was Angelelli's fifth consecutive top-three finish in the event, co-driving the No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara with Ricky Taylor. The two won Monday's race at the Connecticut circuit.

The Ganassi team's biggest rival throughout the race was the No. 99 GAINSCO Chevrolet Riley of Jon Fogarty, Alex Gurney and four-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson. The two teams combined to lead 179 laps. Gurney was running third when he spun in Turn 7 with 15 minutes remaining, resulting in a sixth-place finish.

"This was probably the best the GAINSCO Auto Insurance car ever has been at Watkins Glen," said Fogarty, who drove the opening three hours, seven minutes of the race before turning the car over to Johnson. The reigning NASCAR champion ran second behind Rojas for his entire hour behind the wheel.

Antonio Garcia and Buddy Rice finished third in the No. 90 Porsche/Coyote, giving the Spirit of Daytona Racing its first Daytona Prototype podium finish.

The race was slowed by four caution periods, with the most serious incident occurring in the final hour. The No. 6 CAP & Associates Ford Riley of Michael Valiante caught fire on the course, and Valiante, who co-drove with Brian Frisselle and Mark Patterson, nursed the car to the entrance of pit lane. He managed to escape from the car before it was engulfed in flames.

The Mazdas were fast but lost out to TRG Porsche

In GT, Andy Lally, Spencer Pumpelly and Bob Doyle came from last in the 29-car field to win. It was Lally's second triumph of the season, joining Ted Ballou when TRG won in its most recent Rolex Series appearance in April at Virginia International Raceway. Lally and Pumpelly also won the GT portion of the race in 2007.

Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito finished second in the No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8. The No. 41 Global Diving & Salvage Mazda RX-8 of Leh Keen and James Gue led a class-leading 49 laps in an effort to give Dempsey Racing its first victory, but the car dropped back to sixth after a pit miscommunications. Keen - last year's Sahlen's Six Hour GT winner with another team - drove a spirited final hour to finish third, pressuring Bomarito at the checkered flag.

The next race for the Rolex Series will be the June 19 EMCO Gears Classic presented by Key Bank at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

J.J. O'Malley, Grand Am Media