Rolex 24 Notebook ; Teamwork helps Pruett [Florida Times Union]
(Florida Times Union Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Scott Pruett was supposed to drive the closing laps in Sunday's finish of the Rolex 24 at Daytona, but a sore ankle prompted Chip Ganassi Racing to put Juan Pablo Montoya behind the wheel.
Pruett, 52, limped from his BMW-powered Riley sports car with two hours remaining at Daytona International Speedway. He got the bounce back later when Montoya finished off the dominating performance that etched Pruett's name in the road-racing record book.
By working with Montoya, Memo Rojas and Charlie Kimball, Pruett won the biggest sports car race in America for a fifth time to tie Hurley Haywood's all-time record.
A horrific crash at West Palm Beach in 1990 left Pruett with broken ankles and knees. He's also suffered with the lingering effects of a broken back. He wasn't concerned with the pain during the final driving stint, but he was worried his physical limitations might keep the team from winning.
"It's no secret I've got pretty beat up over the years," Pruett said. "I wasn't confident if I had to go head-to-head. For the good of the team we need to do this."
Ganassi, who broke Jacksonville-based Brumos Racing's record of four team wins, never doubted the driver change.
"He amazed me then with his tenacity," the car owner said of the winningest driver in Grand-Am Road Racing history. "I've never met a guy who's so team-oriented."
Haywood, who officially retired as a driver this year and served as the grand marshal for the 24-hour race, was one of the first people in Victory Lane to congratulate Pruett.STAR GAZING
NASCAR was well-represented on the victory podium after the race.
Montoya was part of the winning overall team, and A.J. Allmendinger and Marcos Ambrose were aboard the third-place Ford- Riley.
Clint Bowyer and Michael Waltrip combined to finish 16th overall and eighth in the GT class.
Defending IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay finished second overall in a Chevrolet-Corvette.TOUGH SLEDDING
While the top-two finishing Daytona Prototypes didn't have any mechanical problems, a lot of the other sports cars struggled to finish.
The No. 2 Ford-Riley for Ryan Dalziel, Alex Popow, Sebastian Bourdais and Allan McNish broke a brake line while leading 2 1/2 hours before the finish.
The No. 99 Chevrolet Corvette DP for Jon Fogarty, Alex Gurney, Memo Gidley and Darren Law lost 40 minutes fixing an electronics failure in the ninth hour.
The No. 02 BMW-Riley for Scott Dixon, Jamie McMurray, Joey Hand and Dario Franchitti crashed on pit road and eventually was parked with a broken gear box.
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