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Ganassi/BMW Dominates Sahlens 6 Hours

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On: Mon, Jun 7, 2010 at 1:09PM | By: John Welch


Ganassi/BMW Dominates Sahlens 6 Hours

Though we are in the midst of six straight weeks of televised Grand Am, this past weekend's Sahlens 6 Hours of the Glen puts a cap on the busiest week of the season. On Monday the teams practiced, qualified, and then raced at Lime Rock, Connecticut. Four days later they did the same at Watkins Glen New York, only this race was six hours long. Brutal.

The Telmex/Ganassi team ran afoul of the Gainsco Chevrolet on the first lap at Lime Rock. Front bodywork smashed to pieces, they were forced to park the car and watch the Lime Rock race from the pits. That incident lit the proverbial fire under the Tlmex team's collective asses, and they returned this weekend ready to conquer all comers at the Sahlens 6 Hours.

Conquer they did; Scott Pruett turned a blistering lap in qualifying, giving the Ganassi BMW the pole by a full second over the Gainsco car. The race played out in about the same fashion; the No. 01 TELMEX BMW Riley scoring its third consecutive victory in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen. 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 gaining on the Bimmer from third position, but spun out his Chevrolet 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.

Scott 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, was ecstatic at the end of the grueling six-hour race. "I love coming to Watkins Glen and I love racing here," said Pruett, "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."

The Ganassi teammates Pruett and Rojas currently top the drivers' standings, 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. The Sahlens Six Hours is their fourth win of the season.

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 the fire was able to burn him severely.

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.


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