Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas say they don’t have anything to prove. They’re just racing like they do.
Pruett and Rojas, co-driving the No. 01 Telcel Ford EcoBoost/Riley, dominated the Tequila Patrón Sports Car Showcase on Saturday at the Long Beach Street Circuit, for their second-straight victory in the inaugural TUDOR United SportsCar Championship season.
The pair led 76 of the race’s 77 laps, with Rojas starting the No. 01 of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates from the pole and efficiently leading the first 40 laps of the one-hour, 40-minute event – the third race of the season. Pruett took over on Lap 41, briefly lost the lead to the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa coming out of the pits but went back in front on Lap 42, with approximately 55 minutes remaining.
From there, Pruett had to mostly be concerned with a dogged chase by Jordan Taylor, in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP he shares with his brother Ricky. Pruett, driving steadily, edged Taylor by a scant 0.759 seconds. Finishing third was Barbosa, who co-drove the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP with Christian Fittipaldi. Last month, Pruett and Rojas also won the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Fueled by Fresh From Florida, teaming in that endurance event with Marino Franchitti.
Pruett and Rojas virtually ruled the Rolex Sports Car Series from 2004-13, driving for Ganassi. Pruett won the series’ Daytona Prototype championship five times. Four of those titles were shared with Rojas. Concurrently, however, there was another premier sports car organization operating with its own stellar drivers – the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. Who was better? Who knows?
Starting this season the two series have merged into the TUDOR Championship, which means former champions are just that. It’s time to answer those questions.
“It’s not a matter of having something to prove; we just want to win races,” said Rojas.
Added Pruett: “It’s business as usual – for all of us. Our job is to go as fast as you can, try to run up front and try to win races or short of that, make the podium. [The merger] has been a huge challenge because our cars, the Daytona Prototypes, are so much different than in years past. That being said … you couldn’t see a more exciting time for road racing. The future couldn’t be brighter.”
Pruett also brought the Ganassi Racing No. 01 to Victory Lane at Long Beach in a 2006 Rolex Series event. Factoring in a 1987 Trans-Am victory, Saturday meant Pruett has won Long Beach in three decades.
“That doesn’t seem right,” Pruett joked.
But Saturday sure did.
The TUDOR Championship season resumes on May 4 at historic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. There will be a pair of two-hour races, one for the Prototype and GT Le Mans classes, the other for the Prototype Challenge and GT Daytona classes. Both races will be televised live on FOX Sports 1.