Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas only needed to drive 30 minutes in Saturday's Utah 250 at Miller Motorsports Park to share the 2010 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Daytona Prototype championship. They did more than just that.
In dominating fashion, the pair scored their ninth victory of the season in 12 races. Pruett beat Max Angelelli and Alex Gurney out of the pits during the first caution period of the event and went on to lead the final 39 circuits of the 82-lap on the 3.048-mile perimeter course. Pruett beat Gurney to the checkered flag by 1.946 seconds, with Angelelli another second behind to take third. Rojas led twice for three laps from the pole position, his fourth of the 2010 season.
"It's been unbelievable," said the 50-year-old Pruett. "What a season for Chip Ganassi Racing – the Indy 500, the Daytona 500, the Brickyard 400, our championship and they're still in the championship hunt with the IndyCar Series. I'm proud to be part of that organization. It's been a great season for us. Even when we haven't had the fastest car we've been able to come up with a great result. It's just been one of those dream seasons."
It was Pruett's third DP title; he also won in 2004 with Max Papis and 2008 with Rojas, and fourth for Ganassi, who also took the 2006 team crown.
"The fact of the matter is we didn't have to do a lot today to win the championship," Ganassi said. "To go out with a win – especially when you didn't need it – is a nice thing for the team. This was a total team effort."
It was Pruett's record 31st DP victory and 18th co-driving with Rojas; it also marked the 32nd for the Ganassi team. Pruett and Rojas had a trio of three-victory streaks to go with a pair of second-place finishes and a 13th at Lime Rock Park when the No. 01 was involved in an altercation on the opening lap. It was their record-setting 11th podium finish of the campaign. Their No. 01 led 792 laps while Pruett paced 560 circuits, both DP records.
"Maybe we're the best of the rest," said Gurney, who ended the year with four consecutive podium finishes in the No. 99 GAINSCO Chevrolet/Riley co-driven by Jon Fogarty. "We didn't really challenge them today, and we'll have to figure that out. They're a big chunk ahead of us. We're got our work cut out for us for the offseason."
Angelelli and Ricky Taylor combined to lead 44 laps in the No. 10 SunTrust Ford/Dallara to finish the year with seven podium finishes, including six in the final eight races.
Burt Frisselle and Mark Wilkins finished fourth in the No. 61 Pacific Mobile/BioSign Ford/Riley, whileMike Forest and Ryan Dalziel placed fifth in the No. 8 Starworks Motorsport BMW/Riley.
Andrew Davis and Robin Liddell led a 1-2 finish for Stevenson Motorsports in the production-based GT division driving the No. 57 Vin Solutions/Von Allmer Capital Partners Chevrolet Camaro, but it was Emil Assentato and Jeff Segal capturing the class championship with a sixth-place finish in the No. 69 FXDD Mazda RX-8.
The pair didn't win the title without a little action. Assentato spun during his stint, and Segal was involved in contact with another car on the final lap.
"It's a great honor to win any championship with all the pro drivers in the series," Assentato said.
"I just concentrated on going as fast as I could," Segal added. "I didn't leave anything on the table; we were going for it. I'm thrilled to clinch the championship."
Gunther Schaldach finished second for the second consecutive race, joined by Jan Magnussen in the No. 97 LaLa Motorsports/Von Allmer Capital Group Chevrolet Camaro.
"It's been a difficult season for us, and it's great to get Stevenson Motorsports back on the top step of the podium," Liddell said. "It's been a nice year, but it was really nice to close it with a victory and secure third place in the championship."
John Edwards and Adam Christodoulou took third in the No. 68 MazdaSpeed Motorsports Development Mazda RX-8, followed by teammates Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito in the No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8.
Tremblay ended the campaign five points behind his teammates (343-338).
"Right now, I'm happy as the team owner, and I'm a lot more team owner than a driver," Tremblay said. "I'm the driver 12 days a year and the team owner the rest of the time. I'm happy with Emil, Jeff and the entire team. Everyone works on all the cars. This is pretty special for Mazda, their first championship since 1991."
Bill Auberlen, Joey Hand and Paul Dalla Lana finished fifth in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport MW M6.
Eric Curran started from the pole and led the opening 21 in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette, but co-driver Boris Said later retired the car with a broken ball joint.
Memo Gidley, driving the No. 43 Team Sahlen Mazda RX-8, and Charles Espenlaub in the No. 40 Dempsey Racing/Florida Live Mazda RX-8, also led the GT class.
The race was slowed by three cautions for debris, with Pruett and Rojas averaging 95.166 mph.