Scott Pruett put another check on his victory list Sunday, taking advantage of sizzling conditions to post his first career victory at New Jersey Motorsports Park – one of only two circuits that the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series visits where he had never won.
Pruett and Rojas took their fifth triumph of the season in the No. 01 Telmex Riley-BMW, taking another step toward a second consecutive Daytona Prototype championship in front of the largest crowd for a Grand-Am event in the four years the series raced at the circuit.
"The car came to us, actually. It kept getting faster and faster," related Pruett. "It was a little difficult trying to make a decision but we were still running high-17s on the old tires, so we opted to stay out. We just had a great car and just drove away there at the end."
Max Angelelli passed Alex Gurney in the closing laps to take second in the No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet/Dallara started from the pole by Ricky Taylor. Gurney held on to finish third in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley co-driven by Jon Fogarty.
In a change from the Telmex Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates strategy for the sprint races on the Rolex Series schedule, Pruett both started and finished the event, with Rojas driving the middle hour. Pruett rebounded from a drive-through penalty early in the race when he spun out Taylor while battling for the lead. Taylor led the opening 36 circuits before the contact.
Pruett took the lead for the first time with less than one hour remaining when Angelelli pitted on lap 99. He led the final 19 circuits to score his 36th DP victory, sharing 23 of them with Rojas.
In the production-based GT class, Mazda scored a podium sweep led by Sylvain Tremblay and Jonathan Bomarito in the No. 70 Mazdaspeed/Castrol Edge Mazda RX-8. Unlike last year, when SpeedSource cars took the top three positions, three different teams finished on the GT podium as the marquee took its first victory of the season. Bomarito took the checkered flag 0.685sec ahead of John Edwards, who won the pole in the No. 42 TheRaceSite.com Mazda RX-8 he shared with Wayne Nonnamaker. James Gue and Dane Cameron took third in the No. 41 Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8.
Jordan Taylor and Bill Lester finished fourth in the No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro, narrowing the gap in the point standings to one point behind Brumos Racing teammates Andrew Davis and Leh Keen with three races remaining. The championship-leading No. 59 Porsche GT3 was never a factor, going several laps down in the early going with a thrown alternator belt.