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WeatherTech Championship

Pruett, Rojas Dominate Long Beach

Scott Pruett, Memo Rojas take Prototype victory at Long Beach…

Photo: IMSA

Photo: IMSA

Chip Ganassi Racing scored back-to-back TUDOR United SportsCar Championship victories following a dominant performance by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas on the streets of Long Beach.

The No. 01 Riley-Ford took the overall win in Saturday’s Tequila Paton Sports Car Showcase, edging out a brace of Corvette DPs for the top spot in the 100-minute sprint, which went caution-free.

After starting from pole, Rojas enjoyed an early lead but co-driver Pruett lost it during the one-and-only round of pit stops, which saw the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Joao Barbosa beat the Ford EcoBoost-powered entry out of pit lane.

Pruett, however, regained the top spot on the track just a few laps later, getting around Barbosa with less than 48 minutes to go and bringing the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP of Jordan Taylor with him to second place.

It was Taylor who put the most pressure on the Ganassi machine in the closing laps but Pruett managed to fend off the second-generation driver by 0.759 seconds at the line for the win.

The Taylor brothers came home in second, followed by Barbosa and co-driver Christian Fittipaldi, who completed the podium in third after briefly leading.

OAK Racing’s Olivier Pla recovered from a slow pit stop to finish fourth overall, best of the P2 cars, but more than 20 seconds behind. Co-driver Gustavo Yacaman had a storming opening stint but made contact with the No. 10 WTR Corvette on at least one occasion.

The No. 1 Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD ARX-03b of Ryan Dalziel, which was one of the few teams to double-stint its Continental tires, faded back to sixth after running out of fuel on the final lap. Dalziel was running fourth at the time.

It therefore gave the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP of Richard Westbrook a top-five result, despite an early race spin by co-driver Michael Valiante that collected the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford of John Pew.

Prior to that incident, Pew, who started on the front row thanks to Ozz Negri’s qualifying lap, ran out of room heading into Turn 1 at the green and slammed into the tire barriers.

Despite intermittent electrical issues, Negri managed to set the fastest lap of the race, although the car did not take the checkered flag.

RESULTS: Tequila Patron Sports Car Showcase

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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