Daytona Prototype Title On The Line
By: Pete Pistone - @PPistone | MRN.com on September 27, 2012 | 7:59 A.M. EST
The Ganassi duo of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas have a 13 point lead over Ryan Dalziel heading into the final round of the campaign. (Photo: GRAND-AM)
The 2012 Daytona Prototype championship will be decided between Chip Ganassi Racing and Starworks Motorsport in Saturday’s GRAND-AM Championship Weekend presented by BMW at Lime Rock Park.
The Ganassi duo of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas have a 13-point lead over Ryan Dalziel heading into the final round of the campaign to be held at the Connecticut road circuit.
Pruett and Rojas definitely have the upper hand in trying to bring team owner Ganassi his historic third consecutive DP title.
All they need to do is satisfy the 30-minute driving requirement and finish at least ninth in the anticipated 10-car field in Saturday’s finale.
But the scenic New England circuit hasn’t been a favorite of either driver who have both finished near the back of the pack in both their Lime Rock starts.
“It's a really challenging track," said Rojas of the 1.5-mile, seven-turn layout. "The championship is on the line in this final race and we are preparing as best as we can to win it all.
"Even though it might not seem like it, it has been a really tough year for us trying to find the speed in our car. We are looking forward for a good and smart race."
Dalziel will need to win the race while the Ganassi drivers can finish no higher than 10th in the expected 10-car DP field.
"It's tough. It's still possible to win mathematically at Lime Rock, but Ganassi isn't … (going) to give up and neither are we," said Dalziel.
For the finale, Dalziel is expected to partner with Starworks Motorsport teammate Alex Popow in the Indianapolis-winning No. 2 Ford/Riley.
Dalziel is wrapping up a dream season that has included winning his class in the 12 Hours of Sebring and 24 Hours of Le Mans, victory in the August race at Watkins Glen International, second place in the Rolex 24 At Daytona, and a team victory in the inaugural North American Endurance Championship presented by VISITFLORIDA.com.
“I don't know what it's going to take,” Dalziel said about his quest to win the championship. “Obviously we are a long shot here to win this, and Ganassi has obviously done a great job and that's why they are leading the points. You know, we are going to focus on our program and we have to win the race and that's what we are going to do. We are going to go out-- we are going to go out in a ball of glory, I can tell you that.”
Rojas understands the difficult nature of racing at the challenging Lime Rock circuit for all teams including his own.
“It's going to be a tough race, I can anticipate for Ryan, as well, because we anticipate on high down force tracks like Lime Rock, and Laguna, that the Corvettes are going to be pretty quick,” said Rojas. “We are going to expect a race where we'll be battling out with a few teams out there and to do the best we can.”
Practice for the Rolex Series gets underway on Friday, with qualifying scheduled on Saturday morning. Motor Racing Network’s live radio coverage from Lime Rock begins at 2:45 p.m. (ET) Saturday.