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38773_gan.jpg It's "<I>Déjà vu</I> all over again" at the <B>EMCO Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic</B> Grand Am Rolex Series race, with a victory by the <B>No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley</B> driven by <B>Scott Pruett</B> and <B>Max Papis</B>, and a third-place finish by their teammates in the <B>No. 03</B> car driven by <B>Luis Diaz</B> and <B>Jimmy Morales</B>. This is the exact same way they finished in their previous June 20 race in Watkins Glen, New York!<P>

This victory allowed Pruett and Papis to extend their lead in the Daytona Prototype championship standings to 22 points (218-196) after seven of 12 races. <P>

Here are details on the race as written by Grand American Communications in Lexington, Ohio:<P>

After finishing second in the Paul Revere 250 presented by Brumos Porsche last month, No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley co-drivers Scott Pruett and Max Papis returned to their winning ways in Saturday’s EMCO Gears Mid-Ohio Road Racing Classic.<P>

It was the duo’s third win of the 2004 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season, all of them coming within the span of the past four races. The triumph allowed them to extend their lead in the Daytona Prototype championship standings to 22 points (218-196) after seven of 12 races. <P>

Papis started from the pole position and claimed an early lead, but a Lap 12 caution flag to retrieve Brent Martini’s No. 81 BMW Doran from the Turn 14 gravel trap bunched up the field. On the restart, Wayne Taylor in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley began pressuring Papis and claimed the lead from the Italian on Lap 36. <P>

“We had a really fast past in the beginning, and unfortunately, that problem affected our rhythm,” Papis said. “I think this whole weekend has been about teamwork. The team has been working to make improvements on the car, and we knew from Daytona, we had to work harder. Lexus has put in a lot of hours and working really hard in maximizing everything we could. The guys have been doing everything they can; it was a really important day for the No. 01 car.”<P>

Three laps after losing the lead to Taylor, the full-course yellow flag flew again when defending race champion Terry Borcheller slid into the gravel trap in Turn 9, bringing the bulk of the field on to pit road for their first pit stops of the day. During the stop, the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing crew got Pruett—who was nursing rib injuries from a crash during practice for Sunday’s Brickyard 400 in Indianapolis on Friday—into the car and back on track in the lead. <P>

As the laps wound down, Pruett took on all comers including Emanuel Collard in the No. 10, Butch Leitzinger in the No. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford, the No. 58 Red Bull-Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar of David Donohue, teammate Luis Diaz in the No. 02 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley and a hard-charging Andy Wallace in the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford to win by 2.7 seconds. <P>

“As long as we were under green, I was OK because you've got enough adrenaline pumping you don't feel it,” said Pruett—who is headed back to Indianapolis for the Brickyard 400 where he will start 42 nd. “But under the yellow, it was killing me. Victory takes the edge off. The car was good. I ran on Thursday, Max ran on Friday and we made some changes to it. I asked the car to go fast, and it went fast. When you're going for a shoot out like that, you're going ten-tenths.”<P>

Wallace and co-driver Milka Duno came home in second for their best result together since winning the Grand Prix of Miami in February. It was Wallace’s second straight podium finish (he was third in the Paul Revere 250 with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup star Tony Stewart as his co-driver), and it enabled him to move into sole possession of third place in Daytona Prototype driver points behind Pruett and Papis. <P>

“We've done a lot of testing,” Wallace said. “We went to Barber and VIR . We did a lot of work and got the car back to balance. I am really, really happy because of all of the people at Crawford have done so much work since the last race. They've really changed the car, and it feels really good now. I think we're catching up with others. We're not quite there. It's always healthy to gain ground. We keep working away, just little things. I'm sure the car will get better, and I'm really looking forward to next Thursday and Friday (at Watkins Glen). It should be a great race.” <P>

“We were working very hard for the last few weeks with the car for this race,” Duno contributed. “It was a very good car, but we continued working because we knew that there was a little bit more. It was a very good result.” <P>

Diaz and co-driver Jimmy Morales claimed their second podium finish in three races with a third place performance in the No. 02. Donohue and Darren Law brought the No. 58 home with its best result of the season in fourth place, and it was also a season-best performance for Chris Hall and Larry Huang in the No. 39 The Spark of Georgia Tech Pontiac Crawford, as they finished fifth.
 
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