Photo courtesy of IMSA

Pruett, Lexus sustain heavy crash in Hour 2 at Rolex 24

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The flagship driver of the 3GT Racing Lexus RC F GT3 program, Scott Pruett, has seen his 55th Rolex 24 at Daytona likely come to an end following a heavy accident exiting Turns 1 and 2.

It appeared as though Pruett overcorrected while trying to come back to power on corner exit, and went across the road directly in front of the No. 4 Corvette C7.R driven by Tommy Milner. Pruett crashed his Lexus head-on into the barriers at pit exit, which caused heavy front-end damage to the car.

The five-time Rolex 24 at Daytona winner and recently minted 2017 Motorsports Hall of Fame of America driver, who owing to the odd quirks of the FIA Driver Rating system is actually a Silver-rated driver (he’s 56 years old, which automatically qualified him for a downgrade from Gold to Silver last year), emerged from the wreckage under his own power OK.

“Well, we were just rolling around. The Lexus was running. We were just putting in the hours, you know?” Pruett said, in quotes released via Lexus. “Not exactly sure what took place. We were racing pretty hard there in a group. It felt like I got just a little nudge from behind.

“It could have been just the air taken off the rear wing cause we were in a pack or something, but it snapped pretty hard, pretty quick down in turn one and unfortunately it got into the fence on the left hand side, so I don’t know if we’ll get going again. You just feel disappointed for all the guys, all the team, everybody that’s put this thing together and this is not how you want to start, so hopefully we’ll get back out there and get a little more running in and see what we can do.

“Just disappointment. There’s so many people here that are a part of this program that have put so much energy and effort into getting here and then to have something like this happen it’s just frustrating. It’s not how you want to get things going.”

Pruett’s No. 14 Lexus started 13th in the GT Daytona class. He was meant to share the car with Sage Karam, Ian James and Gustavo Menezes.

Karam has posted the team will work to repair the damage and get the car back out.

Alexander Rossi’s Grand Prix of Alabama gamble fails to pay off

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Alexander Rossi bobbled for the first time in 2018 with an 11th-place finish in the Honda IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park.

And to add insult to injury, Rossi also lost the points lead as a result.

Rossi got off to about as great a start to the season as possible. He finished third at St. Petersburg and sat third in the standings. He finished third again at Phoenix and climbed to second in the points.

Rossi won the Long Beach Grand Prix after starting from the pole and leading 71 laps. That put him at the top of the standings after three races.

Then, as quickly as he climbed to the top, he got knocked down a spot after finishing off the podium for the first time in 2018.

Rossi not only missed the podium, he finished outside the top 10.

“We didn’t get the result that we wanted,” Rossi said after the race. “That remains a mystery. But at the end of the day it was about survival. We couldn’t make the tires last; we couldn’t really get a great fuel number.”

The biggest negative was the one factor that was mostly out of his control. Rossi gambled that he was facing only a brief shower when rain began to fall with about 15 minutes remaining. He was wrong.

“We tried to be pretty aggressive on the dry tires and stay out and survive the rain, hoping it would dry out,” Rossi said. “And it didn’t really work.

“Sometimes you’ll have those days.”