Scott Pruett isn't sure yet how it will all shake out, but the merger between Grand-Am Road Racing and American Le Mans Series (ALMS) announced Wednesday will likely be a good thing for the Auburn driver.
Pruett, along with co-driver Memo Rojas, are leading the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype class and are looking for their third consecutive championship. A season title also would be Pruett's fourth in five seasons and fifth overall.
Coming off Pruett's 150th victory for the Chip Ganassi Racing team in Montreal three weeks ago and entering Sunday's Continental Tires Sports Car Festival at Laguna Seca, the duo hold an 18-point lead against Ryan Dalziel and a 27-point lead over Darren Law. Pruett and Rojas have been co-drivers the entire series, which started in January. Dalziel and Law have had different partners this season, hence the point difference. Pruett said as long as the team finishes each of the last two races of the season it will be tough to lose enough points and the championship.
"I've been blessed to have a career that's as long and as successful as it's been," Pruett said via cellphone while sitting trackside Thursday overlooking Laguna Seca. "This is somewhat of a home track for me and it's nice to get home. Our goal all season has been to get every point we can. If we don't finish first then make sure we finish second, and so on."
Pruett said he's excited about the merger, one that all but guarantees that sports car racing will remain in the United States.
"It's a great thing for the sport and for North American race fans," Pruett said. "There was always a bit of a disconnect (between ALMS and Grand-Am) sort of like with IndyCar and IRL before they merged. Now everything will be under one roof and will be owned by NASCAR and that organization's far-reaching resources."
Under terms of the merger, the American Le Mans Series and the International Motor Sports Association, which sanctions ALMS events, will merge with Grand-Am.
Both sanctioning bodies will continue to operate separate schedules in 2013 before racing under one banner in 2014 beginning with the 52nd running of the Rolex 24 At Daytona. A board of directors of the new group has been formed with Grand-Am founder Jim France named as chairman and ALMS founder Don Panoz as vice chairman. Other members include NASCAR Vice Chair/Executive Vice President Lesa France Kennedy, Grand-Am President/CEO Ed Bennett, ALMS President/CEO Scott Atherton and NASCAR Vice President/Deputy General Counsel Karen Leetzow.
Larson takes two checkereds
Andy Forsberg has long said to watch out for Kyle Larson. Unfortunately, for Forsberg, he finished second to Larson in both the USAC Western Classic Racing Series and Civil War main events Wednesday night at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chicago as preludes to the World Of Outlaws Gold Cup this weekend at the Calistoga Speedway.
"We better enjoy this kid while we can because pretty soon we will all be watching him on Sundays," said Forsberg in a statement. "The big problem I had tonight is that Kyle Larson's too good and I'm not."
"I had two good cars tonight," said Larson, an Elk Grove native now living in NASCAR's home state of North Carolina. "I have to thank both the Ford family and the Finley family for giving me the chance to race tonight. The bottom of the track was good tonight and I just kept trying to hit my marks. I mean I missed the line a few times, but all in all I kept it stuck in there pretty well."
Sacramento's Kyle Hirst finished third in the Civil War main event.
In the wingless USAC A main event, Shauna Hogg of Citrus Heights finished third followed by Lincoln's Tony Hunt.