Scott Pruett and Luiz Diaz won a dramatic Crown Royal 200 at The Glen ahead of the SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley of Max Angelelli and Ryan Briscoe. The SunTrust car was right on the tail of Pruett's CompUSA Lexus Riley for the last 30 laps of the race. After NASCAR veteran Bobby Labonte crashed his #09 Spirit of Daytona Racing Pontiac Crawford in the turn 9 Carousel with four laps to run, Angelelli was able to pull right up under the gearbox of Pruett.
"Fortunately the Comp USA car ran strong all day," said Pruett, who's team started fourth. "We weren't as happy as we'd like in practice, but in the race, we were happy with it."
Pole-sitter Alex Gurney led from the green flag ahead of one of the closest fields of the season. Unfortunately when they pitted on lap 39 for service and a required driver change, Jon Fogarty ran over some equipment, incurring a "stop and Go" penalty. Then on lap 77, Fogarty straight-lined the "Inner Loop," incurring another penalty. They would finish as the last car on the lead lap in 13th position. Championship leaders Colin Braun and Jorg Bergmeister got a little too anxious, causing a three car wreck in turn one only minutes into the race. They would be assessed a "Stop & Go Plus Two Minutes" penalty, forcing them to chase the leaders all evening. Bergmeister, hoping to keep his championship lead, got out of line on a lap 66 restart and was penalized again. They would fight their way all the way up to 9th place.
Much of the afternoon's drama was created by the fact that the Daytona Prototypes were running without the other classes of race car that they usually share the track with. Drivers had to play a chess match, making their own opportunities instead of waiting for a competitor to be held up by slower traffic. For much of the race, packs of four, five and six cars raced nose to tail, lap after lap.
In the end, the margin of victory was 0.553 sec. There were six cautions for 22 laps. Pruett led the most laps; 40, followed by Alex Gurney; 32, and Guy Cosmo; 10. Pruett covered the 82 laps in 1:59:26.495.
Look out for more exciting racing action, as the NASCAR Busch Series drivers compete in the Zippo 200 on Saturday and the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series stars battle in the always-exciting AMD at The Glen on Sunday.