Scott Pruett might not garner the headlines of the marquee drivers in NASCAR or IndyCar, but he's one of the most accomplished race-car drivers in America.
And this weekend the 54-year-old Pruett hopes to add to his legacy by becoming the first six-time winner of the Rolex 24 endurance race at Daytona International Speedway in Florida. He shares the record of five wins with Hurley Haywood.
Pruett, who lives in Auburn, Calif., will again head up a four-man team driving one of the exotic prototype-class cars in the 24-hour race, one of four types of cars that compete in the event.
The race starts Saturday at 11:10 a.m. PST.
IndyCar drivers Charlie Kimball and Sage Karam, along with Joey Hand, will join Pruett in driving the No. 01 car for the team called Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates.
Pruett also has raced in NASCAR, IndyCar and other series and won a multitude of sports-car races and titles in his long career. But in recent years he's been perhaps best known for the Rolex 24, a race that's now part of IMSA's Tudor United SportsCar Championship Series.
In an interview, Pruett said advances in technology have made the cars less prone to breaking down so now "you're forced to push hard all the time."
"It truly is a sprint race for 24 hours," he said. "The biggest challenge is not getting caught up in somebody else's mistake."
How does the team decide when to change drivers during the race? Pruett said each fuel run is 40 to 45 minutes and drivers typically can do a minimum of two, but that it's up to the drivers to decide.
The team's rule is "if for some reason you're in the car not not feeling comfortable, get out," said Pruett, adding that as the lead driver he'll likely drive for 10 to 12 hours of the race, including its start and finish.
When he's not in the car, Pruett said he returns to his motorcoach at the track, puts in earplugs to block out the cars' roar and tries to get 40 winks.
"You don't ever really get deep sleep because you never know when you might be getting back in the car," he said. "I call it heavy resting. You do the best you can."
Rested or not, Pruett said he's ready for another all-nighter at the track and another walk to the top of the Victory Lane podium.
"To make it six [wins] by myself would be incredible," he said.
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