Photo: Forrest Mellott/INDYCAR

Scott Pruett: America’s Modern Diverse Driver Retiring

By Christopher DeHarde, Staff Writer

While many people in motorsports long for the days of A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti racing anything and everything that a driver could get their hands on, one driver that might have slipped under their collective radar announced his retirement from racing after the 2018 Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.

Scott Pruett drove in Trans Am. He drove in the GTO class during IMSA’s Camel GTP era. He drove Indy cars, he drove NASCAR, even got himself a class win at Le Mans in 2001.

But all of that will come to an end for a sports car legend after the checkered flag falls on January 28th.

Pruett’s career began five decades ago in karting before moving to road racing. IMSA showed Pruett off to the racing world first with the Californian winning the GTO class championship in 1986 and 1988 with a class win at Sebring in ’86.

In between championships, Pruett won the first of his three SCCA Trans-Am championships in 1987 by winning seven of 12 races.

Next for Pruett was tackling the IndyCar world. Pruett ran for TrueSports in the 1989 CART championship after running three races in 1988. He finished 10th at Indianapolis and was named co-rookie of the year with ninth place finisher Bernard Jourdain.

Later that year Pruett had five top 5 finishes and 11 top 10 finishes in the 15 race season that netted him eighth in the championship standings. However, a testing accident at Palm Beach in March 1990 meant that he would spend that year outside the race car.

Pruett would spend 1991 and 1992 at TrueSports before a racing partial 1993 schedule ahead of an interesting 1994 spent testing for Patrick Racing when he wasn’t busy winning his second Trans-Am championship or the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Firestone tires returned to CART in 1995 with Pruett leading the charge, winning that year’s Michigan 500 over Al Unser Jr. with a last lap pass for the win.

Pruett would win again in 1997 at Surfer’s Paradise and ran in CART until the end of the 1999 season.

Moving to NASCAR with PPI Motorsports, Pruett raced in 28 of 34 races, failing to qualify in the other six.

After winning his final Trans-Am championship in 2003, Pruett moved to the Grand-Am Sports Car Championship in 2004, winning the Daytona Prototype championship in 2004, 2008 and 2010-2012 and the Rolex 24 in 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2013.

Pruett leaves a legacy of age-defying driving where despite not having won since 2015, he’s remained competitive despite dealing with the teething woes of a newer car. With some luck, he’ll earn another Rolex watch this month to finish his legacy on a high.

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A 2012 graduate of LSU, Christopher DeHarde primarily focuses on the NTT IndyCar Series and the WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. DeHarde has actively covered motorsports since 2014.