Merkurs in Racing
|Scott Pruett is
representative of many fine racers in the US and abroad, that have piloted a Merkur to
victory. His success in the mid-1980s with the Rousch Racing prepared Merkur XR4TI
helped to make the Merkur a standout in racing history.
The California native began his racing career with karts in 1981. He went on to win 13 amateur and ten pro kart championships during his career, and was inducted into the World Karting Hall of Fame in 1991.
Pruett made two IMSA starts in 1984 and recorded his first pro victory in a GTO Thunderbird at Pocono in 1985. Pruett captured the IMSA GTO championship in 1986 with seven wins and nine poles in a Merury Merkur XR4TI, and won the SCCA Trans-Am championship in 1987 with seven wins and nine poles. He earned the first of his four class wins in 1987 at the 24 Hours of Daytona (1987, 88, 89, 92) and won the overall title in 1994.
In 1988 Pruett made his CART debut and appeared in three races, with a best finish of 16th at Meadowlands. Pruett was named Most Improved Driver in 1989 and earned his first two podium finishes. In 1990 Pruett spent the year recovering from multiple injuries to his ankle, heels, knees and back, sustained during a devastating crash while testing in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Pruett rebounded in 1991 to finish 10th in the PPG Cup championship, and earned the Most Improved Driver award for the second time in his career. From 1991 to 1993, Pruett claimed seven top-five finishes and 12 top-ten finishes.
In 1994 Pruett joined Patrick Racing but did not compete in the series, as the team did extensive testing for Firestone in preparation for the tire manufacturers return to Champ Car racing the following year. He also raced in the SCCA Trans-Am Championship that year and won the championship.
During Firestones return to Champ Car competition in 1995,, Pruett finished seventh in the championship standings, and claimed his first career CART victory at Michigan.
Pruett claimed one pole, the first of his career, and three podium finishes in 1996 on his way to a total of four top-five finishes and five top-ten finishes. He finished tenth in the championship standings. The following year, in 1997, Pruett earned his second career CART win, in Australia, and also won two poles. He finished ninth in the championship standings behind three podium appearances, six top-five finishes and five top-tens.
Pruett raced for Patrick Racing in 1998, scoring one pole, seven top-five finishes and three top-ten finishes. He completed 3,769.684 miles of competition in 19 CART events and 2,154 laps, finishing sixth in drivers' points. It was the fourth consecutive year, and fifth overall, that Pruett finished in the top-ten in the CART standings.
In 1999 Pruett signed on with Arciero-Wells Racing and drove along side teammate Cristiano da Matta. He piloted the Toyota powered #24 Pioneer/MCI Worldcom car to 6 top-10 placings.
Pruett left the Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) open-wheel Indy car circuit in 2000 for an opportunity to join the hot stock-car Winston Cup series. Pruett signed a multi-year agreement to drive the No. 32 Tide Ford for PPI Motorsports.
Competed in International Race of Champions (IROC) and finished seventh in Drivers Championship.