Scott Pruett is hanging up his helmet, gloves and fire suit after the end of this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 27-28, the start of IMSA’s WeatherTech championship season. Pruett, who will mark the close of a 50-year career at the race, has won winter’s twice-around-the-clock classic five times overall, tying the Porsche great Hurley Haywood.
Pruett concludes a career that began, when he was eight years old, in karts and, notably, with the driver having scored a record 60 victories in American sports car competition (including those five Rolex 24 overall wins). He’s won the Grand-Am championship five times (2004, 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2012) and secured IMSA’s championship twice, in 1986 and 1988.
Turning 58 in March, Pruett will make his final trip to Daytona Beach to drive the 3GT Racing No. 15 Lexus RC F GT3 in IMSA’s GTD class, teaming with co-drivers Dominik Farnbacher, Jack Hawksworth and David Heinemeier-Hansson. “Daytona is a magical place for me and I love it,” Pruett noted. “I’ve always said the Rolex 24 at Daytona is like the Super Bowl of motorsports, because you’re bringing the best of the best from all over the world [to a race where] the challenge of both man and machine is fierce.”
Widely known for his exceptional sports car career, Pruett has been successful in many other racing categories and owns a combined 88 victories overall. Pruett did successful testing for Firestone when they elected to return to INDYCAR competition prior to the 1996 season and raced in CART for 10 seasons, from 1988 to 1999. He secured two wins, five poles, 15 podium results and was named the 1989 Indianapolis 500 rookie of the year.
In three SCCA TransAm campaigns, Pruett corralled 24 wins en route to three championships in 1987, 1994 and 2003. He raced part-time in NASCAR from 2000 through 2008 and earned three pole positions, together with a second- and third-place result in the Cup series. Pruett was invited to race in IROC competition for eight seasons, earning two victories during that time. He’s also a 24 Hours of Le Mans class winner (2001) in the summer classic.
Among the many honors Pruett has earned for his exemplary work on racetracks throughout the country, he was honored with the Phil Hill Award of Excellence in 2016 and has been inducted into two Halls of Fame within the past year: the Motorsports Hall of Fame and the West Coast Stock Car Hall of Fame. He’s been named the King of Karting, inducted into the World Karting Hall of Fame (1991) after winning 10 professional karting championships. He is a 10-time member of the AARWBA (American Auto Racing Writers and Broadcasters Association) All-America Team.
“I have met a lot of wonderful people and have had some amazing experiences because of my motorsports career,” Pruett said. “I am humbled and grateful for all of my accomplishments and to all of those who have helped me along the way. At the end of the day, the good Lord has blessed me with a great career and a wonderful, supportive family. I’m excited and ready to open the next chapter. I might slow down a little, but I won’t stop for fear I’d rust!”
Outside of racing, the Northern California native and wife Judy have written and published four children’s books about racing; they own and operate Pruett Vineyard, where Scott enjoys making ultra-premium wines that consistently get high ratings from Wine Spectator. The father of three also looks forward to spending more time with Judy and children Lauren, Taylor and Cameron.
By Anne Proffit