Pat Jennings, Grand-Am correspondent
Second straight Rolex series victories for SunTrust Corvette and AIM Autosport’s Ferrari
SunTrust Racing’s Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor won a rain-shortened race a few weeks ago in Miami and emerged victorious again Sunday under sunny skies at the New Jersey Motorsports Park, giving them two consecutive Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series wins in four races.
Taylor started from the pole in the team’s Corvette and was never too far away from Memo Rojas in the Ganassi Racing BMW Riley or Jon Fogarty in the Gainsco Bob Stallings Corvette DP. Those three cars swapped positions a number of times during the race’s first two hours, and bumped into each other a few times. The turning point in the race came with less than an hour to go, when Ganassi’s Scott Pruett collided with Alex Gurney, having taken over for Fogarty, while racing for second. Pruett hit Gurney in the left rear, sending the latter spinning off the track. As Pruett tried to avoid the spinning Gurney, the Gainsco car hit Pruett in the left rear. Neither car could continue due to suspension damage.
We won again. That’s great!
With Pruett and Gurney out of the race, Angelelli tussled with the Ford Rileys driven by Ryan Dalziel and Oswald Negri, respectively, before settling in to win the Global Barter 250 presented by Susan G. Komen for the Cure. Dalziel finished second, almost five seconds behind Angelelli.
“It was a very hard race,” said Angelelli. “The car was fantastic. We won again. That’s great!”
Negri ended up third, followed by Darren Law in the first of the two Action Express Corvette DPs and Richard Westbrook’s Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP. Alex Popow finished sixth, one lap down to the top-five, in the second Starworks car.
Taylor and Angelelli combined to lead 91 of 117 laps and now sit four points behind Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio in the Daytona Prototype drivers’ championship standings. Pruett and Rojas dropped to sixth in the championship, nine points behind Dalziel and Potolicchio. Negri and John Pew lie third, followed by Westbrook in fourth, and Popow and Lucas Luhr in fifth.
Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato took their second consecutive GT class win in the AIM Autosport Ferrari 458. The No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R ended up second in the hands of Robin Liddell and Jonathan Edwards. They finished just over a second behind the winning Ferrari. Andy Lally and John Potter rounded out the top-three in the Magnus Porsche.
“We had fresh tires (at the end) and a great set-up (on the car),” explained Segal. “It was a really tough race and two wins in a row is fantastic.”
On the strength of those two wins and a second in the last three races, Segal and Assentato now hold an eight-point lead over Lally and Potter in the GT class drivers’ championship.
The race featured two caution periods for seven laps.
The next Rolex Series race is June 2 in Detroit.