Birmingham: SunTrust Racing race report

SunTrust Race Team Takes Third Victory of the Year at Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Birmingham, Alabama (July 31, 2005) The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor and Max -The Ax- Angelelli drove to their third victory of the season...

SunTrust Race Team Takes Third Victory of the Year at Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports

Birmingham, Alabama (July 31, 2005) The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor and Max -The Ax- Angelelli drove to their third victory of the season in the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Championship today at the Porsche 250 race at Barber Motorsports Park. Flawless race strategy, orchestrated by Bill Riley and the SunTrust crew, along with great driving and some luck helped drive the SunTrust team into victory circle.

The toughest challengers to the SunTrust team all weekend were Christian Fittipaldi and Jorg Bermeister in the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley, who led 39 of 95 laps. Late in the race Max again earned his moniker by cutting his way up through the field after the team's final pit stop. He put the heat on Fittipaldi until lap 92 when Fittipaldi had to pit for fuel with just three laps to go. Angelelli was able to cruise to victory with over an 18-second margin to the second place team of Memo Gidley and Michael McDowell in the No. 19 BMW Riley.

"I had a feeling Christian was running out of gas because he was pulling away from me on the straights and on the corners," said the elated Italian Angelelli. "So I knew it was either one of two things - more horsepower, which was not the case, or a lighter car. So I was expecting him to pit for fuel."

"The team - Bill, Travis, Tony, everybody did a great job," added car owner/driver Wayne Taylor. "And Max-Max was outstanding. He never put a wheel wrong. The strategy was going to be what it was. We knew that because we had three driver changes, we were going to put ourselves in a bad position at some point. I don't think we put it in as bad as we thought. We also knew there were some guys that were still going to pit. But at the end, Max just raced them and beat them."

Taylor drove the middle stint and his expected driving time got cut short when a caution opportunity allowed the team to pit within their fuel window in a strategy that made a difference for the win.

"We put a lot of stress on ourselves with this race and it's really important for us to win the championship," said Taylor, who won his first Grand American career pole at the race in Daytona last month. "The only way we can go to the next race is go there with exactly the same mindset that we came here with and probably the same type strategy. You've just got to stick to your plan and wait until the end of the year. There's no point in resting on any laurels because 99 times out of 100 times when you do that, you get caught out. We have to approach every race from here out in exactly the same way that we did coming in here."

Not only was the SunTrust race team excited about their victory, but they were thrilled they were able to do it in front of a large group of SunTrust executives, employees and guests.

"I think that this race was one of the best races to win," added the 39-year-old Angelelli. "First, because I really like the track; secondly, and most importantly, because everyone from SunTrust Bank came over to the track. So for them I really wanted to put on a great show and make sure that they were enjoying themselves. I hope we did that and hopefully so much so that they will come back next year."

Today's victory assured that the No. 10 SunTrust team would remain the championship point leaders and boosted the point spread to a 14-point lead (247-233) over their closest challengers, the No. 01 CompUSA/Ganassi team of Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz, who finished fourth.

"After winning the first two races of the year, you really wonder if you're going to win another," said team owner Bill Riley, whose Riley chassis took four of the top five finishing positions in today's race. "We had a great team and a great plan. We stuck to it and it worked out for us today. Now we're looking forward to The Glen."

"I was thrilled to watch the race," said Jim Wells, SunTrust President and COO. "The team and car was set-up beautifully. The whole team did brilliantly and Max and Wayne were just terrific, just terrific."

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Luis Diaz , Michael McDowell
Teams Krohn Racing