Daytona 24: CITGO/SAMAX preview

personal best The drivers of the No. 7 CITGO Pontiac-powered Riley Mk XI turned their personal-best laps at Daytona International Speedway during official testing for the 2006 Rolex 24 At Daytona. They hope to repeat their fast performance...

personal best

The drivers of the No. 7 CITGO Pontiac-powered Riley Mk XI turned their personal-best laps at Daytona International Speedway during official testing for the 2006 Rolex 24 At Daytona. They hope to repeat their fast performance during the race on Jan. 28 and 29.

Milka Duno of Caracas, Venezuela, Dario Franchitti of Nashville, Tenn., Marino Franchitti of Bathgate, Scotland and Kevin McGarrity of Belfast, Ireland, each recorded their best lap on the 3.56-mile infield road course in Daytona Beach, Fla., during the Jan. 5 to 7 test. The fast times were a result of track resurfacing and effective car preparation by the SAMAX Motorsport crew.

Duno believes the test results bode well for the 24-hour race.

"We had a very good test and there's great synergy between the team and the drivers," she said. "I like the new Riley very much and feel that we have a good chance for a strong finish. The CITGO/SAMAX crew are in top form and I'm really looking forward to the green flag."

synchronous style

Although Dario Franchitti competes in open-wheel racing and Marino Franchitti in sports cars, the brothers share an uncannily similar driving style. "It's almost scary, our styles are almost identical. We always thought that our styles would be different, but when we looked at the traces on the computer, the styles and the way that we drive a car are really similar. When we did feedback maps, they were almost identical," Marino Franchitti said.

Their co-drivers Milka Duno and Kevin McGarrity also like the same car setup, eliminating compromises that impede performance during a long race. "We all want the same thing out of the car," McGarrity confirmed. "Every time Milka jumped in after we'd made adjustments at the test, she loved it and went faster and faster. I think we're in for a good race."

Close in height and build, the three men also use the same driver seat, which makes for speedy driver changes. As McGarrity noted, "With a 24-hour race and a lot of traffic, it's not how fast you can go, it's how much time you avoid losing in the pits that counts."

For more information about Milka Duno, please visit www.milkaduno.com. Additional information about Dario Franchitti is available at www.franchitti.com, Marino Franchitti at www.marinofranchitti.com and Kevin McGarrity at www.kevinmcgarrity.com.

CITGO, based in Houston, Texas is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, refined waxes, asphalt and other industrial products. The company is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information on CITGO visit www.citgo.com.

-c/s-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Milka Duno , Dario Franchitti , Kevin McGarrity , Marino Franchitti