Daytona II: SunTrust Racing preview

SUNTRUST RACING Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 1, 2009) -- There will be double-takes aplenty when co-drivers Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle and a striking, new silver paint scheme that will adorn their No. 10 ...

SUNTRUST RACING

Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 1, 2009) -- There will be double-takes aplenty when co-drivers Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle and a striking, new silver paint scheme that will adorn their No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing take to the Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway road circuit to kick off a Fourth of July racing doubleheader of grand proportions.

Saturday's festivities start with the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series' annual Brumos Porsche 250, which moves from its traditional Thursday-night time slot to Saturday afternoon prior to the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 presented by Coca-Cola.

With all eyes of the racing world looking on as the Brumos Porsche 250 moves to its new day and time, the familiar orange SunTrust Racing prototype will showcase its new, silver paint scheme with the words "Solid Is Lightning Fast" emblazoned on the sidepods. It will be the first of four consecutive Rolex Series events for the new look as SunTrust utilizes its signature racing program to promote the company's latest line of convenience products and its fast and reliable mobile and online money management tools -- all in concert with the company's initiative: "Live Solid. Bank Solid."

Angelelli, Frisselle and the SunTrust team look to christen their new paint scheme with the season's first taste of victory champagne come Saturday afternoon on the 3.56-mile, 12-turn Daytona road circuit. They've come close on several occasions over the first half of the 2009 campaign, during which they've led laps at each of the first six events -- the only team to do so other than the championship-leading No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.

Two weeks ago at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, the SunTrust team flirted with victory before an ill-timed yellow flag snatched Angelelli and the team out of the race lead and out of first place in the championship standings with an eighth-place finish. On Saturday, they'll look to continue the tremendous consistency they've exhibited since the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, where the SunTrust team finished just off the podium in fourth place. At the next race, Angelelli was in perfect position for a podium finish during the closing laps at Virginia International Raceway in Alton before getting caught up in a late-race blunder by another competitor. He and Frisselle then posted consecutive podium finishes at New Jersey, Laguna Seca and Watkins Glen to move into the championship lead before powering their way to the front for 27 laps at Mid-Ohio, only to be denied victory by the ill-timed yellow.

There's a half-season to go for the SunTrust team and its Rolex Series counterparts, bolstered this weekend by the added presence of Sprint Cup regulars Kyle Busch and Scott Speed in a second Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley. If Angelelli, Frisselle and Company continue to post solid results as they have thus far, and the SunTrust Racing machine continues to be lightning fast as it has been at Daytona, historically, there just might be a race win on tap for this weekend, and a series championship looming in the not-too-distant future.

Practice for the Brumos Porsche 250 begins at 9 a.m. EDT Saturday, followed by qualifying at 10:45 a.m., and final practice at noon. Race time for the 250-mile (or 2-hour, 20-minute, whichever comes first) event is 2 p.m. EDT with SPEED-TV providing live coverage.

Max Angelelli, co-driver of the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara:

Your traditional Thursday-night race moves to Saturday afternoon for this year's edition of the Brumos Porsche 250 in a doubleheader with that night's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 presented by Coca-Cola. What does that mean to you and your fellow Rolex Series competitors?

"Any time you race at night, especially at a place like Daytona, it's a very unique feeling and very intriguing. So I will miss that this year. But I've always been a big supporter of Grand-Am and I think it is a very good thing that we are going to be racing in front of a very big crowd. There will be a lot of fans there who probably have never seen a Grand-Am race, and to see our prototypes and GT cars fighting on the road circuit, they will get the chance to see something very unique and I think they will like it. And the idea of having NASCAR drivers race with us is just fabulous. I'm really looking forward to that. I hope the fans enjoy us. I'm happy for the series."

Moving from the nighttime to the daytime, do you expect the characteristics of the race to change significantly?

"Daytime in Florida in July is always hot, so that will be the biggest difference. Otherwise, I don't believe the track will change all that much. I know we will be strong, but a lot of cars and teams have strong setups there. Daytona is the favorite track for a lot of people in our series. And there will be more drivers and cars and teams than usual, so there will be huge competition. We won't be the only strong team there this weekend, for sure."

Saturday marks the start of the second half of the season. How would you rate yourself and the team's performance, so far?

"I think, as a team, we did really, really well the first half of the season. Unfortunately, there are two reasons we're not leading the championship and don't have any wins, yet, and it's not due to the team. It was actually a matter of bad luck, both what happened to us at Virginia and last race at Mid-Ohio. You create your own luck, but at Mid-Ohio, what can you do when you're leading the race and are about to pit and the yellow comes out at absolutely the wrong time? At VIR, what can you do when another driver causes an accident in front of you and takes you off the podium? If you consider the position we were in at both of those races, we'd be leading the championship by a lot. Now, we need to have a much better second half of the season. The Dallara is definitely good. I have always believed it is the car of the future, and now we are going back to the tracks with it for the second time, so it will be much easier for the team to go racing with it. I was not very happy with my own personal performance at the first three races, but I worked really hard to get better and I am a lot more satisfied. We want to go back to the lead in the championship, and we want to do that very soon."

Brian Frisselle, co-driver of the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara:

Saturday has all the makings for one of Grand-Am's most exciting shows in history. Safe to say you're looking forward to the festivities?

"I can't believe it. We're going racing on one of the most special days of the year both for Americans, in general, and for racing fans, in particular. It's awesome to be able to go to that venue at Daytona and race in front of such a big crowd. It's going to be great for Grand-Am and great for SunTrust and all the other sponsors to see just how exciting of a product Grand-Am racing truly is. It's a great way to attract more fans and, hopefully, we'll put on a really good show."

Do you expect there to be much of a difference between racing the 24-hour event in January and Saturday's 250-miler?

"It'll be pretty different, for sure. It's going to be really hot, which I think is good for our car. The Pirelli tires seem to work better with our Dallara chassis when the track temperatures are higher. I think that will put us in a really strong position. That, and the fact I think we have a great team with a lot of experience racing at Daytona. We'll need to make the most of it in a very short time. Fortunately, I think we did that very thing the last two races, where we ended up with very limited track time to set up the car. (Technical Director) Travis (Jacobson) made some good calls on the setup and we ended up being one of the fastest cars at Watkins Glen and Mid-Ohio."

Wayne Taylor, owner of the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Ford Dallara team:

Your race car takes on a brand new look for the next four races. How exciting is that for you?

"Yeah, we'll have a silver paint scheme with 'Solid Is Lightning Fast' on the sides, promoting SunTrust's new line of convenience products, particularly its mobile and online banking services. That's very exciting for us. I've always liked doing this sort of thing. It just shows the value of who we are, what we do and the strength of the Grand-Am series for the bank to use it for these reasons. It's all great, and the paint scheme looks really good. I think everybody is going to stand up and take notice."

The mid-summer race at Daytona also breaks tradition this year by moving from Thursday night to Saturday afternoon before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 presented by Coca-Cola. What do you think of all that?

"I think it's exciting that we are getting closer to the whole NASCAR way of going racing. Being there to race on the Fourth of July to set the stage for the NASCAR race is going to be incredible for Grand-Am. A lot of people who ordinarily may not know about us are going to get a live, first-hand look at what Grand-Am racing is all about and I really think they'll be in for a treat. It's still a one-day event for us, as it has always been, but with the race early in the afternoon, we have much less time than ever between when we practice and qualify to when we have to hit the ground running for the race. But we have a good team of guys and the car will be set up well. The biggest difference is going to be the heat that comes with racing in the daytime in July in Florida. We're going to have to dial the car in as good as absolutely possible. I feel really comfortable now that we have had a good bit of testing and practice and racing with the Dallara at Daytona. Hopefully, we'll go out and qualify well and race well and get back on top of the championship."

-credit: str

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Max Angelelli , Scott Speed , Memo Rojas , Chip Ganassi , Brian Frisselle , Felix Sabates , Kyle Busch
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Chip Ganassi Racing , Wayne Taylor Racing