Daytona Rolex 24 race summary

SunTrust Racing Victorious in Rolex 24 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 6, 2005) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley survived the most competitive twice-around-the-clock challenge in history and captured the 43rd anniversary of the Rolex 24 At...

SunTrust Racing Victorious in Rolex 24

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., (Feb. 6, 2005) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley survived the most competitive twice-around-the-clock challenge in history and captured the 43rd anniversary of the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Sunday at historic Daytona International Speedway.

The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley, driven by Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli and Emmanuel Collard, were swapping the lead with the No. 20 CITGO Howard Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford in the final hours of the season-opening Rolex Sports Car Series race.

With about two hours remaining, the No. 20 car, driven by Tony Stewart, Jan Lammers and Andy Wallace, were put behind the pit wall with transmission problems. After about 20 minutes of repairs, the team was able to return to the track in the fourth position, 14 laps behind the leader.

But there was no catching the No. 10 SunTrust Racing team, which Taylor is listed as the car owner and resides in nearby Altamonte Springs, Fla.

Taylor says the victory against the most competitive field of championship drivers and cars in Rolex 24 history easily tops his first Rolex 24 triumph in 1996.

"The standard of the competition was so much higher," Taylor said. "There were 15 cars that could have won this race on pure speed, not on retirements and so on. So this was really a good one to win. Especially being my hometown, and SunTrust's home base, it couldn't be better.

"It's a big relief for me. I can relax a little now. It's always hard putting these programs together. You've got to manage your expectations. Now, we can get on with trying to win a championship."

The SunTrust Racing victory was the second straight victory in the Rolex 24 for a Pontiac-powered car and the first overall Rolex 24 victory for Riley Daytona Prototype chassis. This year's Rolex 24 featured a Rolex Series record 43 lead changes.

The winning No. 10 car completed 710 laps, which is the approximately distance between Daytona Beach, Fla., and Los Angeles.

Finishing in the overall second position was the No. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford with drivers Butch Leitzinger, Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Jimmie Johnson. Rounding out the podium was the No. 20 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford of Stewart, Lammers and Wallace.

Johnson, who drives the No. 48 Lowe's Home Improvement Chevrolet in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, was thrilled to be a part of the runner-up team.

"Yes I'm a racer and I wish I would've won, but for myself to finish second in this race is a huge, huge accomplishment," Johnson said. "I'm very happy with that. I always want to win races but to be this close and be here in the media center and to be on the podium and work with such great teammates, I'm thankful for that.

"It's a great way to start the season and it's so much fun to come down and meet all the different drivers and different champions. The Crawfords make racing so much fun. It's a family run team. They work very hard. All the crew guys are a lot of fun to be around. It's just a great time. I'll definitely be back."

Stewart, who drives the No. 20 Home Depot Chevrolet in the NEXTEL Cup Series, enjoyed the high level of competition in the Rolex 24.

"I could feel the difference from last year to this year as far as intensity and pace," Johnson said. "Everybody seemed to be flat out and everybody was running a pretty strong pace all day. It was fun, it made for a fun race. You didn't feel like you were out riding around giving it 98 or 99 perfect the whole time."

While the competition for the overall title in the Rolex 24 was tight, the fight for the GT class honors wasn't as close. The No. 71 Farnbacher Racing Porsche GT3 Cup and drivers Wolf Henzler, Dominik Farnbacher, Shawn Price and Pierre Ehret held the GT class advantage for much of the race and took the top honors as well as an impressive 10th-place finish overall.

The Grand American Road Racing Series will return to Daytona International Speedway for the Paul Revere 250 presented by Brumos Porsche on June 30, part of the Pepsi 400 Weekend. Tickets for any events at "The World Center of Racing" are available online at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling 1-800-PITSHOP.

-dis-

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Wallace , Jan Lammers , Tony Stewart , Butch Leitzinger , Emmanuel Collard , Wayne Taylor , Jimmie Johnson , Elliott Forbes-Robinson , Max Angelelli , Pierre Ehret , Wolf Henzler , Dominik Farnbacher , Shawn Price