Suntrust Racing And Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Take Podium Finishes In Rolex Sports Car Series Dp Class
The No. 10 SunTrust Racing Chevrolet/Dallara with Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli claimed the runner-up spot in today’s American Red Cross 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park, Round 9 of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype (DP) class, giving them their sixth straight Top-5 finish of the season.
Teammates Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney in the No. 99 GAINSO/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet/Riley finished close behind in third place, scoring their fourth consecutive top-three podium finish; and also giving Team Chevy two of the top three in the final order.
The No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Chevrolet/Coyote shared by drivers Paul Edwards and Antonio Garcia, finished the race in seventh place.
The weekend got off to an impressive start when Taylor collected his fifth consecutive DP pole position; lapping the 2.5-mile, 14-turn road circuit with a time of 1:16.719 (106.974 mph). It was slightly better than Garcia’s time of 1:16.769 (106.904 mph) who started second; and that of Fogarty, the defending race co-winner with Gurney, who rounded out the top three starting spots for Team Chevy.
Taylor’s five-race pole streak moved him within two of the all-time record held by Fogarty, who won seven consecutive poles in 2007.
“Overall, it was a good weekend for us,” said Jim Lutz, GM Racing Program Manager for Grand-Am Road Racing. “It was very close between the No. 99 and the No. 10 cars and we were able to get second and third place finishes between the two teams. We were very pleased with the seventh place finish for the Spirit of Daytona Chevy car, mechanically; since they’ve had some snafus in recent races. The driver’s helmet air-hose came off once, but it was a victory of sorts for them in that they ran virtually trouble-free and the car stayed together.”
The race started smoothly with Team Chevy running 1-2-3; until the eventual race winner, Scott Pruett (Ganassi/BMW) tapped Taylor from behind on lap 27, causing him to spin off-course. While the contact was unintentional and caused the Ganassi team a drive-through penalty, it was enough to cost Taylor four positions on the racetrack. Both the Ganassi and SunTrust teams were able to weather their respective storms and fight their way back to the front to finish 1-2. Angelelli was behind the wheel of the No. 10 Chevrolet in the end, and followed Pruett across the finish line by 3.806 seconds.
“It’s great to finish on the podium, but we really want to win,” said Angelelli, who finished second here in the SunTrust car with Michael Valiante in 2008 and with Brian Frisselle in 2009, and third here with Taylor last year. “We’re 50 percent good with it, but the other 50 percent, we’re not happy without a win to show for our effort today. I think the team did really well because we had to fight back from far behind. It was because we were in a place where we were not supposed to be, thanks to Ricky getting spun early in the race. But I think the team made really good calls during the race. The strategy was perfect. That yellow close to the end is what really saved the Ganassi team.”
Near the conclusion of the 2-hour, 45-minute race, a second of only two cautions came out and caused the field to bunch-up for a final sprint to the finish. Gurney, in the No. 99 GAINSCO Chevrolet had been running second behind the leader; with the SunTrust Racing No. 10 Chevy close behind. With fresh tires and approximately three minutes to spare, Angelli passed Gurney for second and Gurney took the checkered in third.
The No. 99 team still left New Jersey disappointed with the day's results after building a huge lead at one stage in the middle of the race.
“It’s pretty disappointing, actually, for us,” Gurney said. “With well under an hour to go we had a pretty big lead, 13 seconds or something like that, and we got that yellow. I was behind Scott at the end there and he was able to pull away on pretty old tires. I had a lot of rubber pickup, very little help in traffic – I really struggled with traffic today – and it seemed like I came up on the GT leaders at exactly the wrong time a few times. It just didn’t work through the traffic very well, and for me, the car didn’t hang in there at the end of a stint, it faded. Anyway, we got a podium on a really hot day, and the heat ended up not being too much of a factor, so I feel good about that.”
The heat was on at NJMP in every way, with extreme weather in the triple digits and blistering track temperatures at the 130-degree mark. But it was not quite as much of a factor as originally thought for Team Chevy.
“We had some cloud cover and the teams were prepared to do additional driver changes and swap-out cool boxes if needed,” added Lutz. “But the equipment in the cars worked well.”
“I think the whole weekend the crew guys had to put out the greatest effort,” Fogarty said. “Friday was, I think, the hottest weather I have ever been in, Saturday was brutal and today was brutal as well. Those guys are in a garage, but it is still hot under there, so our crew guys really had their work cut out for them this weekend to just stay upright. Hats off to them.”
Fogarty led 22 laps, circuits 41 through 62, and pitted the No. 99 for his second and final stop in the lead. Gurney took the wheel, returned to the race in sixth, but quickly cycled back to the front and opened up to the biggest leads of the race when he set the pace for 17 circuits, laps 78 to 94.
“It seemed like we were good at the beginning, but for me, it just faded both times at the end in both stints I did,” Gurney said. “It just wasn’t fast enough at the end of both stints.”
In the Grand Touring (GT) class, it was the team of Bill Lester & Jordan Taylor in the No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Camaro GT.R that led the way for Team Chevy with a fourth place finish.
“Although we were all hoping for a podium finish today, the strong fourth-place by the Autohaus team has moved them back in the hunt for both the Team and Driver Championships,” said Lutz. “They are now only one point out of first place in the GT division.”
The No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R with drivers Robin Liddell and Ronnie Bremer finished fifth in class; and the No. 07 Banner Racing Camaro GT.R with drivers Mike Skeen and Gunter Schaldach was seventh.
By: team chevy