Homestead: Thursday practice report

SunTrust Racing Quickest in Opening Practice Session for Grand Prix of Miami MIAMI, Fla. (February 26, 2004) -- Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series drivers got their first taste of racing on the banking of the NEW Homestead-Miami Speedway on...

SunTrust Racing Quickest in Opening Practice Session for Grand Prix of Miami

MIAMI, Fla. (February 26, 2004) -- Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series drivers got their first taste of racing on the banking of the NEW Homestead-Miami Speedway on Thursday during the opening practice session for this Saturday's Grand Prix of Miami. The speeds were quicker due to the new configuration, and several teams were at the top of the leaderboard during the one-hour, 45-minute practice session. At the end of the session, the SunTrust Racing No. 10 Pontiac Riley XI turned a 1:15.262 lap at 110.016 mph that would not be beat.

Max Angelelli was at the wheel of the No. 10 Pontiac Daytona Prototype during its fast lap, which was 1.720 seconds faster than the qualifying record set by David Donohue last year.

"It's the first time I've raced here since the construction. It's good; I like it. It's much more fun that the other configuration. It seems to be a little bit more challenging with the banking. The traffic is not going to be easy," said Angelelli.

"I like the new banking. We've just got to find where the groove is. The car is very good. There are some issues that we're working on, but we'll be OK for tomorrow," added Angelelli's co-driver, Wayne Taylor.

Four teams were quicker than last year's qualifying time of 1:16.982. The CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates No. 01 Lexus Riley was second-quickest with its 1:15.588 lap, while Michael Shank Racing's No. 6 Lexus Doran JE4 was third fastest with a 1:15.705. The Doran-Lista Racing No. 27 Lexus Doran was the fourth Daytona Prototype to top last year's time with a 1:16.179 lap.

The Spirit of Daytona No. 09 Pontiac Crawford was the only Daytona Prototype to not take to the track for testing due to an engine change. Rolex 24 At Daytona winner and 2003 North American Road Racing Champions Bell Motorsports had a sudden spike in the engine temperature of its No. 54 Pontiac Doran early in the session that the team had to attend to.

After a disappointing finish at the Rolex 24 At Daytona earlier this month, Prototype Technology Group returned to the track in top form during the opening practice session, placing both of its BMW M3s at the front of the GT class by more than a second. The No. 21 BMW of Bill Auberlen and Boris Said was fastest in the class with its 1:20.278 lap at 103.142, while the No. 22 BMW of Joey Hand and Justin Marks was second with a 1:20.425 lap.

The Rolex 24 At Daytona class winner, Orbit Racing, was third quickest in the class with the No.44 Porsche GT3 RS turning a 1:21.770.

The TPC Racing No. 36 Porsche GT3 Cup of Randy Pobst and Michael Levitas was fastest in the SGS class with its 1:22.832 lap at 99.961 mph. TPC Racing's No. 38 Porsche was second quickest in class with a 1:23.101 lap, while the AASCO Motorsports No. 16 Porsche GT3 RS was third in SGS with its 1:23.424.

Qualifying for the Grand Prix of Miami will be held at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, with the green flag falling on round two of the Rolex Series on Saturday at 3 p.m. Tickets are currently on sale for the Grand Prix of Miami, as well as the entire Toyota INDY 300 weekend, online at www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com.

Additional information about the Grand Prix of Miami and Rolex Sports Car Series is available online at www.grandamerican.com.

-garra-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Boris Said , Wayne Taylor , Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Randy Pobst , David Donohue , Max Angelelli , Justin Marks , Michael Levitas , Chip Ganassi , Michael Shank , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing