Long Beach, California (April 8, 2006) -- The No. 10 SunTrust race team had their best finish of the season at today's Grand American Challenge of Long Beach race, Round 4 of the 14-race schedule, however, it was not the podium finish they were ...
Long Beach, California (April 8, 2006) -- The No. 10 SunTrust race team had their best finish of the season at today's Grand American Challenge of Long Beach race, Round 4 of the 14-race schedule, however, it was not the podium finish they were seeking. If it were not for bad luck, they would not have had any luck at all.
An eighth-place finish by the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Team Champions was better than it sounds in a race filled with three cautions for 19 of 52 laps that involved many cars in numerous accidents.
"In a street race, anything can happen. Today we just couldn't get a break," said SunTrust car owner/driver Wayne Taylor, who sat out of driving this weekend and asked Jan Magnussen to guest drive. "Jan ran well at the beginning but it seemed that Max ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. When you are winning a championship, good luck seems to go with you. When you get bad luck, it seems to be everywhere."
The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley started third on the grid for today's 90-minute sprint race. Magnussen qualified it yesterday while Max Angelelli was in Texas competing in the IROC event, where he finished sixth.
Magnussen made a pass in the first turn on Patrick Long in the No. 23 Porsche Crawford to advance to the second spot. The favor was returned three laps later by Long. When a big accident occurred on Lap 11, just 15 minutes into the race, Magnussen was called to the pits for a full pit stop and driver change, as previously strategized by the team. Max "the Ax" took over for the balance of the race.
"I had a good start and a fight with the No. 23 Porsche and got him in Turn 1," said Jan Magnussen. "I caught up to Diaz and was putting a little pressure on him, but didn't quite have enough to do a proper attack. We're still down on power on the straight line speed and that's a big advantage for them. Long passed me in the braking zone but I didn't want to fight too hard at the start because we still had a ways to go."
Two laps after the re-start on Lap 23, the No. 89 Pontiac Riley of Ryan Dalziel cut off Angelelli while in third position in Turn One and forced them both into the tire wall. Angelelli managed get restarted but fell back to the 16th position. Angelelli worked his magic up through the field and was in 13th when a third caution was thrown for three laps on Lap 34. He continued to work his way up during the 52-lap race to finish in the eighth position.
"I am very disappointed," said the Italian Angelelli. "Some people had no race strategy and need to be more patient. It was very disappointing to be taken out in such a way. I had to try very hard because there was only one place to pass on the Long Beach circuit and everyone was trying very hard there."
"It was a tough day for us," said Bill Riley, who spearheads the SunTrust team racing operations. We had a good car that could turn fast laps within the top five. It was unfortunate what happened out there, but that happens at street circuits. Max and Jan both did a great job. It was nice having Wayne on the stand with me to talk things through. Some teams fared far worse with their cars, so we'll take it."
"The team put all their effort into today and although we did not get the result we would like, it was a lot of hard work and effort. We are as dedicated to this team and Grand-Am as the day we started," said Craig Kelly, Corporate Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of SunTrust Banks, Inc., who was in attendance at today's race.
Today's Long Beach race was the first for the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve on the 1.968-mile street circuit, and the first Daytona Prototype class street race in the sanctioning body's six-year history.
Round Five of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series moves back to the East Coast on April 21-23 at Virginia International Raceway.