SunTrust Team Scores Solid Second-Place Finish Angelelli, Frisselle Battle Wet, Cold Conditions En Route to Runner-Up Spot In Verizon Wireless 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park Despite cold temperatures and extremely wet conditions, Max ...
SunTrust Team Scores Solid Second-Place Finish
Angelelli, Frisselle Battle Wet, Cold Conditions En Route to Runner-Up Spot In Verizon Wireless 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park
Despite cold temperatures and extremely wet conditions, Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle delivered a solid runner-up finish for SunTrust Racing in Sunday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Verizon Wireless 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) in Millville.
Nic Jonsson and Ricardo Zonta in the No. 76 Krohn Racing/Ford/Lola won the 2-hour, 45-minute event by 44.752 over Angelelli and Frisselle in the No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing.
The 87-lap race endured an odd flow with 28 of the first 43 laps conducted under full-course caution thanks to heavy rain and two accidents that slowed the first half of the event. However, once the green flag dropped on lap 44, the race was without caution until the end.
Frisselle, who qualified fifth on Saturday and drove the first stint on Sunday for the SunTrust team, led laps 11-13 and kept the car in the top-five for much of his time behind the wheel despite heavy rains and a windshield that fogged up at the beginning of the race.
"The conditions were really tough," Frisselle said. "We had a little bit of a fogging issue at the start, which made it 10 times worse. I was just so tentative because I couldn't see. It was the worst time I've ever had trying to see out of a race car. I couldn't see anything. As the fog from the inside of the cockpit wore off, it was still very bad, but nothing like it was the first five laps. Once that cleared, the car showed its capability and we started running the same lap times as the leader."
Frisselle gave way to Angelelli at the 45-minute mark, but the early part of the Italian's stint was spent under caution as Grand-Am officials kept the race under caution from laps 32-43 due to wet track conditions.
Once the race went green on lap 44, it took Angelelli only six laps to take the lead, and he held the point from laps 50-57.
However, Zonta got past Angelelli on the frontstretch on lap 58 and never looked back throughout the final 30 tours of the wet circuit.
While disappointed in missing out on the victory, Angelelli was quite pleased with the runner-up result in terms of the season-long championship.
"I'm personally very happy," Angelelli said. "We took the best we could from this weekend, where fast cars like the (No.) 59 (Brumos Porsche Riley, 30th) and the (No.) 01 (Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley, 21st) had problems. By finishing second, we made a lot of ground in the championship, and that's what counts."
The SunTrust team climbed back to fourth in the championship with the runner-up finish, one point behind the No. 12 Penske Racing Porsche for third and 10 points behind the leading No. 58 Brumos Porsche. The SunTrust team started the day seventh in the points.
"We obviously want to win races," said team owner Wayne Taylor. "Having had that bad result last weekend at VIR (13th), you've got to focus and think about the championship. Once Ricardo got by Max, it was clear that we would put ourselves at risk trying to challenge, and at that point it was all about a points race for us. Clearly it's narrowed up the points, so I'm happy."
The Rolex Series competitors take a weekend off before returning to the track for round four of the 2009 season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., May 15-17. The May 17 main event will be carried live on SPEED-TV at 4 p.m. EDT.