Another Solid Podium Effort for SunTrust at Montreal Angelelli, Taylor Roll to Their Sixth Top-Three Finish in the Last Eight Races; Look To Lock Down Second in the Championship as Ganassi Team Clinches Title On a legendary Formula 1 racetrack...
Another Solid Podium Effort for SunTrust at Montreal
Angelelli, Taylor Roll to Their Sixth Top-Three Finish in the Last Eight Races; Look To Lock Down Second in the Championship as Ganassi Team Clinches Title
On a legendary Formula 1 racetrack where the SunTrust team has scored a pair of victories in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series' first three visits, a third-place finish was as good as it was going to get for co-drivers Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor in Saturday's Montreal 200 on the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
Still, the veteran Angelelli and his 21-year-old co-driver Taylor were able to give the No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing its sixth podium finish in the last eight races and head to the season finale two weeks hence looking to clinch a solid second place in the series championship by finishing fifth or better. No matter the outcome at Miller Motorsports Park outside Salt Lake City on Sept. 11, the SunTrust team will finish in the top-three in the championship six of the seven seasons since it joined the Rolex Series in 2004.
Today's outcome, as it turned out, was decided on the final round of pit stops 55 minutes into the timed, two-hour event around the 2.709-mile, 15-turn road course that has been home to Formula 1's Canadian Grand Prix since 1978. Taylor brought the SunTrust car to pit lane in second place behind the polesitting No. 99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley of Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney. But both cars were beaten out of the pits by the championship-leading No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. And Pruett was able to keep the No. 01 car out in front of the second-place No. 99 car and the third-place SunTrust Racing machine over the final hour -- easily weathering a couple of restarts along the way -- and gave the Ganassi team its record-breaking eighth victory of the season to clinch the 2010 Rolex Series championship. They hold an insurmountable 35-point advantage (337-302) over the SunTrust team with one race remaining.
The victory by Pruett and Rojas broke the single-season record of seven wins set by the Gainsco team in 2007, and the title run is the Ganassi team's fourth, to go with its first-place efforts in 2004, 2006 and 2008.
Try as he might, Angelelli and the SunTrust Ford Dallara, which struggled to a sixth-place finish here in 2008 before winning last year's Montreal 200 as the result of gutsy strategy calls in the rain-hampered event, could not take advantage of either of today's late-race restarts behind the Ganassi and Gainsco cars. Pruett beat Gurney and the No. 99 car to the checkered flag by 2.005 seconds with Angelelli another 4.4 seconds behind. The fourth-place No. 59 Brumos Porsche Riley of Darren Law and David Donohue was never a threat to Angelelli over the final hour and finished 8.6 seconds behind the SunTrust car.
"I had problems on the restarts both times, so I was not able to get a run on the 01 and the 99," said Angelelli, whose dominating victory in the 2007 Montreal 200 was with co-driver Jan Magnussen while last year's win was with co-driver Brian Frisselle. "The SunTrust car took a little bit longer than the other cars to get up to speed at the beginning of a run. It was a little bit frustrating, but we knew that we have struggled here with our car and we tried a lot of things in practice on Friday. Today, we threw everything away with the setup and went back to the setup that we showed up with, so we were kind of behind schedule. It is what it is, and we will take our sixth podium finish of the year and move to Utah for the last race of the season, where our car has been very good."
Taylor, who qualified third on Friday and drove a clean opening stint today, was called into the pits under caution on just the third lap of the race and rejoined the race in second behind Fogarty in the No. 99 car. He stayed close behind Fogarty from the lap-seven restart until pitting to hand the SunTrust car over to Angelelli at the 55-minute mark on lap 27, but just was not able to get by the No. 99.
"Overall, the SunTrust car was pretty good," Taylor said. "We had a lot of practice yesterday and, historically, our Dallara struggles here a little bit. So we just went way back on the setup, really threw away everything that we did the second half of the day yesterday, and it turned out the car was pretty good. I didn't expect to have the pace of the 01 and the 99, but the car ended up, once we got up to speed and everything, we were able to match them. I really enjoy the track and it's a fun race, but just a little difficult to pass."
With their third-place finish, coupled with a disastrous points day for driver Ryan Dalziel of the No. 8 Starworks Motorsports BMW Riley team, Angelelli and Taylor leapfrogged past Dalziel into second place in the driver championship. Dalziel started the day four points ahead of Angelelli and Taylor, but he never even got to drive as the No. 8 car, with co-driver Mike Forest behind the wheel, suffered a terminal mechanical problem before the race was 20 minutes old. Angelelli and Taylor can clinch second in the championship with a fifth-place finish or better at the season finale in Utah.
"Like I was telling our guys right after the race, podiums these days are like wins used to be, it's gotten to be that tough, that competitive, in the Rolex Series," said team owner Wayne Taylor. "Congratulations to the Ganassi team. Eight wins -- that's just incredible. Ricky had a great first stint. We just had a problem with the wheel gun on the left-rear that might have cost us a chance to get back out there in first place after our second stop. But those things happen and it's history. It's off to the next one as we're second in the points, both in the team and driver championships, now. So that's a good thing for Ricky and Max and the team after all of our hard work this season."
The 2010 Rolex Series season concludes Saturday, Sept. 11, with the Utah 250 at Miller Motorsports Park outside Salt Lake City.
-source: suntrust racing