The SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley of Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor was the class of the 44-car Rolex Sports Car Series field this weekend at Watkins Glen International, but, in the end, it wasn't enough to beat Scott Pruett and Max Papis to the checkered flag.
However, an endless stream of caution flags prevented Angelelli and Taylor from fully maximizing their newfound horsepower and aerodynamic gains. Instead, 10 full-course yellows and the car's thirsty Pontiac engine allowed the Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley of Pruett and Papis, which had lost two laps to the leaders in the early going while the crew fixed a stuck throttle, to remain in contention long enough to win its second consecutive race.
"Our weekend was just a train wreck," explained Pruett. "I thought we had things behind us once the race started, then we had the problems with the throttle. But we just kept at it. At that point, I was just hoping to makeup a few laps and salvage something out of it. To come back and win is great."
"After the early problems, I just focused and fought harder," added Papis, who was in the car when the throttle jammed. "We proved today that we wanted it very badly."
With their win Sunday, Pruett and Papis retained their lead atop the drivers' championship.
Angelelli and Taylor hung on to finish second, 27.016 seconds behind the winners. Yet both drivers were obviously disappointed. "We had the fastest car this weekend, but weren't fast enough when it counted," admitted Taylor. "We are just so disappointed. To be quickest all weekend long and then lose it at the end is awful. But congratulations to the Ganassi guys for coming back from two laps down."
"I don't know what to say," said Angelelli, who blistered the track all weekend in just his first visit to the Glen. "To be always fastest all weekend and to finish second is terrible. What can I say? I was sure the deal was done. I'm really disappointed. We need to win the championship and this is not the way to do it."
The second Ganassi Racing entry of Luis Diaz and Jimmy Morales came home third, while Butch Leitzinger, Elliot Forbes-Robinson, and Paul Edwards in the Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford and Jan Magnussen, Didier Theys, and Fredy Lienhard in the Lexus Doran rounded out the top-five.
The Risi Competizione Ferrari 360GT of Anthony Lazzaro, Ralf Kelleners, and Philip Bennett finished second, one lap behind the winning BMW. Jay Policastro, Joe Policastro, and Mike Fitzgerald in the Orbit Racing Porsche claimed the final step on the GT class podium.
In SGS, the TPC Porsche of Andy Lally and Marc Bunting survived a close encounter with a spinning Corvette during the third caution and minor contact with the Schumacher Racing Porsche during the fourth caution to take home their first win of the year. They now have five podium finishes in five races.
Another TPC Porsche, driven by John Littlechild, Bill Adam, and Spencer Pumpelly, finished second, followed by the Doncaster Racing Porsche shared by Greg Wilkins, Dave Lacey, and Jean-Francois Dumoulin.
Overall, the race featured six leaders and 16 lead changes.
The Rolex Sports Car Series will return to the track on July 1 at Daytona International Speedway.