From team press release
If good things truly do happen in threes, then the SunTrust Racing driver duo of Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor, winners of the last two Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series races, will gladly be the ones spraying victory champagne again at the conclusion of Saturday’s inaugural Chevrolet Grand-Am 200 on Detroit’s resurrected Belle Isle temporary street circuit.
Back-to-back wins at Homestead-Miami Speedway in April and three weekends ago at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville have vaulted the veteran Angelelli, the 22-year-old Taylor and the No. 10 SunTrust Corvette Dallara DP team of Wayne Taylor Racing to within four points of the Rolex Series championship lead heading into the latest stretch on the schedule that has them taking to the track for four races over the next five weekends.
First of those is Saturday’s two-hour sprint race on the 2.1-mile, 14-turn Belle Isle street circuit that is hosting big-time auto racing for the first time since 2008, and the Rolex Series for the first time ever. Thusly, a vast majority of the Rolex Series competitors, including Angelelli and Taylor, have never set a tire tread on the fast but tricky layout.
“I have zero first-hand knowledge of the track. I’ve been looking at videos of the track with the boys, Ricky and Jordan (Taylor),” Angelelli said. “We’ll see when we get there. It’s a lot of corners, long straights. I’ll need to see it to understand it. The event, racing in Detroit, on Belle Isle, there is a little bit of history there, it’s good. I want to say thanks to Chevrolet and Grand-Am for making this happen. It’s a good new venue for us, and new venues are always exciting, especially this one.”
Considering the challenge of having to learn and excel at a new race venue in relatively short order, the SunTrust team has quite a lot going in its favor at Belle Isle, not the least of which is riding a two-race winning streak.
Now we’re fighting for a championship, just a few points out of first,” said Ricky Taylor. “As recently as last race at New Jersey, we could be really aggressive with our strategy and everything. Going to a street course for the first time, it’s another variable that makes it tough and makes you be a little more conservative so as not to touch anything or anyone. It’s a lot less pressure when you’re behind in points, I think. It’s more fun to try and make risky moves and you can afford to take risks.”
Since joining the Rolex Series in 2004, the SunTrust team has a rather successful history in first-time visits to racetracks. In 19 first-time appearances at a racetrack for Rolex Series sprint races, the team has scored 10 podium finishes, including five victories – Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn. (2010), Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (2007), Virginia International Raceway in Alton (2004), Phoenix International Raceway (2004), and Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (July race 2004).