- Winners at Lime Rock & Watkins Glen
- Wayne Taylor's first time at Road America
SunTrust Looks To Make it Three Wins in a Row
When it comes to the uncertainties of competing on a racetrack for the very first time, the SunTrust Racing driving duo of Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor have just one thing to say: “Bring it on!”
The winners of the last two GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series races at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., and Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International head to historic Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., for the first time this weekend while the Rolex Series is racing there for the first time since 2001. And, as Angelelli and Taylor look to give SunTrust its first three-race winning streak since it joined the Rolex Series in 2004, they know full well that the No. 10 racing machine has earned quite a few first-place trophies and a whole host of podium finishes in its inaugural seasons on a vast array of racetracks.
Just last year, when the Rolex Series added Lime Rock to its Daytona Prototype-class schedule, Angelelli and Taylor scored a thoroughly dominating win, marking the fifth time the SunTrust team had snatched the top spot on the podium in its first year at a new track. In 2007, when the Rolex Series visited Montreal’s Circuit Gilles Villeneuve for the first time, Angelelli and his then-co-driver Jan Magnussen were victorious. Add to that a trio of race wins during SunTrust’s inaugural 2004 Rolex Series season – Phoenix International Raceway in April, Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in July, and in October at Virginia International Raceway in Alton – and it’s clear the SunTrust team is blessed either with a heaping helping of beginner’s luck, or a huge penchant for learning new tracks more quickly than most.
Six other times, the SunTrust team earned podium finishes in its first-year runs at a racetrack – second at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville in 2008, second at Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in 2005, second at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., in 2004, second in the September 2004 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway, second in the 2004 Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen, and third in the August 2004 sprint race at Watkins Glen.
The beautiful setting for Saturday’s two-hour Rolex Sports Car Series 250 Driven by Visit Florida – the prelude to that afternoon’s NASCAR Nationwide Series Bucyrus 200 – is one of the oldest racetracks in America. The 4-mile, 14-turn circuit, with its long straightaways, challenging mix of slow- and high-speed corners, and its Old World charm, has been hosting the biggest names in road racing from around the world since 1955. Even NASCAR’s Grand National Series, as it was known then, last raced there in 1956 before returning after a 54-year hiatus with its Nationwide Series in 2010, and it put on quite a show.
Having previously raced at Road America once each, Angelelli, the veteran Italian, and Taylor, the 21-year-old mechanical engineering major from the University of Central Florida, know what’s in store for them this weekend. Angelelli started third and finished fifth for Team Cadillac in a 2004 SCCA World Challenge race. Taylor ran a pair of races during a 2007 Skip Barber National Series weekend, winning the first and retiring from the second with mechanical issues.
While it will be their first time on the historic layout in the No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing, both drivers agree it is eerily similar to the Watkins Glen long course, where Angelelli and Taylor thoroughly dominated for six solid hours at Watkins Glen three weekends ago, starting from the pole and leading a race-high 128 of 174 laps en route to their second consecutive victory.
It was only the third time SunTrust has scored back-to-back Rolex Series wins, the last two coming during Angelelli and team owner Wayne Taylor’s championship run in 2005. Angelelli and Ricky Taylor are counting on Saturday’s first-ever race at Road America to be a first in yet another sense for the SunTrust team – the place where it achieves its first-ever three-race winning streak.