By Pat Jennings, Sportscar series reporter
- Angelelli & Taylor take first win of 2011
- Michael Shank Racing strong second
- Stevenson Motorsports claims GT win
Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor won Monday’s Memorial Day Weekend Classic at Lime Rock Park, giving SunTrust Racing its first Rolex Sports Car Series win since it won the same race last year. Taylor qualified the team’s Chevrolet Dallara on the pole and set a blistering pace early in the race, leading the first 45 laps of the 183-lap race. After taking over the car from Taylor on lap 46, Angelelli extended the lead on his way to the checkered flag, finishing just over 26 seconds ahead of Oswaldo Negri, Jr. in the Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley.
“The car was unbelievable,” said Angelelli. “It was easy for me today the car was so good.”
The engineers hit the nail on the head today...
“The engineers hit the nail on the head today in terms of the set up,” added Taylor, a former driving instructor at Lime Rock.
The Starworks Motorsports Ford Riley rounded out the Daytona Prototype podium, finishing third in the hands of Ryan Dalziel.
The SunTrust squad has four top-five finishes in five races this season and their drivers now sit 22 points behind the Ganassi Racing duo of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas.
Winners of three of the first four races of the year, the Ganassi team finished seventh, six laps behind the leaders. Rojas started third in the team’s BMW Riley, but damaged the left front of the car trying to pass the Brumos Porsche GT car on lap 18. Contact with the curbing on the outside of the track tore the left front body work off of the car and damaged the radiator and front suspension. Rojas said after his stint that the move was probably too risky at that point in the race.
The Gainsco Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley came home fourth, followed by the two Action Express Porsche Rileys.
The Spirit of Daytona Racing Chevrolet Coyote qualified second, led 24 laps, and looked like a contender for the win before succumbing to a broken shifter.
Hot and humid conditions combined with the notoriously stifling conditions inside of the closed-cockpit Daytona Prototypes forced several teams, including Gainsco (Gurney) and Spirit of Daytona (Garcia), to make unscheduled pit stops near the end of the race to switch drivers. Both drivers were pulled from their cars and observed by track medical staff.
Jan Magnussen and Robin Liddell drove the Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro to victory in the GT class. A second Camaro – fielded by Autohaus Motorsports – finished second in the hands of Jordan Taylor and Bill Lester, followed by the Brumos Porsche of Leh Keen and Andrew Davis. It was the first win for Stevenson since the last race of 2010.
“The car was fantastic today,” said Magnussen. “It was the best car we’ve had all year. I’m super happy for the team. Everything went well.”
The race featured one caution for four laps – a rarity for the Rolex Series.
The next Rolex Series race is the six-hour event at Watkins Glen International on June 4.