VIR: Friday practice report

Angelelli Puts No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley Tops Speed Charts for VIR 400 Presented by SunTrust Danville, Va. (October 1, 2004) -- Italian driver Max Angelelli posted a best lap pf 1:45.547 (111.533 mph) in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing...

Angelelli Puts No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley Tops Speed Charts for VIR 400 Presented by SunTrust

Danville, Va. (October 1, 2004) -- Italian driver Max Angelelli posted a best lap pf 1:45.547 (111.533 mph) in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley around the historic 3.27-mile, 17-turn circuit at Virginia International Raceway to lead the field in practice sessions for Sunday's VIR 400 Presented by SunTrust (SPEED Channel, Live, 12:00 Noon ET).

It was the sixth time in 10 races this season that the No. 10 has turned in the fastest opening day practice time, and comes on the heels of the team's second-place performance two weeks ago in the Miami 250. Angelelli, who shares the No. 10 with co-driver and car owner Wayne Taylor, enters the VIR 400 presented by SunTrust riding a streak of four consecutive podium finishes. Overall, the No. 10 has finished on the podium five times this year including victories in the Food City 250 at Phoenix International Raceway in April and the Paul Revere 250 presented by Brumos Porsche in July.

"The car is very good," Angelelli said. "We had a very nice test here about a month ago. We are using this data for the setup. That was helpful. It's a very good car for the race. I just worry about traffic. We lost the race two weeks ago because of that. At the moment, that's my biggest concern."

Clocking the second-quickest time of the day was Miami 250 winner Andy Wallace in the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford at 1:46.346 (110.695 mph). Whereas Angelelli's best time came during the morning session, Wallace turned in his best effort during the afternoon session and is off to a good start in his quest for two consecutive wins. Wallace and co-driver Milka Duno have finished on the podium three times together this year--including the win two weeks ago--and the Englishman also had a podium finish in July at Daytona when he co-drove the No. 20 CITGO Pontiac Crawford with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup star Tony Stewart.

"It's a wonderful track," Wallace said. "What a great idea for Grand American to come here because what a lovely track it is. It's going to be a great race, just like the other races. We tested here in this car two or three times. We know the track really well. It's one of my favorite tracks. It's nice and cool this time. We came prepared with a cooling system, but we don't need it. I think it's going to be a great race."

Running the third fastest lap of the day was Max Papis in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley at 1:46.771 (110.255 mph). After their worst showing of the season to date with a 10th place run in the Miami 250, Papis and co-driver Scott Pruett are looking to return to the front of the field this weekend. Papis was followed by his teammate in the No. 02 Lexus Riley, Luis Diaz, who posted a best time of 1:47.111 (109.905 mph), while another Lexus driver, Oswaldo Negri Jr., filled out the top five in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus Doran at 1:47.194 (109.820 mph).

AUBERLEN PUTS BMW BACK ON TOP IN GT

In GT practice for the VIR 400 presented by SunTrust, class points leader Bill Auberlen turned the fastest lap of the day in the No. 21 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 at 1:54.215 (103.069 mph). With a mechanical failure in the Miami 250, Auberlen saw his championship lead dwindle to a single point over teammate Boris Said, but today's performance returned Auberlen to a familiar position.

"It's always best to be quickest because it's a lot harder to try make yourself go faster than slower," Auberlen said. "The car was good, the car has been good all day; we made some changes to the management system and it got better. We ran long on a set of tires, and they lasted. We really accomplished everything, so now we're waiting to qualify and start the race."

Second-quickest on the day in GT was Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 77 G&W Motorsports Porsche GT3 RS with a best lap of 1:54.613 (102.711 mph) at his and his team's home track. Third-quickest was Joao Barbosa in the No. 33 Scuderia Ferrari of Washington Maserati Light GT with a best lap of 1:54.943 (102.416 mph), followed by Said in the No. 22 PTG BMW M3 at 1:55.028 (102.340 mph). In his and the car's season debut, Tom Milner clocked the fifth-best time of the day in the No. 16 PTG BMW M3 at 1:55.736 (101.714 mph).

BUNTING QUICKEST IN SGS

After seeing a streak of eight consecutive Super Grand Sport (SGS) podium finishes fall by the wayside in the Miami 250, Marc Bunting returned the No. 38 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup to the top of the class time sheet with a best lap at 1:59.973 (98.122 mph). Bunting--who shares the ride and the class points lead with Andy Lally--was also the only SGS driver to break the two-minute barrier in Friday's sessions.

"The car came out of the box really fast," Bunting said. "We made some adjustments that helped. Right now we are really focused on maintaining the lead and not taking any risks."

Bunting was more than three tenths of a second faster than TPC Racing teammate Randy Pobst, who posted a best lap of 2:00.288 (97.865 mph) in the No. 38 Porsche GT3 Cup. Third-quickest was Harrison Brix in the No. 04 Grease Monkey Racing Porsche GT3 Cup at 2:00.833 (97.424 mph), followed by Jack Baldwin in the No. 73 Baldwin-Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup at 2:00.932 (97.344 mph). Filling out the SGS top five was Cory Friedman in the No. 14 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup at 2:01.338 (97.018 mph).

-garra-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Milka Duno , Tony Stewart , Boris Said , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Bill Auberlen , Randy Pobst , Luis Diaz , Andy Lally , Jack Baldwin , Max Angelelli , Joao Barbosa , Spencer Pumpelly , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Marc Bunting , Chip Ganassi , Harrison Brix , Michael Shank
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Autometrics Motorsports , Michael Shank Racing