VIR: SunTrust Racing qualifying report

ALTON, Va. (October 8, 2005) -- Due to the persistent rain that has plagued Virginia International Raceway all weekend, Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series VIR 400 (Sunday, October 9, 1:00 p.m. ET, LIVE on SPEED Channel) qualifying was...

ALTON, Va. (October 8, 2005) -- Due to the persistent rain that has plagued Virginia International Raceway all weekend, Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series VIR 400 (Sunday, October 9, 1:00 p.m. ET, LIVE on SPEED Channel) qualifying was cancelled today and championship co-leader Wayne Taylor will start from the pole position in the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley after the race lineup was determined by team point standings.

With a 39-point lead over No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Lexus Riley co-drivers Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz, Taylor and teammate Max Angelelli can clinch the 2005 Rolex Series team championship with a victory this weekend. Taylor will be starting on the pole for the second time this season, also qualifying first in the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway in June.

"The goal for this race will be the same for every other racing," Taylor said. "It doesn't change if we're on the pole or we aren't, we want to be ahead of the No. 01 car. These races go down to the last 20 minutes, so the priority is to bring the car in a good position and give Max a good car so we can do what we have to do at the end."

In the Crown Royal 250 at The Glen two weeks ago, Taylor and Angelelli became the winningest Daytona Prototype drivers in Rolex Series history with their eighth career victories, moving ahead of 2003 champion Terry Borcheller. The two have claimed five overall victories this season, including a triumph at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in February. They have not finished lower than sixth in 12 starts this year.

Diaz will start the No. 01 Lexus on the outside of Row 1, looking to use the 3.27-mile,17-turn circuit to close the gap on the SunTrust duo with just two of 14 races remaining on the 2005 schedule. He and Pruett have won two races this season, in Round 3 at California Speedway and the following race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

"I'm not sure if we would have been able to get the car on the front row or not if the session was dry, but we'll take what we're given," Diaz said. "We were able to get a better feel for the car and make some more changes, so hopefully we can apply what we learned today to tomorrow's race."

Elliott Forbes-Robinson will start the two-hour and 45-minute or 77-lap race third in the No. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford. Forbes-Robinson and teammate Butch Leitzinger are the only drivers besides Diaz and Pruett in title contention with the No. 10 SunTrust duo. Jorg Bergmeister will be fourth on the starting grid in the No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley.

Michael McDowell rounds out the top five, starting the No. 19 Finlay Motorsports BMW Riley on the inside of Row 3. The rookie comes to VIR after serving a one-race suspension two weeks ago at Watkins Glen for a series of on-track incidents this season.

BUNTING TO LEAD GT FIELD INTO VIR 400

With both Rolex Series qualifying sessions cancelled, the GT field will also be aligned in the VIR 400 according to team points. No. 65 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac GTO.R co-driver Marc Bunting takes the pole position, and looks to build off momentum from a class victory last time out to overtake first place in the driver championship standings with teammate Andy Lally.

The duo, who debuted their Pontiac GTO.R at Daytona International Speedway in July, claimed their second victory of the season -- and first in the new car -- in the Crown Royal 250 at The Glen two weeks ago. They also bested the GT field at Homestead-Miami Speedway in Round 2, in a Porsche GT3 Cup.

"We tested here three weeks ago and it was dry and sunny, about 85-degrees," Bunting said. "The weather is supposed to clear up for tomorrow so we can put the setup on the car that we tested with. If it is wet or changing conditions we are ready for that as well. If it rains, starting from the pole will definitely be an advantage."

The victory at Watkins Glen moved Bunting and Lally within five points of Craig Stanton in the GT driver points standings with two races remaining. Stanton will start the No. 80 Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup on the outside of the first row, looking for his first victory of the season. Stanton and teammate David Murry -- racing together all but once this season -- are still looking for their first class victory of the year.

Since the No. 16 BMW Team PTG M3 failed to turn in its driver nomination form on time, Andrew Davis will start third in the No. 73 Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup. Cory Freidman will be fourth in the No. 14 Keen Cap/Toptul Porsche GT3 Cup and Wayne Nonnamaker will be fifth in the No. 43 Team Sahlen Porsche GT3 Cup.

In addition to the No. 16 machine, four other cars failed to turn in their driver nomination forms on time, including the Nos. 17, 21 and 22 BMW Team PTG M3s in the GT class and the No. 99 Gainsco/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley in the Daytona Prototype class. Each of these cars will start at the back of their respective fields.

-str-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Butch Leitzinger , Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , David Murry , Elliott Forbes-Robinson , Luis Diaz , Wayne Nonnamaker , Andy Lally , Jörg Bergmeister , Michael McDowell , Max Angelelli , Andrew Davis , Craig Stanton , Marc Bunting , Chip Ganassi
Teams Krohn Racing , Team Sahlen