SunTrust Racing Victorious at VIR Grand American Race
Alton, Virginia (October 3, 2004) - The SunTrust Racing team took its third victory of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series 2004 season Sunday at Virginia International Raceway in the "VIR 400 presented by SunTrust" race. They beat out the series points leading No. 01 CompUSA team of Max Papis and Scott Pruett in the closest finish in Grand American's five-year history by 0.870 seconds. The SunTrust team narrowed the team standings to only five points from the top spot, with the No. 01 CompUSA team barely holding the lead. The No. 2 Citco Pontiac of Andy Wallace and Milka Duno took third place and now has a point gap of eight points down from the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley Mk.11 team and 13 points out of the top position.
"This was the best race so far this year," said Max Angelelli, who brought the SunTrust car across the finish line after 77 laps and two hours and 42:38.497 minutes. "The way we won was very clever. We were slow when we needed to be slow and conserve and fast when necessary. I wanted to be in front on the last lap so I was conservative with my times, just holding on to the lead. The margin did not matter, as long as I was in front at the end."
"In the race, we had a car that was pretty easy to drive. I was hoping at the end that Andy (Wallace) was going to pass the No. 01 car to help us with the point battle. My teammate, Max, had an outstanding drive. SunTrust was the presenting sponsor of the race today and our win made it even better for them. It is always great having a sponsor so involved with a race program; one that comes out to the tracks, supports the team and gets involved. Having them as a true partner in the race program and involved all the time makes the difference."
Team owner and manager Bill Riley was happy with the team results. "It was a good race," said Riley. "To win the championship, we are going to have to win the last three races. This is a good start towards that goal. It is always great to come to a new track and run well. VIR is a fabulous facility."
Wayne Taylor started the race from the second position on the grid and battled with polesitter Papis and Oswaldo Negri in the No.6 Lexus Doran in the early stages. Taylor pitted under caution on Lap 18, while in second position for tires and fuel. He then took the race lead on Lap 27 and held it until he pitted for a driver change on Lap 42. Angelelli climbed his way back up to second place by Lap 48, took the lead on Lap 53 and never relinquished it again.
The No. 10 SunTrust Racing team now ties the No. 01 CompUSA team with three wins this season. It will continue to be a battle to the finish for the championship as the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series competitors move to Barber Motorsports Park next weekend for the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant, October 8-10.