Watkins Glen: SunTrust Racing qualifying report

SunTrust Racing: Third with Max Angelelli (1:41.488 at 120.605 mph) The No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing driving duo of Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle will start Saturday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Sahlen's Six...

SunTrust Racing: Third with Max Angelelli (1:41.488 at 120.605 mph)

The No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing driving duo of Max Angelelli and Brian Frisselle will start Saturday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen from the inside of the second row after qualifying Friday afternoon at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.

It was a rather unlikely qualifying result for the SunTrust team, which had seen limited track time this weekend after problems plagued its opening two practice sessions Thursday afternoon and this morning. But Angelelli pulled out a stellar effort during this afternoon's 15-minute qualifying session, turning by far his best lap of the weekend at 1 minute, 41.488 seconds (120.605 mph) around the 3.4-mile, 11-turn circuit that is the former home of the Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix.

Angelelli actually was finishing up a potentially faster lap that might have been enough to earn a front-row starting spot for Saturday's six-hour marathon. But heading through the final two turns of the circuit, he was blocked by the No. 99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley driven by Alex Gurney, who was thusly able to hold onto the No. 2 spot on the grid alongside polesitter Scott Pruett in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley.

"I felt like I just had to do it for the guys," said Angelelli, who a year ago this weekend turned in an even more unlikely pole qualifying effort for the SunTrust team after a devastating transporter fire destroyed its Dallara chassis and all of the team's tools and race weekend equipment. "There was no other option. I had to deliver. That's it. I had to do it. It was difficult because we had only a very limited number of laps in practice. Of course, I believed we could get a lap like we did. And even though this is one weekend where we could've gotten away with starting farther back on the grid, I just really wanted to do it for all of the guys because they have been through so much already this weekend, and they all work so hard all the time. Now, we have a 20-minute warm-up tomorrow morning to get things ready for the race. The race is going to be a long one. There is a lot we can do in that time. I'm not worried."

Today's qualifying result was the fifth top-three effort for the SunTrust team in six Sahlen's Six-Hour events, a run that includes three pole positions. It's also the ninth top-three qualifying effort in 12 overall races at The Glen since SunTrust joined the Rolex Series in 2004.

"This is simply great because we had such a tough start to the weekend," said team owner Wayne Taylor, who co-drove to a pair of victories at Watkins Glen with Angelelli in the SunTrust Racing machine en route to the 2005 series championship. "Brian got pushed off the road yesterday and damaged the car pretty severely. So Max, literally, had only about three laps yesterday. And this morning, we had a one-hour session, but we had (an oil) belt problem and we got it fixed with 20 minutes left to go in the session. But then there was a long black flag right when Max got out on track. So, he got maybe only another three laps in the car going into qualifying. With so little time on the track, I don't think we got the car as good as he'd have liked it, but he really delivered. This was really something. This was Max at his best."

-credit: str

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Alex Gurney , Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Max Angelelli , Chip Ganassi , Brian Frisselle , Bob Stallings , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Wayne Taylor Racing