SunTrust Racing Team Claims Another Podium Finish in Watkins Glen Six Hours Watkins Glen, New York (June 3, 2006) -- Once again this year, the clouds appeared and the rain fell upon the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen race at Watkins Glen ...
SunTrust Racing Team Claims Another Podium Finish in Watkins Glen Six Hours
Watkins Glen, New York (June 3, 2006) -- Once again this year, the clouds appeared and the rain fell upon the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen race at Watkins Glen International for Round Eight of 14 in the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series today. It was the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team's third podium finish in four races and helped close the points gap further in the championship chase with their third-place finish.
SunTrust car owner/driver Wayne Taylor and Italian hotshoe Max "The Ax" Angelelli added young open wheel ace Ryan Briscoe to their stable this weekend. Briscoe previously joined the team at the Rolex 24 At Daytona but was not able to compete when the team had to withdraw after the fourth hour due to collision with a GT car.
Off and on rain today made the pit strategy difficult as teams had to balance calls between slick and rain tires, as well as judgments for potential cautions. Eight cautions for 39 laps and 20 lead changes added to the race drama. Both Angelelli and Briscoe led the race on different occasions; Briscoe for 10 laps and Angelelli for 26. Unfortunately it wasn't for the final lap, which is the only one that counts.
The SunTrust Racing team won two of the three races at Watkins Glen last year, but not the six hour race, which has been a goal for Taylor his entire U.S. racing career of over two decades.
"It was great today. I don't know what we have to do to win the six hour race though...I just don't know," said the 49-year-old Taylor. "We had a good result in the end with a podium finish. It was especially great with having Ryan drive with us this weekend. I think Ryan showed us who he is. He certainly is a star. To me, he is the most wasted talent out there without a full-time drive. He should be up front everywhere. And Max, as usual, did a great job. This team...what can I say about them? They always do a great job. We had a couple of issues in the pit stops that were just part of racing. The good thing though is we closed up the deficit in the team championship from 27 points to 21 and maintained third in the team standings. From that perspective, it was really good."
"It's a shame not winning this race three years in a row. We're closing the gap in the points, so I'm pretty happy though," said Angelelli. "My ultimate goal is the same as all year, I want to win this championship and I want to get closer to the leaders. Getting points is what we have to do and we've done it this race. I will keep trying to do it until the end of the championship. With the weather, it was very challenging for everybody, very difficult to make the right decisions and the proper calls. I think we handled it pretty well in terms of making the right tire choices. Also, we could take advantage of Ryan and his good driving and we're looking forward to having him drive with us again."
"It was a really good race," said the young Australian Briscoe. "Unfortunately we couldn't win it. I think we had the pace to win it, but just the way the things fell, it wasn't possible in the end. For my part, I think I ran a good race and was really happy. It was a great feeling to lead and I had a fantastic car that made it easy for me to bring it up front. It was such an important race for the SunTrust team, so it's unfortunate we didn't win it. Hopefully, we'll be back another day to do it."
"The six-hour race is typically like this weather-wise," said Bill Riley, who oversees the preparation and running of the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley. "To have the day we did, finish third and make gains on the championship is worthwhile and we'll take it. Wayne and Max did a great job and Ryan was exactly what we thought he was going to be at the Rolex 24. It was good to get him in the car and see how fast he could go."
The next race, Round Nine of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series, will be the EMCO Gears Classic, held at the scenic Mid-Ohio Sports Car Circuit on June 23-25.