Birmingham: SunTrust Racing Friday report

SunTrust Racing Leads Practice for Seventh Time in This Season at Porsche 250 Presented by Bradley Arant BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (October 8, 2004) - No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley driver Max Angelelli posted a best lap of 1:19.332 (104.372 mph)...

SunTrust Racing Leads Practice for Seventh Time in This Season at Porsche 250 Presented by Bradley Arant

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (October 8, 2004) - No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley driver Max Angelelli posted a best lap of 1:19.332 (104.372 mph) to lead the opening day of practice at Barber Motorsports Park for Sunday's Grand American Road Racing Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant (SPEED Channel, Live, 2 p.m. ET). This is the seventh time in 11 races that the No. 10 has been quickest in opening day practice.

Angelelli's hot lap was recorded in the morning session, though the Italian also posted the fastest time in the afternoon session. He and teammate Wayne Taylor won their third race of the season last weekend in the VIR 400 presented by SunTrust and look to make it two-in-a-row and a series leading fourth win of the year here at Barber.

"Basically, we are always the fastest on Fridays, and we've got three wins, which is okay, I'm happy about it," Angelelli said. "But sometimes you expect more out of this. As usual, the car is fine. We're just making a lot of progress into a proper race car, focusing a lot on the long distance instead of having a quick lap. The car looks okay; we're just hoping it's not going to rain, because that will affect us."

Mexican driver Luis Diaz was second-quickest with a lap time of 1:20.360 (103.036 mph) in the No. 02 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley. Diaz's fast lap also occurred in the morning session, and he and teammate and fellow Mexican Jimmy Morales hope to get their first win of the season on Sunday.

"It's been a good weekend for us so far," Diaz said. "We came to test here just one day. We know the track better now, and it's easier for us to be in the front from the beginning. I think that the team has given us a very good car from the start, so we have to fine-tune just the small things on the car and it should be very good for the race. It's going to be a very tough race again and we know that all of the races here (in the Rolex Series) are tough. I'm very pleased with the team effort, with the engineers and with my teammate. It's going to be a very difficult race."

No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley driver Max Papis posted the third fastest lap time of 1:20.474 (102.890 mph) in the morning session. Papis and co-driver Scott Pruett finished second in last weekend's race at VIR and currently lead the Daytona Prototype driver point standings by five points over Taylor. Fourth-quickest on the day was Butch Leitzinger in the No. 4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford at 1:20.559 (102.782 mph), followed by his teammate Andy Wallace in the No. 2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford at 1:21.142 (102.043 mph).

Eleven cars turned laps at speeds quicker than the track record set last year by David Donohue in the No. 58 Red Bull Brumos Racing Porsche (1:24.313, 98.205 mph). Track records can only be set in qualifying or race sessions, and there appears to be a good chance that the track record will fall in Saturday's qualifying session.

PTG OFF TO GOOD START IN OPENING DAY PRACTICE

Joey Hand in the No. 22 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 posted the quickest practice time in the GT class with a lap time of 1:26.854 (95.332 mph) in the morning practice session. The rookie scored his first career Rolex Series class win at Watkins Glen in August with teammate Boris Said, and has three class podiums in his last five starts.

"I love this track," Hand said. "Right off the bat when you drive into this place, you can tell it's a top rate facility. As far as the race track itself goes, I really like it because it's like a big go-kart track. I'm really a fan of chicanes and some moving, fast, hit the curb-type corners and there's a lot of stuff like that here. It's really busy, not really long straightaways, and it really works good for the (BMW) M3. There's a lot of tight stuff, up and down, I think it's probably one of my favorite race tracks I've been to, maybe my favorite. I'm excited.

"I came out fast, none of our team had been here before and probably not a lot of guys have been here before, and I just took to it right away. I think that Boris and I are going to have a good shot at this one this week. If we can keep all the gremlins away, I think we can win this thing."

Despite contact with the Turn 1 tire barrier in this morning's opening practice session, GT points leader Bill Auberlen turned in the second quickest time of the day this afternoon at 1:27.276 (94.871 mph) in the No. 21 PTG BMW M3. The No. 77 G&W Motorsports Porsche of Spencer Pumpelly was third quickest with a lap time of 1:27.470 (94.661 mph), followed by Joao Barbosa in the No. 33 Scuderia Ferrari of Washington Maserati Light GT at 1:27.869 (94.231 mph) and Kelly Collins, who clocked a best lap of 1:28.042 (94.046 mph) in the No. 16 PTG BMW M3.

TPC RACING 1-2-3 IN SGS PRACTICE

The three TPC Racing Porsche's posted the three fastest practice times in SGS with their performances in the morning session. Andy Lally in the No. 38 machine logged a lap time of 1:32.123 (89.880 mph) to lead the session, while TPC Racing owner/driver Michael Levitas went around the 2.3-mile, 16 turn track in 1:32.808 minutes (89.216 mph) driving the No. 36 Porsche GT3 Cup. Jean-Francois Dumoulin in the No. 37 TPC Racing Porsche was third with a time of 1:32.854 (89.172 mph).

"The season's really been progressing just the way the driving today has been," Levitas said. "The TPC 36, 37 and 38 have really been on the pace. We're 1, 2 and 3 in the driver championship, and we seem to be 1,2 and 3 in the practice sessions as well. We're looking forward to just having a good clean race and keeping cars on the pace. I'd like to thank our sponsors, Ajilon Consulting and TPC Superchargers for just a great season and putting together an excellent package for the TPC Racing team."

Jack Baldwin clocked the fourth-quickest SGS time of the day at 1:33.163 (88.876 mph) in the No. 73 Baldwin-Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup and Gene Sigal rounded out the class top five in the No. 04 Grease Monkey Racing Porsche GT3 Cup at 1:33.976 (88.108 mph).

QUICK TAKES

Scott Goodyear will join Hurley Haywood and JC France in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar. Goodyear is a former Rolex Series and Indy Car race winner, and the Canadian turned his first practice laps of the weekend in the No. 59 this afternoon... Following its involvement in a multi-car accident during last weekend's VIR 400 presented by SunTrust, the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus Riley went straight to chassis builder Kevin Doran's shop near Cincinnati, who repaired the car for the Porsche 250. The car was on the track yesterday for testing and participated throughout today's practice. The other Daytona Prototype involved, the No. 81 Rx.com G&W Motorsports BMW Doran, is expected to be at Barber Motorsports Park tomorrow... In Grand-Am Cup Series action, Terry Borcheller in the No. 11 Cadillac posted the quickest lap of the day with a time of 1:37.565 (84.866 mph). Team Lexus driver Andy Lally in the No. 3 Lexus IS300 clocked the fastest ST time of 1:40.730 (82.200 mph).

-garra-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Wallace , Butch Leitzinger , Boris Said , Scott Goodyear , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Bill Auberlen , Joey Hand , Kelly Collins , Luis Diaz , Andy Lally , Jack Baldwin , Terry Borcheller , Hurley Haywood , David Donohue , JC France , Max Angelelli , Joao Barbosa , Spencer Pumpelly , Jean-Francois Dumoulin , Michael Levitas , Jimmy Morales , Chip Ganassi , Kevin Doran , Michael Shank
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing