Daytona II: Pontiac race report

Pontiac Sweeps Podium At Daytona Once Again 250-Mile Race Won By Howard-Boss Motorsports Drivers Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Butch Leitzinger; New Pontiac GTO.R Makes Strong Debut DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Pontiac had another spectacular 1-2-3...

Pontiac Sweeps Podium At Daytona Once Again
250-Mile Race Won By Howard-Boss Motorsports Drivers Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Butch Leitzinger; New Pontiac GTO.R Makes Strong Debut

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Pontiac had another spectacular 1-2-3 finish at Daytona International Speedway tonight with its Daytona Prototypes, the second podium sweep at the track this year in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series. In February, Pontiac finished 1-2-3 in the 24 Hours At Daytona, the world-famous endurance race where the reliability of Pontiac's production-based V-8 engines prevailed.

"The car was just perfect tonight; Elliott had a perfect first stint," said Butch Leitzinger, who co-drove the #4 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford to a win with teammate Elliott Forbes-Robinson. "I got in after him after the restart in the 44th lap, and we took off and left everyone. We got faster and faster as the stint wore on, and the race was ours. Our team did such a good job and the car drove so well."

Second place was claimed by the successful #10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley duo of Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor and in third with a second podium finish in a row was the #66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley driven by Jorg Bergmeister and Max Papis. Bergmeister and Papis started and finished third and the SunTrust team had today's pole position. Four out of the five top finishers here were Pontiacs; the #2 CITGO-Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford of Jan Lammers and Milka Duno finished fifth.

The win in tonight's Brumos Porsche 250 boosts Pontiac's lead over Lexus in the battle for the manufacturers championship and puts Taylor and Angelelli back in the lead ahead of Lexus rivals Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz.

Pontiac's two new production-based GTO.R race cars both had strokes of unfortunate luck which could not be blamed on the machines or team. The #64 TRG car, co-driven by Jan Magnussen and Paul Edwards, withdrew from the race just prior to its start. The #65 car, shared by Andy Lally and Marc Bunting, was pushed into the wall and disabled by the #01 Lexus with only 50 miles to go in the race.

"The #64 Pontiac GTO.R performed well in practice and qualifying with a seventh-best time in the GT class qualifying session," said Mark Kent, director of GM Racing. "However, during pre-race inspection our crew discovered a fault with one of the racing-specific parts on the car. Due to the infancy of this program, a spare part was unavailable to us here and we had insufficient time to obtain one. For the safety of our team and our competitors we chose not to run the car. We'll be back for the next event-Jan and Paul are itching to race this car."

The other GTO.R, which Bunting qualified 11th, was running strong in fifth place in the field of GT cars when Scott Pruett nudged Andy Lally hard into the wall. The impact was hard enough to snap the right-front suspension but Lally managed to limp it back to the pits and emerged from the car unscathed. The Lexus of Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz was assessed a stop-and-go penalty for the contact.

"I was going down the back straight and slowing down for the turn," said Lally. "Pruett moved over into my lane probably thinking it was clear and just threw me right into the wall. It slammed me into the wall so hard-it's a total testament to the safety of the car and the development that GM Racing and Pontiac have put into it in making it fast and reliable. I walked away without a scratch; I was waiting for the pain when it hit and thankfully it never came."

Both GTO.Rs will return to action with their victorious DP counterparts on July 31 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. The race will air on SPEED TV that day at 1:00 p.m. EDT.

-gm racing-

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Milka Duno , Jan Lammers , Paul Edwards , Jan Magnussen , Butch Leitzinger , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Elliott Forbes-Robinson , Luis Diaz , Andy Lally , Max Angelelli , Marc Bunting
Teams Krohn Racing