SunTrust Title Chase Gets Derailed at Daytona Pole-Winner Taylor Spun Off Track from Behind in the Early Going, Angelelli Can Salvage Only a Ninth-Place Finish in Brumos Porsche 250 The defending race-winners had little chance to defend their ...
SunTrust Title Chase Gets Derailed at Daytona
Pole-Winner Taylor Spun Off Track from Behind in the Early Going, Angelelli Can Salvage Only a Ninth-Place Finish in Brumos Porsche 250
The defending race-winners had little chance to defend their title in Saturday's Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway as pole-winner Ricky Taylor got spun off the track from behind in the early going and veteran Max Angelelli could salvage only a ninth-place finish in the No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara of Wayne Taylor Racing.
Taylor, the Apopka, Fla., resident and 20-year-old mechanical engineering major at the University of Central Florida in Orlando who scored his second career pole on Friday, pulled away from the field at the drop of the green flag for today's 2-hour, 30-minute race around the 3.56-mile, 11-turn superspeedway road circuit. He comfortably held off the rest of the field for the first 13 laps before the day's first caution appeared 22 minutes into the race.
He gave up the lead when he pitted for fuel only on lap 14 and rejoined the race behind Brian Frisselle in the No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Dallara, which was the only car that did not stop. Shortly after the restart on lap 17, Taylor was spun from behind in the infield portion of the road course by Jon Fogarty in the No. 99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet Riley and had to limp the SunTrust car back to the pits for repairs to the right-rear.
The repairs took three laps to complete, dropping the SunTrust car to 13th place with Angelelli taking over for Taylor and rejoining the race at the 40-minute mark.
"The SunTrust car was really, really strong, as it has been all year," said Taylor, who since joining the team as Angelelli's full-time co-driver has scored his first and second career pole positions (the other coming at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.), his first career podium finish (at Virginia International Raceway in Alton), and his first victory (at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville Conn.). "All I wanted to do was to get off to a clean start, which we did. I wanted to stay up front, which we did. And I wanted to hand it over to Max in a good position, but I never got the chance. The car was so good, it's really frustrating what happened with Fogarty because we had such a good car. We were racing each other pretty clean before the pit stop. It was the kind of racing that makes GRAND-AM so exciting. I restarted behind the (No.) 6 car and tried to play it safe at the time. We were going through the infield and Fogarty wanted to race me for the spot. I held the inside line and let him have the outside if he wanted to try and race me there. He went outside, but then made a crossover move and just got into my right rear. That was it. I could tell something was damaged enough back there that I couldn't drive it too hard back to the pits. It's just a shame."
Fogarty, the defending series champion along with co-driver Alex Gurney, was assessed a stop-and-go penalty for the incident, GRAND-AM officials deeming the contact avoidable. The No. 99 went on to finish seventh while Angelelli put on a driving exhibition of his own by making up four spots before race's end. And early in his 1-hour, 50-minute stint, Angelelli drove past the race-leading No. 6 car to get one of his three laps back. He finished two laps down.
"The guys did everything, we tried everything, you could see I gave it everything I had," said Angelelli, who drove the SunTrust car to victory here in last July's Brumos Porsche 250 with Frisselle. "I overtook leaders without touching them, trying to be respectful. I tried to get my laps back without destroying the race of others. I did exactly the opposite of what the 99 was doing out there. It seems like every time he overtakes people, he makes contact with them or pushes them off. How many times have we seen that? I think it's unacceptable. We now have a huge deficit again in the championship."
Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas scored their sixth victory in the season's opening eight races in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley to widen their lead in the championship to 25 points over the second-place SunTrust team. The lead was only 12 points at the start of the day, thanks to a 25-point penalty levied against the Ganassi team for rules violations earlier in the week. The SunTrust team is two points ahead of the third-place No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley of Oswaldo Negri and John Pew, which finished third today, behind the runner-up No. 8 Starworks Motorsports BMW Riley of Ryan Dalziel and Mike Forest. Four races remain this season.
"I feel bad for everybody from SunTrust who came out and supported us today," said team owner Wayne Taylor. "I feel especially bad for Ricky because he was running up front. The most disappointing part is, it's not often you have a car that's really good for the race, and when you don't win when your car's strong, it's especially hard. Again, hats off to the team. The guys did a great job. Ricky got the pole. Max drove like Max at the end. He went by everybody. We were the fastest car on the track, but it doesn't count at the end of the day, really. Congratulations again to Chip Ganassi and Tim Keene (Ganassi team manager) and Scott Pruett. You know, we just have to work harder, I guess. That's all there is to it."
Next up for the Rolex Series competitors is the NJMP 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville on Sunday, July 18.
-source: suntrust racing