Daytona Test: Citgo Racing summary

CITGO Racing Completes Pre-Season Testing For Rolex 24 Two CITGO Teams Spend Three Days at Daytona International Speedway January 14, 2005 - CITGO Racing and Howard Motorsports completed their pre-season testing for the Rolex 24 at Daytona with...

CITGO Racing Completes Pre-Season Testing For Rolex 24
Two CITGO Teams Spend Three Days at Daytona International Speedway

January 14, 2005 - CITGO Racing and Howard Motorsports completed their pre-season testing for the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a three-day test at the Daytona International Speedway. The #20 CITGO Pontiac Crawford and the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford took full advantage of the eight sessions of testing.

A total of six different drivers turned laps in the two Howard Motorsports CITGO sponsored Pontiac Crawfords during the three days. Andy Wallace and Jan Lammers shared driving duties in the #20 CITGO Pontiac Crawford, while Milka Duno, Dan Wheldon, and brothers Dario and Marino Franchitti piloted the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford.

"We really have a solid effort in place for this race -- and the test sessions gave us a valuable opportunity to coalesce," said Duno. "It's my first opportunity to race with the Franchitti brothers and Dan Wheldon and I'm really looking forward to it. These three guys are really good drivers and it was a pleasure to test with them. My teammates Andy Wallace and Jan Lammers had a really good test as well and I'm sure that when Tony Stewart joins them and completes the driver package in the #20 car they will present a very formidable challenge."

The best time during the test in the Howard Motorsports camp was turned in by Andy Wallace in the #20 CITGO Pontiac Crawford. His lap of 1 minute 47.263 seconds on Saturday afternoon was the third fastest overall of the 58 cars participating in the test.

"I'm extremely happy," Wallace commented after the test. "We've done a lot of testing since we raced here at Daytona (July '04) and we had lots of things to try. But, we got through every single thing we wanted to try. Now, we'll go back and analyze the data and come up with a perfect setup. Speed wise, we seem to have it. I'm really happy with our test."

The #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford turned in the eighth fastest lap of the overall test with a 1 minute 48.498 seconds by Indy Racing League competitor Dario Franchitti on Saturday evening. Franchitti will be competing his first-ever Rolex 24 at Daytona on February 5th.

"The car was really good," Franchitti stated. "The team has really worked hard and I have really enjoyed testing with Dan (Wheldon), Milka (Duno), and, of course my brother Marino (Franchitti). I'm really looking forward to the race."

The Rolex 24 at Daytona this year will have a star-studded field of competitors from various forms of motorsports. The driver roster for Howard Motorsports will be no exception. Along with Rolex Series regulars Duno, Wallace and Lammers, NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart will be back for the Rolex 24. Stewart, who was unable to participate in the test sessions, will be competing in his third Rolex 24.

New to the Howard Motorsports driver lineup for the Rolex this year are IRL stars Dario Franchitti and Dan Wheldon, teammates at Andretti-Green Racing, and Marino Franchitti. It will be the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for each of these talented competitors.

"It was a great test," Wheldon stated. "This is a fantastic team to be a part of. We're getting pretty competitive too. For me, I was getting quicker and quicker every time I got in the car. It's completely different from what I'm used to. It's the first time that I've been in this type car with a roof over my head, so it takes a little time to get the hang of it. I certainly had a great time and want to thank everyone for making me feel welcome and making the transition easier than it would have been with anyone else. I can't wait to come back for the race."

"We have a very good car," Duno added. "We continue working and the team is doing a very good job. The car is improving and improving. We need just a little more adjustment, but we're very happy with the test."

Veteran sports car racer and former Rolex 24 winner Lammers added his thoughts on the test session. "I'm pretty pleased actually. I think we've run a very good package on the car and Mr. (Andy) Wallace did an excellent job in creating a nice setup. It was a good time to get a feel for some things, and I think everything is connecting well. We had a lot of things to get out of our system yesterday, so it wasn't so good time wise. That all paid back today (Sunday). We only had one set of tires this afternoon when some of the others had new tires near the end of the session or we would have been right up there. I'm still very pleased."

When asked about his thoughts on the race itself, Lammers said, "There's a lot of data to study between now and then. Come the race, we enter the '(Tony) Stewart factor' and hopefully, if they (Wallace and Stewart) get the luck they deserve, I'll be a lucky man just to hitch a ride with them."

Now, it's back to the Denver, North Carolina shop of Howard Motorsports for final preparations for the season-opening race on the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series schedule. The 2005 Rolex 24 at Daytona will start at noon on Saturday, February 5th and end at noon, Sunday, February 6th.

CITGO, based in Houston, Texas, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, refined waxes, asphalt and other industrial products. The company is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information on CITGO visit www.citgo.com.

Milka is currently featured in Pontiac's largest ever Spanish language advertising campaign launching an all-new sports sedan -- the Pontiac G6. Pontiac is a division of General Motors Corporation (NYSE: GM) and markets the Bonneville, GTO, Grand Prix, Grand Am, G6, Vibe and Sunfire. In 2003, Pontiac sold more than 475,000 vehicles, ranking third among GM divisions in total sales. 2004/2005 will see Pontiac launch an exciting new range of vehicles including the Montana SV6, G6 coupe, G6 convertible and the Solstice roadster. More information on Pontiac and its products can be found at www.pontiac.com. Information in Spanish can be found at www.pontiac.com/sp.

For additional information on Milka Duno and Andy Wallace please visit www.milkaduno.com or www.andywallace.com, respectively. For more information on the Rolex Sports Car Series log on to www.grandamerican.com.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Wallace , Milka Duno , Jan Lammers , Tony Stewart , Dario Franchitti , Dan Wheldon , Marino Franchitti