SunTrust Racing Quickest in Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend Practice for Eighth Time This Season FONTANA, Calif. (October 29, 2004) -- For the eighth time this season, the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley turned the fastest lap in a...
SunTrust Racing Quickest in Lexus Grand American Champions Weekend Practice for Eighth Time This Season
FONTANA, Calif. (October 29, 2004) -- For the eighth time this season, the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley turned the fastest lap in a Friday practice session after Max Angelelli posted a quickest lap of 1:30.976 (111.590 mph) in practice for Sunday's Rolex Sports Car Series Lexus Grand American 400 at California Speedway (SPEED Channel, October 31, Live, 4 p.m. ET). Angelelli shares the No. 10 with car owner and championship contender Wayne Taylor.
The duo has three wins this season and four straight podium finishes. Taylor trails No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Max Papis and Scott Pruett by only three points heading into this Sunday's final race of the season. The No. 10 team is the same margin in arrears of the No. 01 Lexus for the team championship.
"I am really pleased for the performance today," Angelelli said. "We had new tires this morning. We tried to have the race set-up this afternoon on used rubber. We have a very good car. We still have the car to win."
No. 02 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley driver Luis Diaz posted the second-quickest time of the day in the afternoon session with a time of 1:31.578 (110.856 mph). Diaz and co-driver Jimmy Morales are looking for their first win of the season. The two Mexican drivers have two podiums this season.
"We came and tested here at the beginning of the season," Diaz said. "It was very helpful because we know what we want from the car on this particular race track. It's half road course and half oval, and it's very tricky because you have to find something in between. I think that's making us competitive and I think all the team is putting a lot of effort in this championship. The main goal is to have a good car to help the guys to win the championship."
Papis was third in the No. 01 with a time of 1:31.723 (110.681 mph), which was also posted in the afternoon session. Pruett and Papis have three wins this season and 10 poles between them.
Chip Ganassi Racing IRL IndyCar Series drivers Darren Manning and Scott Dixon will be moonlighting in the team's No. 8 Lexus Riley this weekend. Manning posted the day's fourth-fastest time of the day with his lap of 1:32.200 (110.108 mph). Stephan Gregorie in the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Pontiac Crawford rounds out the top five with his time of 1:32.580 (109.657 mph).
PROTOTYPE TECHNOLOGY GROUP 1-2-3 IN OPENING PRACTICE
In GT practice, class points leader Bill Auberlen in the No. 21 Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 turned the fastest lap of the day with his morning time of 1:37.952 (103.643 mph). Auberlen has eight class wins this season and leads PTG teammate Boris Said by seven points heading into the final race of the season.
"Today went much better than I expected," Auberlen said. "The infield section of the track really suits the M3, and we are very strong coming onto the oval section. We can carry that speed down the straight, so don't lose much relative to our competition. 1-2-3 today means the entire team is focused on the championship. It's between Boris and me for the driver championship so either way it goes it is a win for BMW."
No. 16 PTG BMW driver Kelly Collins was second-quickest with his lap time of 1:38.551 (103.013), while Said's co-driver in the No. 22 PTG BMW machine Joey Hand posted the third quickest lap of 1:38.633 (102.927 mph).
Kevin Buckler was fourth quickest in the No. 67 The Racer's Group Porsche GT3 RS with a best lap of 1:39.762 (101.762 mph) in the afternoon session. Spencer Pumpelly filled out the top five in the No. 77 G&W Motorsports Porsche GT3 RS at 1:38.963 (102.584 mph).
STUTTGART PERFORMANCE QUICKEST IN SGS
In the team's first Rolex Series appearance, Hugh Plumb topped the Super Grand Sport (SGS) class time charts in the No. 63 Stuttgart Performance Porsche GT3 Cup. Plumb turned in a best lap of 1:42.317 (99.221 mph).
"We've really been working the last month and a half doing a lot of testing elsewhere, and feel like we've really gotten the car pretty hooked up," Plumb said. "I think we've still got a ways to go. I don't think the time reflects that, but we've still got, hopefully, some more to show. I can't say enough about how hard these guys have worked to put this together."
Second-quickest in SGS practice was Andy Lally in the No. 38 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup with his time of 1:42.560 (98.986 mph), followed by his teammate Randy Pobst in the No. 36 TPC machine with a time of 1:42.657 (98.892 mph).
Wayne Nonnamaker posted the fourth-quickest time of the day in the No. 41 Orison-Planet Earth Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup at 1:43.197 (98.375 mph), and Craig Stanton was fifth in the No. 86 G&W Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup with a time of 1:43.340 (98.239 mph).