Pontiac Captures Third Consecutive Podium Finish Pontiac-powered cars finish 2-3-4-5 in Ferrari Maserati 400 FONTANA, Calif. - In the closest finish in Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series history, the ...
Pontiac Captures Third Consecutive Podium Finish
Pontiac-powered cars finish 2-3-4-5 in Ferrari Maserati 400
FONTANA, Calif. - In the closest finish in Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series history, the #10 Pontiac SunTrust Riley finished second behind the #01 CompUSA Lexus Riley. Co-driver Max Angelelli drove the second stint of the 86 lap race and finished a scant .096 seconds behind Scott Pruett. Behind Angelelli was the #6 Michael Shank Racing Pontiac Riley, and the fourth and fifth spots were taken by the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford and #67 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley, respectively.
"What can I say? One more lap, I probably overtake him," said Max Angelelli. "What we had this weekend, we were really struggling during practice and qualifying. The race was really difficult for me; I needed a lot of laps to catch up to the leader since I started from the 11th place. But anyway, this is good for the championship; we are still on top."
Today's race proved to be nothing like last year's, where there was only one yellow caution the entire event. This afternoon's 400 kilometer race was filled with cautions arising from accidents that hindered Pontiac teams such as Krohn Racing/TRG. Although they managed to score a fifth place finish with their #67 Pontiac Riley, their #66 Pontiac Riley was the overall leader for the first 45 minutes of the race with Jorg Bergmeister behind the wheel and was set back after damage suffered through contact with the #77 Lexus.
"There are many more cars on the grid this year compared to last year," said Jim Lutz, GM Racing program manager for Daytona Prototypes. "The probability for car-to-car contact has increased with those numbers, and some of the drivers are new to California Speedway as well. Despite the delays our teams suffered we're still doing well; we had a good finishl today and we're still leading in the standings."
Other Pontiac-powered cars that ran well in practice and qualifying but were set back by accidents were the #39 Spirit of Daytona Pontiac Crawford and the #20 CITGO Pontiac Crawford. Both cars were repaired and the Spirit of Daytona team finished the race but the #20 Pontiac Riley stalled after a spin towards the end of the event and was towed back to the garages. The #39 Orbit Racing Pontiac Riley withdrew late in the race due to mechanical problems.
The #6 Michael Shank Racing Pontiac Riley drivers were on the podium for the first time this season, and co-driver Mike Borkowski happily attributed the third place finish to a mixture of team dedication, preparation and constant improvement since February's 24 Hours of Daytona.
"We were pretty optimistic yesterday, but we didn't start off quite so good as we did at Homestead," said Borkowski. " We made huge strides as a team, and we really ended up with a good car. We were probably a step off of where we would be fighting for the win, but we were close. Our last pit stop was earlier than most teams so for the last few laps my tires were shot, but we did pretty well and I have to thank my team for that."
The next race of the series is the U.S. Sports Car Invitational and will be held at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, on Sunday, May 1.