Pontiac Grand-Am Teams In Battle For Championship With Two To Go SunTrust And GAINSCO Top Pontiac Contenders Pontiac Daytona Prototype (DP) teams SunTrust Racing and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing are the top two Pontiac contenders for the 2007 ...
Pontiac Grand-Am Teams In Battle For Championship With Two To Go SunTrust And GAINSCO Top Pontiac Contenders
Pontiac Daytona Prototype (DP) teams SunTrust Racing and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing are the top two Pontiac contenders for the 2007 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve championship.
Both teams had rough outings at the series' first event, the Rolex 24 Hour at Daytona. SunTrust fell back early due to electrical problems, but rallied back to finish third. GAINSCO had early contact in the race finishing a disappointing 22nd place.
Wayne Taylor's SunTrust team has Max Angelelli tied for the drivers points lead with 354 points, with just two races remaining at Infineon Raceway and the season ender seven-hour at Miller Motorsport Park, September 7. Despite having five different co-drivers for Angelelli, Taylor and his eight-month old team have been able to keep their lead driver in the hunt for the championship.
"I never really thought having different co-drivers would be a problem," Taylor said. "The guys we have had in the car are all professionals and did the job when they were behind the wheel. It hasn't affected us adversely at all. Our team is just eight-months old. Like the drivers we have used throughout the season, we have also recruited the right engineers and support crew to do the job. We have been able to run consistently without any major mechanical or strategical errors all season. Consistently finishing in the top five and competing for wins has brought us up to a tie for the points lead."
Co-drivers with Angelelli include a who's who of racing. NASCAR's Jeff Gordon at the 24 Hour and noted road racers Jan Magnussen, Jonathan Cochet and Memo Gidley.
"Wayne has done a really good job to assemble this team and manage the drivers this year," Angelelli said. "We are tied for the points lead which is just great with two races to go. We have to go for wins, because the No. 99 has to win every race to be champions. We really have no breathing room. They have something special in their car and they have really performed this year winning a lot of races. We have to continue to run consistently and have no errors on the track or in the pits."
For the Texas based GAINSCO team, following their disappointing Rolex 24 Hour outing, they have had to set records to come back into contention. Drivers Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney broke the single season pole record with eight in a row, nine on the season, this last weekend at Watkins Glen. They have also tied the all time Grand-Am single season win record with six. The duo trail the points leaders by just four, with 350, heading into the penultimate race in two weeks.
"We have had a really good year so far," Fogarty said. "With the six wins and all of the poles the team has really come together. We had a tough 24 Hour, but we have been able to battle back. Our engineer Kyle Brannan has really found the sweet-spot in the car's handling and that has made the difference. The Pontiac power has had us starting on the front row for every race. We just need to win two more."
"The car has been really easy to drive," Gurney said. "Bob Stallings has done a great job to build a team. The team has engineered a car that makes Jon and I really look good. The last two races will be tough, we have two good teams in front of us, but the way we have been going I am looking forward to keeping the pressure on for two more weekends."
"We're happy with our position in the championship,' Stallings said. "We just need to keep doing what we've been doing - stay out of trouble, nail the setup, don't make mistakes and get great drives from Alex and Jon. The team has done a great job all season. We had a little hiccup at Montreal with a pit stop and a jammed air-gun, but that happens. I was proud the way the team overcame it and Alex was able to get us back up to the podium. That is the kind of resolve we need to finish out this season on top."
"We have had a very good season the Grand-Am Daytona Prototype category," Steve Wesoloski, GM Racing road racing manager said. "Wayne Taylor and his team have had a good season and have Max in a good position for the championship. Bob Stallings has assembled the right group of professionals and that team has been on an incredible roll, almost making it look easy. The Pontiac motor has a perfect 12 for 12 pole qualifying record and has amassed 10 wins, including two in the GT series, and we have already locked up the manufacturers championship in DP."
Round 13 of the Grand-Am Rolex Series for the DP cars will be held at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California on August 25. The next round for the GT cars will be at Miller Motorsport Park in Utah on Sept. 15.
-credit: gm racing