Homestead II: Race report

Wallace and Duno Take Second Straight Win at Homestead-Miami MIAMI (September 19, 2004) -- In another thriller at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Andy Wallace motored his No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford past Max Angelelli in the...

Wallace and Duno Take Second Straight Win at Homestead-Miami

MIAMI (September 19, 2004) -- In another thriller at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Andy Wallace motored his No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford past Max Angelelli in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley as the pair crossed the start/finish line with five laps to go to take his and co-driver Milka Duno's second straight Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series win at the track in the Miami 250.

After taking over for his No. 2 co-driver Milka Duno--who was running well inside the top-10 during her stint --Wallace withstood air temperatures in the mid-90s and track temperatures nearing 110 degrees Fahrenheit for more than two hours of the two-hour-and-45 minute distance. He led twice for a total of 31 laps, but the last five laps he led were the ones that counted. He crossed the stripe 2.731 seconds ahead of Angelelli.

"I know that this is something that's said all the time, but it's really thanks to everyone's hard work that we can even be in a position to win a race," Wallace said. "The car was fast all weekend. Milka did a great job by staying out of trouble and not letting the car be damaged by others in any way. There were a lot of cars out there today with pieces missing. Every time today that I looked at one of the crew guys they were absolutely dripping with sweat. This win is for them."

In February's Grand Prix of Miami, Duno became the first woman to win a major North American sports car race. In the process, the Venezuelan developed a strong following among South Florida race fans and media, which was further bolstered by another victory today.

"I am very happy, it is so difficult to win a race especially in the Rolex Series, but to win both races this year in Homestead is incredible," Duno said. "I was holding my breath when Andy passed Max Angelelli. I cannot believe our second win at Homestead. This is the track that brings us the best luck."

The conditions took a toll on both Angelelli and co-driver Wayne Taylor. After his stint to open the race, Taylor required an I.V. to rehydrate himself. Immediately following the race, a dehydrated Angelelli was taken to the track's infield medical center for an I.V. as well, and was released shortly thereafter.

"I chose the inside line and Wallace overtook me," Angelelli said. "I had to choose one way and I chose the inside. The last lap I knew I was finished. I was so done, I almost lost second place. The thing that kept me going was thinking about the championships points. I really wanted to win the race, but when I couldn't, I thought I had to make it to the finish and get the points."

While running second to Angelelli in the closing laps, Scott Pruett spun the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley into the Turn 1 gravel trap and lost three laps to the leader. As a result, Pruett and co-driver Max Papis were relegated to a 10th place result and saw their Daytona Prototype points lead shrink to just eight points over Taylor and 11 over Wallace heading into the season's final three races. Papis and Pruett now have 265 points, followed by Taylor with 257 and Wallace with 254.

"It was very hot," Taylor said. "Both Max and I had big problems in the car. It would have been nice to have won, but we did make a little bit of gain on Papis and Pruett for the championship. It was probably one of the hardest races I can remember because of the heat."

Finishing fourth was the No. 02 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley driver pairing of Jimmy Morales and Luis Diaz. After falling one lap down due to a spin early on, Morales and Diaz battled back for their third top-four finish in their past five starts. The No. 6 Michael Shank Racing Lexus Doran duo of Oswaldo Negri Jr. and Burt Frisselle filled out the top five for their second straight top-five result. It was also the second consecutive top-five finish at Homestead-Miami Speedway for Negri and Frisselle, following a third-place result in the Grand Prix of Miami.

BUCKLER AND NASTASI WIN GT; BMW STREAK SNAPPED AT SEVEN

In GT action, No. 67 The Racer's Group Porsche GT3 RS owner/driver Kevin Buckler and Tom Nastasi earned their first class win of the season, finishing more than one minute ahead of their teammates, RJ Valentine, Chris Gleason and Ian James in the No. 66 TRG Porsche. For Buckler, the victory was his first since taking the overall victory in the Rolex 24 At Daytona in 2003.

"(A) 1-2 (finish) was great," Buckler said. "The whole team was proud. Everyone did a great job putting this car together. The car ran flawlessly, we drove well and everything clicked. It's great. I've finished on the podium every time I've been here. It's been a great track to me, so I like it here."

It was Nastasi's first Rolex Series start with The Racer's Group this year, and was also his first appearance in the Rolex Sports Car Series since he finished fourth in the Super Grand Sport (SGS) class with G&W Motorsports in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen in June.

"It feels great," Nastasi said. "I've come in second, third or fourth in this series every time I've raced. I've been waiting for this one, but I finally got it. This is great. I've been friends with Boris Said for a long time. I said I was going to beat him one day. It took 20 years, but I got it."

Also in its first appearance since the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen was the No. 11 JMB Racing Ferrari 360GT, which finished third with drivers Matt Plumb and Maurizio Mediani.

After winning the GT class in each of the last seven races, Prototype Technology Group BMW team had a rough day in the Miami 250. Said and Joey Hand brought the No. 22 PTG BMW M3 home fourth in the GT class after losing a few laps with a flat tire early in the race. The No. 21 PTG BMW of class points leader Bill Auberlen and co-driver Justin Marks retired with a mechanical failure, leaving Auberlen just one point ahead of Said in the points race.

LEVITAS AND POBST RETURN TO VICTORY LANE IN SGS

In an up-and-down season for the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup team, today was an "up" day for co-drivers Michael Levitas and Randy Pobst, as they earned their first SGS class win since the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant in May. Pobst and Levitas finished more than a lap ahead of the No. 04 Grease Monkey Racing Porsche GT3 Cup of drivers Harrison Brix and Gene Sigal.

"I've lived in Florida for 30 years, and I know when it's hot," Pobst said. That wasn't today. I was grateful when the clouds came over, though. Michael Levitas did an unbelievable job driving the first stint. I really owe it to (my) dad, Gene Pobst. I used to think he was a jinx, but now, every time he comes, we win. The No. 36 Team Turbo Performance Porsche is back. We needed this. We had some really good TV in some of the recent races. Unfortunately, that meant bad luck for our car."

It was the third class win of the season for Pobst and Levitas, who led the SGS point standings on the strength of top-two finishes in each of the first four races before finishing eighth or lower in three of their last four starts prior to today.

"This really shakes up the points, and I think it's going to be a fun championship," Levitas said. "The TPC team is back. Randy Pobst and I are coming on strong, and the entire crew did a fantastic job, every one of them. Without having Randy to help on the setup of the car, none of this would be possible."

John Littlechild and Spencer Pumpelly brought the No. 37 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup home in third for their second straight class podium following a win last month in the Sahlen's 200 at The Glen. A mechanical failure on the No. 38 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup ended SGS co-points leaders Marc Bunting and Andy Lally podium streak at eight consecutive races, but they still have a 16-point lead over Levitas heading into the final three races of the year.

-garra-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Wallace , Milka Duno , Boris Said , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Bill Auberlen , Randy Pobst , Luis Diaz , Ian James , Andy Lally , Max Angelelli , Tom Nastasi , Justin Marks , Burt Frisselle , Chris Gleason , Spencer Pumpelly , Michael Levitas , Jimmy Morales , John Littlechild , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Marc Bunting , Chip Ganassi , Matt Plumb , Maurizio Mediani , Gene Sigal , Michael Shank
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing