SunTrust Racing Narrows the Points Gap After Second Place Finish in Miami Homestead, Floirda (September 19, 2004) - The SunTrust Racing team of Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli battled hard and fought extreme heat conditions to collect their...
SunTrust Racing Narrows the Points Gap After Second Place Finish in Miami
Homestead, Floirda (September 19, 2004) - The SunTrust Racing team of Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli battled hard and fought extreme heat conditions to collect their second runner-up position in a row on Sunday at Homestead/Miami Speedway in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series' Miami 250 race.
The No. 10 black-and-yellow SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley Mk.11 started from the second position on the grid and led the race for 18 of the 104 laps. Taylor started the race under sunny skies, an ambient temperature of 95 degrees and a track temperature of 108 degrees, as reported by the Goodyear tire engineers.
Heat conditions were a factor as cockpit temperatures were estimated at 105 degrees, affecting many drivers whom were overcome with heat exhaustion or near exhaustion, including both SunTrust pilots. Taylor exited the car on lap 41, under the second caution, and asked to be taken to the track medical care facility to be reydrated with an IV.
"It was just incredibly hot and really and truly when you get as hot as that, you're not performing...the car is outperforming you," said car owner/driver Wayne Taylor. "It is also dangerous to come in under the green because we could have gotten a lap down. Then when the caution came out and we refueled and put on new tires, I said I don't think I'll do a full stint and the team said wait until another caution. I was really battling and then at the last second, luckily, we got a caution at the same lap I was going to come in, so we were okay."
Angelelli took over the driving duties from Taylor and climbed up to the top position with a stellar drive and two subsequent pit stops to help. He took the lead on Lap 81, two hours and twelve minutes into the race and kept it for 18 laps before relinquishing it to Andy Wallace on lap 100.
"I chose the inside line and I had to lift and Wallace overtook me," explained Angelelli about the pass. "I had to choose one way and I chose the inside."
Wallace and female co-driver Milka Duno went on to take the victory, their second for the season and second in Miami, in their No. 2 Citgo Pontiac.
Angelelli brought the SunTrust car home to the finish in second place and was so exhausted, he could only get himself out of the car and sit on the ground on pit lane. He, too, went to the infield medical center to get rehydrated and skipped podium ceremonies, leaving that to teammate Taylor.
"The last lap I knew I was finished," said Angelelli. "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."
The valiant drive by both Taylor and Angelelli, and a little bad luck for the point leading No. 01 CompUSA car of Max Papis and Scott Pruett, helped narrow the overall Grand American driver point standings. Coming into Sunday's race, the No. 01 drivers led Wayne Taylor by 19 points. Their tenth place finish and the second place finish of the SunTrust car narrowed the gap to a spread of only eight points. Race winner Andy Wallace is third, three points down from Taylor. The points standing are Papis/Pruett at 265, Taylor with 257 and Wallace at 254. The SunTrust Racing team also trails the No. 01 CompUSA team by eight points in the Team point standings.
The next Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series race, the VIR 250 presented by SunTrust, will be held at Virginia International Speedway on October 3rd.