Homestead: Milka Duno race report

Duno and Wallace Win Grand Prix of Miami Milka Becomes 1st Woman in History to Win Grand American Race February 28, 2004 -- Milka Duno and her teammate Andy Wallace delivered stellar results for CITGO with a first place finish...

Duno and Wallace Win Grand Prix of Miami
Milka Becomes 1st Woman in History to Win Grand American Race

February 28, 2004 -- Milka Duno and her teammate Andy Wallace delivered stellar results for CITGO with a first place finish in the second round of the 2004 Rolex Sports Car Series -- the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway February 26-28, 2004.

With this win Milka becomes the first woman in the history of the Grand American Road Racing Series to achieve an overall win.

The CITGO-sponsored Howard-Boss Motorsports team's #2 Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototype, emblazoned with CITGO's distinctive red, orange and navy blue livery, built upon their success at the Rolex`24 at Daytona with a hard-fought and very skillfully run race.

The Grand Prix of Miami, under clear skies and warm temps, started with the green flag waving at 3:17pm. Milka was elected to start, Andy was chosen to finish. Starting the race in the 15th spot, Milka began the hard job of moving through the field on the twisty Homestead track. In a short, error-free 62 minutes behind the wheel Milka advanced from 15th to 7th -- a gain of 8 positions in 43 laps.

At 5:15pm, after being in the car for only an hour, Andy took the lead with only 22 laps remaining. In the relatively short space of an hour, Andy had advanced the car's position by 6 places. Then pitting on lap 90, he fell back to 4th. He then raced to 3rd. With under 10 laps to go in the 109-lap race and after a second full coarse yellow, the two cars ahead of him, in 1st and 2nd place, decided to play a high-stakes game of bumper cars. Andy pulled back ever so slightly so as to not get tangled up in any potential mishap. His racing experience and wisdom paid off as the #2 CITGO Daytona Prototype took the checkered flag.

"I started the race in 15th place and immediately started to think about how to advance our position" said Milka. "One of the prototypes in front of me appeared to be having some sort of problem, but I was surrounded by two GT cars and was yet unable to make a pass. I just kept safe and kept looking for the best time to make my move. As soon as I would pass one car and advance our position I would start looking for the next one. The team helped me a lot with a great strategy and I was very happy to be able to hand off the car to Andy in 7th place. I've just been told that I'm the first woman ever to win a Grand American race -- which is both very exciting and quite and honor," added the jubilant Milka.

"I had every confidence in Milka that she wouldn't make any errors -- that she would take it cleanly in the beginning and then just get faster and faster -- which is exactly what she did," said Andy. "With every lap she did while in the car she just kept getting faster and faster. When I got in the car I just slammed the doors down and I left. That was it. I was just going to drive until the wheels came off. I was trying to get up to the two cars in front of me so that when they started racing each other I could just sneak by -- which is what I did!"

Milka, Andy and the Howard-Boss Motorsports team will have a little more time than normal to savor their win as their next race on the schedule isn't until April 8-10 at Phoenix International Speedway. This provision result wil advance the Howard-Boss Motorsport team to the provisional first place in the Daytona Prototype category.

This event is one of the few races on the schedule that was not broadcast live on SPEED. This race can be seen on SPEED this coming Sunday, March 7, 2004 at 4pm EST.

-hc-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Wallace , Milka Duno