SunTrust team Just Misses Top Ten Finish at Miami Miami, Florida (March 25, 2006) - The third stop on the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car series at the Homestead-Miami Speedway featured numerous cautions, as was expected for the Grand Prix...
SunTrust team Just Misses Top Ten Finish at Miami
Miami, Florida (March 25, 2006) - The third stop on the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car series at the Homestead-Miami Speedway featured numerous cautions, as was expected for the Grand Prix of Miami in the two and three-quarter hour night race. Six cautions for over one-third of the race and five car lead changes among five different drivers was all part of the drama.
The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team of Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli started from the 16th position and finished just outside the Top Ten, with an 11th place finish, one lap down from the leaders. Porsche-powered cars dominated, as the qualifying field indicated when four of the Top Five starters of the 47 cars field were Porsches.
"It is like we are in a different class from the Porsches," said Max "The Ax" Angelelli, who along with Taylor captured the 2005 Grand American Daytona Prototype Driver's Championship last season. "They just pull away from us. It is unbelievable. Since they had the rule change for this year, I really feel I am in a different class. It is impossible."
Angelelli took over the driving chores from starting driver Wayne Taylor on Lap 36, after the first of the six cautions was called. Taylor had managed to bring the car up to the 12th position, but when the No. 10 SunTrust machine exited the pit, they were caught short and lost a lap as the pace car beat them by.
"We had somewhat of a tough race. We played a risky call on the strategy and we got caught out by a couple of seconds on the pace car and we lost a lap," said Bill Riley, who spearheads the SunTrust race program efforts. "Max did a great job and got the lap back. Unfortunately, we needed a yellow and it came two laps too late. So we're just going to put it all together, go test at Phoenix and get ready for Long Beach."
The pole sitting No. 23 Porsche Crawford of Patrick Long and Mike Rockenfeller won their first Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve victory and gave Porsche it first Rolex Series victory in the Linder Industrial Komatsu Grand Prix of Miami race. The No. 39 Porsche Crawford of Christian Fittipaldi and Lucas Luhr was second and the No. 01 CompUSA/Ganassi Lexus Riley came home third.
Car owner/driver Wayne Taylor was not optimistic looking towards the next round at the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach at the Long Beach Street Circuit on April 7-8.
"We clearly are in a different class that can not compete against the Porsches," said Wayne Taylor, a three-time U.S. sports car champion who calls Altamonte Springs, Florida his home. "I really don't know what to say. Grand-Am has to say how it's going to be. We are 125 pounds heavier and have less RPMs. It's pretty scary because I'd hate to see to see this championship series go down faster than it came up. That would not be in our best interest. These guys (Grand American officials) are professional though and I'm sure they'll do whatever it takes. Porsche has a weight and power advantage. You could see it on the in-car cameras. It's not something that is a tiny technical issue. You see on the in-car cameras how they just drive away. Everything is about weight, acceleration and power and changing of direction. How can you compete against it?"