Laguna Seca: SunTrust Racing preview

SunTrust Team Looks For Repeat Podium Finish at Laguna Seca Laguna Seca, California (May 3, 2006) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team of car owner/driver Wayne Taylor and hotshoe Italian driver Max Angelelli accomplished their goal of ...

SunTrust Team Looks For Repeat Podium Finish at Laguna Seca

Laguna Seca, California (May 3, 2006) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team of car owner/driver Wayne Taylor and hotshoe Italian driver Max Angelelli accomplished their goal of finishing on the podium at Round Five of 14 races in Virginia last month and breaking into the Top Ten in the points standings. This weekend the SunTrust team invited back Danish racing champ Jan Magnussen to pair with Angelelli for another run for the podium in the Road & Track 250 at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit on Sunday May 7th.

"I want to do whatever it takes to get us back to win, so for these next two races I thought bringing Jan on board could help us," said SunTrust car owner/driver Wayne Taylor, who will handle management duties instead of piloting the 500-horsepower Pontiac 5.0-liter V-8 powered Riley.

"I am really looking forward to getting back in the car with the SunTrust team," said the 32-year-old Magnussen. "It's a great team. I know them now from racing at Long Beach and I have confidence with everyone. Max is really fast and I thank Wayne for inviting me back. I will do the best I can for the Laguna Seca race. It is one of my absolute favorite tracks and I'm looking forward to going back with a great car. We have a good chance if we keep our heads down and make no mistakes. I think we can win this one."

The No. 10 SunTrust team of driving duo Wayne Taylor and Max "The Ax" Angelelli put on an exciting show with a little NASCAR-style bumping at last year's Road & Track 250 race at the 2.238-mile, 11-turn Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca circuit, finishing just off the podium in fourth-place. Magnussen won the last time he competed at the circuit known for the famous "corkscrew" when he drove the Ferrari 550 Maranello GTS ALMS car in September of 2003.

"Laguna is a spectacular track and I really like it. I'm looking forward to going back there," said Max "The Ax" Angelelli, known for his late-race charges cutting through the field to the front. "We only need a good result. I'm pretty confident this time that we're going to have a good race."

When asked about the paddock talk describing he and Jan as the fastest driver line-up in the very competitive Grand American field, the confident Italian answered, "I think we are the fastest as a driver line-up, but that's not always enough to win races. You also have to be the smartest and with so many cars on the track, it is pretty easy to underestimate a slower car or something that could cost you the race. We are just human beings."

"With a big field of 47 cars expected for Laguna, you must keep your head down, make no mistakes, be fast when we need to be and cautious when we need to be," added Magnussen, a former Formula One driver. "Traffic will play a big part for everyone. If we play it smart, I think we can win."

"Going to Monterey is always everyone's favorite," said Bill Riley, owner of Riley Technologies, who spearheads the racing effort of the SunTrust race team. "It is a race we want to win. We had a good car there last year. It's exciting to have Max and Jan teamed together again and I think we're going to be running at the front all weekend. That's our goal."

The 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype defending championship No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team continues to climb the 2006 standings and is now in tenth-place after five races, following a second-place finish at Virginia last month. The SunTrust team had a challenging start of the 2006 season in the first four races but turned around their results at Virginia.

An accident just after the fourth hour at the Rolex 24 forced the popular No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley to withdraw when the car was not repairable after colliding with a GT car. At Mexico City the team finished inside the Top Ten with a ninth-place finish following a penalty from touching another car. The Grand Prix of Miami produced an eleventh-place finish and the Long Beach inaugural race produced an eighth-place. The Long Beach Grand Prix was Jan Magnussen's first with the championship-winning SunTrust Pontiac Riley team and he qualified the car on the second row. An incident with another car prevented the duo from finishing on the podium.

The television broadcast of the Road & Track 250 race, 112-laps or two-and-three-quarter hours, will be live on Speed Channel on Sunday, May 7 at 3:00 p.m. ET. There will be a repeat of the race on Monday, May 8 at 12:00 noon ET.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jan Magnussen , Wayne Taylor , Max Angelelli