SunTrust Race Team Victorious at Laguna Seca Laguna Seca (May 7, 2006) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team, with drivers Max Angelelli and Jan Magnussen, collected their first victory of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car season...
SunTrust Race Team Victorious at Laguna Seca
Laguna Seca (May 7, 2006) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team, with drivers Max Angelelli and Jan Magnussen, collected their first victory of the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car season today in the Road & Track 250 race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The 88-lap, two and three-quarter hour race featured seven cautions for 35 laps with six lead changes among six cars.
Danish hotshoe Jan Magnussen started the SunTrust Pontiac Riley from the fifth position, his second start of the season with the team after debuting at Long Beach. By the start of Lap 2, Magnussen had advanced to second place, where he stayed until the second caution of the day and the team's first flawless pit stop on Lap 22 for tires and fuel. After returning to the track in fifth place, the former Formula One driver drove seamlessly through traffic back into second place. On lap 42 Magnussen took over the lead from the No. 12 Lowe's Pontiac Riley and held it until his second pit stop on Lap 59, under caution, where he turned over the reins to Max "The Ax" Angelelli.
Angelelli returned to the track in fourth place and after the race went green again on Lap 66, he chopped through the field, as his "Ax" moniker implies, into the lead by Lap 68, a position he held until the checkered flag. It was the SunTrust team's first victory of the season and second podium finish in as many races, after finishing second at Virginia International Raceway two weeks ago. Today's victory and yesterday's fifth-place finish in the Qualifying Race helped the No. 10 SunTrust team jump from tenth to sixth in the overall Daytona Prototype points standings.
"I'm very happy for the team, for everybody," said Angelelli, who also collected his first Fastest Lap of the 2006 Grand American season today in Round Six of 14. "The team did such great pit stops, just unbelievable. It was a good race, Jan did a good job and gave me a good car, and then I just pushed it to the end. They deserve this win more than me, so I'm very happy for them, for everybody -- for Wayne, SunTrust, Jan, everybody."
"It's been such a great weekend all the way through," said Jan Magnussen, guest driver of the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley, who will compete at additional races this year. "I've felt comfortable since the first day we were here. The race was a bit hard. I got into the lead and it was a matter of doing consistent lap times, trying to be fast and stay out of trouble with all the traffic. We got a little nervous when it was time to change drivers for Max and the yellow didn't come. But finally it came out and we had a really good stop with a quick time getting Max in the car. I'm really, really happy for the opportunity and I want to thank SunTrust and Wayne Taylor."
"We needed to win this one, so it's great that we finally did it," said SunTrust car owner/driver Wayne Taylor, who sat out from driving this weekend and helped make calls on the pit strategy. "It helped us in the point standings towards the championship and that's very important to us."
"Today's race was really a big team effort," said Bill Riley, owner of Riley Technologies who regularly spearheads the racing effort and pit stops of the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley. "Jan did a great first stint, the team did awesome pit stops and Max cleaned up at the end. Wayne, Travis (Race Engineer Travis Jacobsen) and I talked about the strategy and it looks like we made the right calls and everything went our way today."
The SunTrust team won the 2005 Daytona Prototype Team Championship with five victories and ten podium finishes in 14 races. Taylor and Angelelli also won the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series DP Driver's Championship, earning an invitation to the International race of Champions (IROC), among other awards.
Tonight the SunTrust team packs up and heads out with the SunTrust transporter and race car to Arizona where they will do prep work at the GM Proving Grounds in Mesa before next weekend's Gainsco Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway, May 12-13.