SunTrust Team Clinches Daytona Prototype Championship and Tenth Podium Finish at Mexico City Finale Mexico City, Mexico (November 5, 2005) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli achieved their goal of the...
SunTrust Team Clinches Daytona Prototype Championship and Tenth Podium Finish at Mexico City Finale
Mexico City, Mexico (November 5, 2005) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli achieved their goal of the season by being crowned the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Daytona Prototype team champion and co-driver champions.
Although the team's five victories and ten podium finishes in the 14-race series may have looked easy, it was far from it in the extremely competitive Grand American series. The fight throughout the season highlighted the No. 10 SunTrust team against the defending Daytona Prototype championship team of the No. 01 CompUSA/TELMEX/Ganassi Racing entry of Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz. The SunTrust team managed to lead the points all year after a stellar start with a victory at the Rolex 24 At Daytona, but the margin was very close at times, with the final 2005 point standings ending at 439-405.
"It's a great day for us. What a great team," said Craig Kelly, Corporate Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer, SunTrust Banks, Inc. "They've done a fantastic job all year. They never gave up. The victory is all theirs."
During the season, the SunTrust race team accumulated some pretty impressive statistics including finishing every possible lap of the season (a total of 2050), becoming the winningest team in Grand American Daytona Prototype history with eight victories (in the team's two-year history), five victories this season, ten podium finishes and never finishing lower than sixth-place.
"It's just the biggest weight off my shoulders. This championship belongs to SunTrust, Max, Bill and everybody associated with the team. I'm just glad I was here for the ride," said car owner/driver Wayne Taylor. "To win a championship, another 24 Hours, five wins, become the winningest team in Grand Am DP history...it hasn't settled in yet."
"This year couldn't have been any better, we achieved everything that we wanted and it will be very hard next year to repeat it," said Max "The Ax" Angelelli, who earned his nickname this season by his incredible driving talent of cutting through the field. "It's been a really tough year, even if it looked easy from the outside."
"It was just a great year, a great team effort," said SunTrust team director and owner of Riley Technologies. "I can't say enough for how Max and Wayne drove this year. We completed every lap available in competition, which just means the drivers did their jobs by keeping it on the track and the crew did their job by prepping a great car. It was really pretty much the perfect year."
This marks Taylor's fourth career series driver's championship. He won his last championship in 1996, with the Riley team, in the IMSA World Sports Car Series. He also won the IMSA championship in 1994. His first championship happened in 1986 in the South Africa Formula Atlantic Series.
"I would never have believed that I would have won another championship ever. I'll be 50 next year," stated the youthful looking Taylor. "When I think back on my previous championships in 1994 and 1996, clearly this championship is ahead of any other one for lots of reasons -- the competitive nature of the series, the number of professional teams, professional drivers from every form of racing has been here. The most special part was doing this with Max. He's in a different class than anybody else. There's no way I could have won this championship without him."
For Angelelli, this championship is a long-awaited dream. His last driver's championship came in 1992 in the Italian F-3 Series.
"For me this is very special. Wayne and I have driven together since 1999 trying to achieve exactly this," said the emotional Italian. "There is nothing more special than to have this championship with Wayne."
Today's race at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez featured five car lead changes among four drivers and no cautions. Michael McDowell and Memo Gidley won the race by a mere 1.484 seconds over the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Taylor and Angelelli.
"I was very close and I think in two more laps I could have passed him, but we have to realize that it was a great championship, a great season and second place again, many podiums." said the confident Angelelli. "It was really something competing against the Ganassi team. It was pleasure because they have a great race team, good racers, and it was really nice to say we beat them."
An active media and public relations tour will keep the drivers busy as they await the completion of their new car for the 2006 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season. Test days for the Rolex 24 At Daytona will begin January 4-7, 2006.