SunTrust Team Closes Championship Gap With Fourth-Place Finish at EMCO Gears Classic Lexington, Ohio (June 24, 2006) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley race team claimed fourth place at the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio, and with misfortune...
SunTrust Team Closes Championship Gap With Fourth-Place Finish at EMCO Gears Classic
Lexington, Ohio (June 24, 2006) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley race team claimed fourth place at the EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio, and with misfortune striking the first and second place teams in points, the SunTrust team was able to close a substantial gap in the Daytona Prototype team championship standings.
Entering the race down 21 points to the first place No. 01 CompUSA Ganassi racing team, the SunTrust team earned 28 points for their showing, while the No. 01 team and second-place No. 19 Playboy/Uniden Racing team were forced to retire from competition prematurely.J The SunTrust team is now only three points behind the first place No. 01 team -- 297 to 294 -- with four races remaining. The No. 76 Krohn Racing team's second-place finish elevated their team to a tie for first with the No. 01 team.
"This race and our great finish were crucial to the championship standings," said Max Angelelli, who piloted the No. 10 SunTrust vehicle for the second half of the race. "But, I'm a little disappointed and ashamed because of the 01's crash and the problems with the 19, but it works really well for us in regards to the championship. To make up that many points is a great advantage for our team and we will continue to work hard towards the championship."
The first place No. 01 CompUSA Ganassi racing team suffered extensive damage to the car's frame after colliding with the No. 8 Synergy Racing team, eliminating the No. 01 team from competition with a 21st-place finish. The second place No. 19 Playboy/Uniden Racing team was forced to retire early after early throttle cable problems, resulting in a 24th-place finish.
"We came into this event knowing that last year this event really made an impact on our championship and we came in focused on gaining points for the championship this year and we did that," said SunTrust car owner/driver Wayne Taylor. "But, there are still two teams ahead of us and we must continue to focus and take it race by race."
That current level of success is marked by five-straight top-five finishes for the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team.
Jan Magnussen began the race for the SunTrust team from the seventh position, but quickly darted to third by lap 12 and to first place by lap 25.J "When the tires were new, for some reason the balance was not right, for my liking anyway," explained Magnussen, who recently won his third straight 24 Hours of Le Mans. "But, the more laps we did, the more the balance came to me and I was able to push the car harder and harder and from that point I drove every lap like it was qualifying. The car was superb."
Angelelli took over the machine after a pit stop on lap 40 and emerged from the pits in the third position. Angelelli, who is known as Max "The Ax" for his ability to slice through traffic, toiled with the competition for the remainder of the race and battled as high as second on lap 67 and again in the final laps of the race, but finished fourth after an accident by the leading GT class car forced the race to end under caution.
"The car was real good and after I pitted and changed tires it was even better," said Angelelli, referring to a pit on lap 70. "After that I was able to push real hard and Jan and I put us in a position to finish well."
"It was a good race and we're all very happy," said Magnussen. "We made up a good many points and now we are second, but there is still a long way to go and we need to and will compete through the last race."