April 10, 2004 Phoenix, AZ â€“ Milka Duno and Andy Wallace started the Food City 250 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, April 10 2004, with a desire to repeat their win at Miami, and with an 8th overall starting position earned by Milka...
April 10, 2004 Phoenix, AZ – Milka Duno and Andy Wallace started the Food City 250 at Phoenix International Raceway on Saturday, April 10 2004, with a desire to repeat their win at Miami, and with an 8th overall starting position earned by Milka in qualifying it was not out of reach.
Milka started the 6:00p.m. race in the #2 CITGO-branded Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototype 8th on the grid with a qualifying time only 02:326 seconds behind P1. With the heavy traffic at race start Milka was able to stay clean and increase her position for 34 laps of the scheduled 250-miles/166 laps/2 ¾ -hour time limit sprint race - reaching as high as 6th overall when, upon overtaking a GT car, Milka was clipped in the left rear causing her to hit the tires hard in Turn 5. Milka immediately brought the car into the pits and handed it over to Andy Wallace. After making repairs that took some time, Andy rejoined the race having fallen 7 laps behind and in 35th position overall.
While knowing they were out of contention for the win – and possibly even a top-10 – neither the team nor Andy gave up. Lap by lap Andy continued to climb back. From 35th to 30th to 25th he and the team knew that every position counted toward valuable points. In the 99 lead-laps before the race concluded Andy had brought the car from 35th to 17th – a remarkable average of advancing one position every 5.5 laps. At the end of the race the Venezuelan/English duo finished 17th overall and 12th in class.
“Obviously I am very disappointed with what happened to the car, especially when I was in 6th position overall, said Milka. “I know that this is all part of racing, and sometimes these unfortunate things happen, but it never makes it easier. I had a really good feeling about this race and I felt confident starting in 8th position. We had all worked very hard to achieve this. Andy did a great job advancing our position and the team was amazing – as always.”
“What happened to us tonight is, unfortunately, part of racing,” said Andy. “It’s a very tight track and very difficult with all the traffic. I knew we were out of contention, but as a race car driver I always try to go as fast as possible – no matter how far behind we might be. It’s my job. And I went as fast as I could and tried as hard as I could not just for the points – but for the team. They worked very hard this race and I felt as though Milka and I owed it to them. They didn’t give up – and neither did we.”
CITGO, based in Tulsa, Okla., is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, refined waxes, asphalt and other industrial products. The company is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information on CITGO visit www.citgo.com.
Additional information on drivers Milka Duno and Andy Wallace is available at www.milkaduno.com and www.andywallace.com, respectively. For more information on the Grand American Sports Car Series please visit www.grandamerican.com.