SunTrust Team Celebrates Another Podium Finish at Phoenix Phoenix, Arizona (September 10, 2005) - It was a night of drama under the lights at Phoenix International Raceway in what some called a "crash fest" of a race. The Racetickets.com 250...
SunTrust Team Celebrates Another Podium Finish at Phoenix
Phoenix, Arizona (September 10, 2005) - It was a night of drama under the lights at Phoenix International Raceway in what some called a "crash fest" of a race. The Racetickets.com 250 was the eleventh stop of the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season and the only race run solely by the Daytona Prototype class. The different format proved to be exciting and eventful.
The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli was the only car of the 20-car field that avoided the on-track melees and the penalties assessed to those who caused them. By racing clean and staying clear of the incidents, the team was able to finish second and collect their eighth podium finish of the year. The finishing position awarded the SunTrust team 32 points, elevating them to 344 points in the 2005 Daytona Prototype class championship.
The No. 01 CompUSA/Ganassi team of Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz, who trailed the SunTrust team by 19 points coming into this race, only managed to grab 15 points for a total of 308. They got clipped by another car in turn one on a restart following one of four cautions, which caused rear end damage and relegated them to a 16th place finish.
"It was a real strong race, finishing second. Obviously, I would like to have been first, but the race was a real big crash fest, so we're just lucky we got out of here," said Bill Riley. "It has made up a lot of points for the championship, but unfortunately not the way we would like to. I guess we'll take them anywhere we can get them."
"The goal at the beginning of the race was to come away with the maximum points against the 01 car. The championship at this stage is down to us and the 01 car," said SunTrust car owner/driver Wayne Taylor. "It is really disappointing that they had to go out of the championship the way they did. I'm not crying about it, but it was a tough break for them when that kind of thing happens. Having the series split into two, I think there's some question about if they should do that again. Guys were just driving like maniacs. We just kept our nose clean and got ourselves the maximum points."
"Because we are getting closer and closer to the end of the season, it didn't make any sense to take an extra risk, especially when I had all the cars around me going crazy, pushing and hitting each other," said Max "the Ax" Angelelli. "So, I thought I should wait a little bit and think about the championship. I feel very bad for the 01 when I saw the car crash into the wall. It was no sense for me to fight any longer with anybody."
Christian Fittipaldi, driver of the No. 66 Krohn/TRG Pontiac Riley with teammate Jorg Bergmeister, was the race winner, after taking the lead on lap 124 of 145 laps. It was their first victory of the season and the sixth different 2005 race winner, tying last year's record.
"We finished second and that was good for the points. I don't know if we could have won. Christian was really strong. It's a shame that the 01 car had to go out in that way. It's not the way that a championship should be won or lost, but this is motor racing. We've still got three more races. Once again, I'm proud of this team," added Taylor, a resident of Altamonte Springs, Florida.