SunTrust Race Team Fourth at Advances to Third in Grand American Points Championship Phoenix, Arizona (May 13, 2006) -- Although the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team felt they had a car good enough to be on the podium, they gladly accepted...
SunTrust Race Team Fourth at Advances to Third in Grand American Points Championship
Phoenix, Arizona (May 13, 2006) -- Although the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team felt they had a car good enough to be on the podium, they gladly accepted their fourth-place finish in the Gainsco Grand Prix at Phoenix International Raceway. The Top Five finish helped move them to third in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype Team points championship, a goal they had set for this weekend.
The SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Max "The Ax" Angelelli and Jan Magnussen started tonight's race from the second row, the fourth starting position on the gird, after finishing in that position in last night's qualifying race. Angelelli's solo drive in the 30-minute qualifying race elevated the team to fourth place in points with the finish last night.
Magnussen was the starting driver tonight and experienced a punctured tire and pitted on the fourth lap of the race, right after taking over the lead from the eventual winner, the No. 01 CompUSA/ Ganassi Lexus Riley. Following the pit stop under green, Magnussen returned to the track in the 21st position and worked his way up through the field to 15th by Lap 11. He brought the SunTrust car into tenth position by Lap 31. On Lap 33, the first of three full-course cautions came out and the Danish hotshoe pitted for tires and fuel. He beat numerous competitors out of the pits, elevating the team's position to sixth place on the exit.
Magnussen continued to work his way through the field after the restart on Lap 38 and was back leading the race by Lap 79, after again passing the No. 01 Lexus Riley. The second caution of the night came on Lap 93 and the SunTrust car pitted for tires, fuel and driver change to Max Angelelli. A problem with the right front wheel caused Angelelli to have to re-pit on Lap 94 for a replacement wheel. When the race went green again on Lap 100, Angelelli was in sixth place overall. He managed to advance two positions before the final 149th lap to elevate the team to fourth overall at the checkered flag.
"My stint was very eventful," said Jan Magnussen, who drove in his third race of the season with the No. 10 SunTrust team today. "I had a good start and just got into the lead when I was told I had a puncture and had to pit. I came out last, at the end of the field. We made a mega-fast pit stop and made up a lot of ground. I thought we were going to be in a good position. Unfortunately, we had a problem with a wheel on the last pit stop and it cost us a lot. Max made up some positions, which was really good. I think we deserved better than fourth today though because we had a good car."
"I'm disappointed for what happened," said Max "The Ax" Angelelli, defending Daytona Prototype Driver Champion, along with teammate and co-driver Wayne Taylor. "It's tough when you're leading the race and something happens. Our focus is still the same though -- for the championship. We must win the championship. We targeted sixth place in the points before Laguna and we targeted third place before Phoenix. We leave Phoenix in third so basically we achieved our targets, we just did not win the race."
"We had a winning car tonight," said Wayne Taylor, car owner/driver of the No. 10 SunTrust car, who sat out of the driving this weekend and handled management duties. "We finished fourth. The pit stop issue was too bad but considering how the year started for us, at least we are moving forward. From a points standpoint it's good because we're only halfway into the season. Jan and Max both drove outstanding. Now we'll get ready for the Six Hour at the Glen."
"It was a tough night for us," said Bill Riley of Riley Technologies who spearheads the running of the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley team. "First the flat tire, then something went wrong with the right front wheel, which is a bit uncharacteristic of us. We have really gained a lot of positions in these last two race events which has moved us up in points. Next we go to Watkins Glen and we've had a strong car there the past two years so we can't wait to get back."
The No. 10 SunTrust team now has 236 points, just 27 points down from the leading No. 01 CompUSA/Ganassi Lexus Riley team. Second-place in the Grand American Daytona Prototype Team point standings is the No. 19 Playboy/Uniden Ford Crawford with 255 points after seven of 14 races.
The Gainsco Grand Prix race will be televised tape delayed on SPEED on Sunday, May 14 at 3:00 p.m. ET and again on Tuesday, May 16 at 12:00 noon ET.
The next race will be the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International in Watkins Glen, New York on June 2-3, 2006.