SCC: Watkins Glen: Friday practice summary

SunTrust Racing Leads Opening Practice At Watkins Glen WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. June 18, 2004) -- There's something about Friday practice sessions that draws the best out of the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley and drivers Max Angelelli and ...

SunTrust Racing Leads Opening Practice At Watkins Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. June 18, 2004) -- There's something about Friday practice sessions that draws the best out of the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley and drivers Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor, which proved to be the case again today in practice for Sunday's Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen (SPEED Channel, 6/20, 11 a.m. ET).

For the fourth consecutive Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Friday practice session today at Watkins Glen International, the No. 10 machine found its way to the top of the speed charts following a best lap at 115.658 mph (1:45.829) by Angelelli--nearly two full seconds quicker than his next closest competitor.

"I'm happy with the car, and I like the track," Angelelli said. "I've never been here before and I really enjoy driving here. It's an outstanding circuit. It's really, really something. It reminds me a bit of the old Zelteweg in Austria. We have had a couple little problems but nothing major. I love this circuit. I just want to keep driving out there."

Second-quickest on the day was Scott Pruett in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley at 113.632 mph (1:47.716) despite the fact that he wasn't completely pleased with the car. However, while the No. 10 has been the quickest for four consecutive Fridays, Pruett and co-driver Max Papis will be going for its fifth straight pole position in Saturday's qualifying session.

"I wasn't happy with the first session," Pruett explained. "I believe what we have now is a better setup. The first setup wasn't suited for the track, but it's better now. We're down a session. Max is going to qualify, and it will be better tomorrow."

Turning in the third-quickest time in Friday's practice session was Andy Wallace in the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford at 113.259 mph (1:48.071). Wallace and co-drivers Milka Duno and Jan Lammers are looking for their second win of the season, and Wallace couldn't think of a better track to do just that.

""It's always great to come to Watkins Glen, because it's one of those tracks that's got all that history," Wallace said. "When I was a little kid in short pants, Formula 1 were here, and I used to read about it all the time. I've had a fair bit of success here, I won the six-hour race here a couple years back. It's one of my favorite tracks, actually. It's very high speed, the corners are quite technical in places, and what I do like is--whenever they put a chicane in to slow a track down like they did on the backstraight, they make such a pig's ear of it that it's horrible. But they've done such a great job with that chicane (at Watkins Glen). They said, 'okay, we need a chicane to slow the cars down,' but they didn't make it too slow. You can hammer through there, and it's a good overtaking spot. Whoever designed that needs a pat on the back."

Today's practice sessions also featured the return of Mears Motorcoach/SpeedSource, as the team debuted its new No. 9 Pontiac Riley after sitting out the 6 Heures du Circuit Mont-Tremblant. The team campaigned a Multimatic chassis for the first three events of the 2004 season, and owner/driver Paul Mears was pleased with the new car's performance. The No. 9 team turned the sixth-quickest lap of the day at 112.747 mph (1:48.562).

"The new car is wonderful," Mears said. "I'm just tickled pink with it. We tested the car for a day and a half last week at Virginia International Raceway. We didn't change anything there. The car was right as soon as we took the wrapper off it. I think if we do our job and keep it on the race track, we're going to be real competitive. The car is solid; it's performing with the top cars. It's just a few tenths off. We haven't touched the car; it's just the way we got it. I think the car's going to be real competitive."

The day's only major incident involving a Daytona Prototype machine came in the afternoon practice session, when Doug Goad damaged the nose of the No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing Pontiac Crawford in contact with the barrier at Turn 11. Goad was not injured.

NO. 21 BMW CONTINUES GT DOMINANCE

After winning the GT class in each of the last three Rolex Sports Car Series events, the No. 21 Performance Technology Group BMW M3 co-piloted by Boris Said and Bill Auberlen turned in the fastest time among GT cars in today's practice sessions, logging a best lap of 105.419 mph (1:56.108) with Auberlen at the wheel during the morning session.

"The car was reasonable," said Auberlen. "It's not at the top of its game, yet. The good thing is the PTG team knows how to take the BMW M3 and make it even better. Every time we seem to be missing a little bit, they seem to know how to tune it better than maybe our competition. I love the car here. We haven't had much luck here when it comes to M3s and Watkins Glen, from wrecks to everything else--not me, somebody else--but this might be the weekend. We're going to try to turn it around. You can see from the speed and the package from the team, we're looking good. Let's keep our fingers crossed and we'll try to bring it home in the lead."

MURRY PACES SGS PRACTICE IN AASCO MOTORSPORTS RETURN

After sitting out the last race at Mont-Tremblant, AASCO Motorsports returned to Rolex Series competition today at Watkins Glen and driver David Murry promptly took the No.16 Porsche GT3 Cup to the top of the Super Grand Sport (SGS) time sheet with a best lap of 101.612 mph (2:00.458). Murry credited the team's preparation and the working relationship he enjoys with co-driver Craig Stanton and engineer Harry Haggard as the main reason for their success today.

""For sure it's good to have the AASCO team back together here at Watkins Glen after missing Mont-Tremblant," Murry said. "We're going to do a partial schedule from now on, I think, and back here it makes you realize just how much you miss everyone being together. It's like an old high school reunion and you're happy to see everybody.

"This morning went really well. We unloaded, cleared the mothballs off, and (engineer) Harry (Haggard) and (co-driver) Craig (Stanton) and I worked together. I tell you, it sure is nice to have that chemistry that works so well together. Craig goes out and I go out, they make changes, and I'm so relaxed waiting for Craig and Harry to do their thing, because I know it's only going to make it in the right direction. I get in the car--and it depends on who's in the car at the time as to who ends up going quicker. That's what's great about this team is that there's no egos whatsoever."

NOTES

The No. 11 Powell Motorsports Cadillac CTS-V shared by Terry Borcheller and Devon Powell topped the time sheets in Grand-Am Cup Series practice today at Watkins Glen, turning in the overall best lap of 94.986 mph (2:08.861). The No. 27 Bill Fenton Motorsports Acura RSX-S shared by Eric Curran and Bob Endicott led the Grand-Am Cup Series Sport Touring (ST) class at 91.611 mph (2:13.609)-- With their home just four hours from Watkins Glen International, No. 44 Orbit Racing Porsche GT3 RS co-drivers (and father and son) Joe and Jay Policastro will have 16 family members in attendance for Sunday's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen-- In the Sahlen's Sports Car Grand Prix Go-Kart Challenge at the nearby Seneca Grand Prix go-karting facility on Thursday evening, a team of race fans including Jacob Dodge, Jim Dywinski, Dan Dodge, Steve Queal and Wendall Queal topped Rolex Series and Grand-Am Cup drivers, Grand American, Watkins Glen International and Sahlen's officials, and a team of media to win the rain-shortened event.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Milka Duno , Jan Lammers , Boris Said , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , David Murry , Bill Auberlen , Devon Powell , Doug Goad , Terry Borcheller , Max Angelelli , Craig Stanton , Bill Fenton , Bob Endicott , Jay Policastro
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , SpeedSource