SunTrust Racing Watkins Glen Race Report

SunTrust Racing Watkins Glen Race Report

Watkins Glen International

Smooth Sahlen’s for SunTrust at The Glen

Angelelli, Taylor Win from the Pole for the Second Time Since Monday

What a week it’s been for the No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet Dallara team of Wayne Taylor Racing, which on Saturday scored its second dominating GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series victory from the pole since Monday behind its stellar driving duo of Max Angelelli and Ricky Taylor.

They led nine times for a race-high 128 of 174 laps en route to SunTrust’s first-ever victory in the 30th renewal of the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.

Like they were in Monday’s Memorial Day Classic at Lime Rock Park in Lakeville, Conn., where Angelelli and Taylor led three times for a race-high 95 of 174 laps on the way to their first victory of the season, the SunTrust car, drivers and team were simply flawless from beginning to end today in finally winning the Rolex Series’ second-longest race after finishing on the podium in six of their previous seven attempts since joining the series in 2004. {{ It also marked SunTrust’s first back-to-back wins since team owner Wayne Taylor and Angelelli co-drove to victories at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala., and the August sprint race right here at Watkins Glen in 2005, SunTrust Racing’s Rolex Series championship season.

And, in a bit of a twist, it was the 21-year-old Ricky Taylor who started and finished today’s resounding victory, which included rain showers through the first 90 minutes of the race and a dramatic three-lap sprint to the finish with three-time and defending series champion Scott Pruett in his rearview mirrors after a late-race caution. Taylor led 63 laps in all after starting from the pole for the fourth time in his Rolex Series career, while the veteran Angelelli led 65 laps over the middle portion of the race and often found himself almost a half-lap ahead of the entire field.

“Obviously for me, personally, this was the one event that I was never able to win during my driving days, but it couldn’t be any better than to have my son Ricky and Max win it, together,” said Wayne Taylor, the three-time sports car racing champion who has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Petit Le Mans, and multiple IMSA World Sports Championships, but never the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. “The team has worked so hard this year. We came out at the beginning of the season and we had a good car at the first few races but just couldn’t get it to the winner’s circle. There’s been a lot of re-focusing by everybody and, I think, we finally turned it around at Lime Rock. Obviously, this race is incredibly difficult to win, even when you have a car that seems to have more than everybody else and you pull out to these big gaps. But you just don’t know what can happen in the last hour with strategy, and so on. The guys did a perfect job. Max was awesome, as usual. This was Ricky’s first time to start and finish and he did a great job. After this event, we’ll go back to our regular way where Ricky will start and Max will finish. I just can’t be happier for all of our partners who have supported us for so long – SunTrust, Toshiba, Chevrolet and Dallara.”

“Everybody saw what Ricky did today,” added Angelelli, who won for the 17th time in his Rolex Series career, third only to Pruett’s 34 and Pruett’s teammate Memo Rojas’ 21. “This is not only today – he does it every time. So, for me, it is a great honor to share the car with Ricky, and with Wayne as a team owner. But, I have to say that SunTrust Racing, the team, and our engineering department deliver such a great car for us, not only today, but all of the other races, and this is really their achievement more than anybody else’s.”

For Taylor, today’s win was his third in 38 career Rolex Series starts. He also clocked the fastest lap of the race just 12 laps from the finish while building a more than 10-second lead over Pruett before the final caution with 12 minutes remaining in the six-hour marathon.

“I think this win really started before the weekend even got here with Max, who really leads the technical side of things with the engineers,” said Taylor, who took the lead for good when an out-of-sequence Pruett pitted for his final splash of fuel with 28 minutes remaining and ultimately took the checkered flag 3.839 seconds ahead of the runner-up Pruett. “Max does a really good job working hard in-between races and getting the car where it needs to be, realizing all the trends as far as what we need to change and anticipate during the weekends. We made some big changes before the weekend started and it’s a really good direction, I think, not just for this race but for the whole rest of the season. As far as this race, the car was really, really fast. The SunTrust guys had really good pit stops. We passed the 01 (Pruett) on our first stop with the driver change, which was pretty cool. The final stints, I didn’t know what the Ganassi guys were saving or if they weren’t saving. When that last caution came out, I was pretty nervous in there. Whenever you have Scott Pruett behind you, that’s as tough as it gets. The guys made it really easy for me, and Max really helped me a lot this weekend, and every weekend this season.”

With the win, the SunTrust team moved into second place in the championship chase, 19 points behind Pruett and Rojas in the No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley with six races remaining.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Max Angelelli , Memo Rojas , Chip Ganassi , Felix Sabates , Ricky Taylor
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Wayne Taylor Racing
Tags angelelli, chevrolet, daralla, prototype, taylor