Max Angelelli, driving the SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley, held off several late-race surges by Butch Leitzinger to win the Grand Prix of Miami at the Homestead Miami Speedway. The gap between the two at the finish was 1.198 seconds, the second ...
Max Angelelli, driving the SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley, held off several late-race surges by Butch Leitzinger to win the Grand Prix of Miami at the Homestead Miami Speedway. The gap between the two at the finish was 1.198 seconds, the second closest finish in the history of the Rolex Sports Car Series. Angelelli and teammate Wayne Taylor, who started tenth in the 47- car field, now have two wins in as many races, the first coming in the season-opening Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona.
"Obviously, it was a great result," added Taylor, who owns the SunTrust team. "We realized coming into the season that last year we were racing against Ganassi's cars and one or two other cars. But this year we're racing against 12 or 15 other cars. So we really have to think through our race strategy. Today, the guys did an outstanding job getting us in and getting Max in the car. Then, of course, he did what he normally does."
Indeed, in the race's waning moments Angelelli was able to deftly maneuver his way through several thick packs of slower cars while simultaneously keeping Leitzinger's Pontiac Crawford at bay.
"I knew that without traffic I was faster, but I didn't want to push too hard because I wanted to have something left for the end of the race just in case of a yellow. And in fact, we got the yellow at the end of the race and I had something left, which I used. It was really difficult at the end, though. I gave it everything I had."
So, too, did Leitzinger, who shared his Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford with Elliott Forbes-Robinson. "He (Angelelli) was very tough. I missed the set up a little bit on the car with the heat change we had from yesterday to today. So he was really about a half a tenth of a second faster per lap. And I tried some pretty desperate moves. I was getting a little ragged in the end trying some desperate things. But I really missed the set up a bit. I got up beside him a few times just with traffic and being mischievous. That was really my best chance, though. In an open fight, he really deserved to win."
Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Rileys finished third and fourth, with Jorg Bergmeister and Max Papis leading the way over Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson. Luis Diaz and Scott Pruett rounded out the top-five in the No. 01 Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley.
"Jorg drove a really good first stint," said Papis, whose team snared a podium finish in just its second race. "He took the car from eleventh up to a very good position. I am pleased that Pontiac finished one-two-three. But we still have quite a lot o work to do. This podium is a good place to start, though."
Andy Lally and Marc Bunting drove the No. 65 TRG Porsche to victory in the GT class, which produced more than its share of on-track excitement. "Marc took the green and did a good job of protecting the car in what seemed to be some crazy, crazy action out there," said Lally. "He went fast and gave me a great car. I got in the car after that, and we made some good strategy calls and won it. We had real fast car, and we didn't have to push it to the limit. You win races by not tearing up your equipment and taking the least amount of risks. Once we got that one-lap lead, we just cruised home.
"But I had about 80 close calls. So many in fact that when we went green on that final restart, I didn't even try to pass anybody unless they fell way off line because they were two and three-wide in the braking zone in front of me and the sun was in our eyes. I just saw some crazy stuff out there."
The No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche of Randy Pobst and Michael Levitas managed to survive some of that crazy stuff to finish second, one spot ahead of John Littlechild and Spencer Pumpelly in another TPC Racing Porsche.
The Rolex Series returns to the track on April 1 at the California Speedway.