Podium Finishes In Both Classes For Pontiac At VIR ...
Podium Finishes In Both Classes For Pontiac At VIR
#2 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford Finishes Behind #01 CompUSA Lexus Riley; #65 TRG Pontiac GTO.R Places Third in GT Class Taking GT Points Lead
ALTON, Va. - In one of the wetter weekends the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series has seen, Pontiac Motorsports managed podium finishes in both the Daytona Prototype (DP) class and GT class at historic Virginia International Raceway. The #2 Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford DP of Andy Wallace and Milka Duno finished second behind the #01 Lexus Riley shared by Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz, and Pontiac's #65 TRG GTO.R scored a third-place finish putting drivers Marc Bunting and Andy Lally in the GT class points lead. The first podium finish for Wallace and Duno since the race at Mont-Tremblant in early May, their second-place showing today was a hard-fought and very welcome outcome.
"I'm very happy because the team has been working very, very hard and we've little to show for it," said Wallace. "We've had small problems such as contact with another car or something breaking, and ever since Mont-Tremblant we've really struggled to get on the podium. The component that's always been good and never let us down was the Pontiac engine: again today it was fantastic. It was really quick on the straights and it enabled me to be close enough to pass under braking, and that's really important."
Although it rained here most of the weekend - a result of Hurricane Tammy - the race was held in dry weather. However, at the start of the event not all of the track had dried and wet spots made handling tricky for many cars. Some cars inadvertently left the track and brought mud with them when they returned to the course, making it slicker in many areas. The #99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley slid into a hard-braking #6 Michael Shank Racing Pontiac Riley and had to withdraw due to a punctured radiator on lap 15. #99 co-driver Alex Gurney did not have a chance to get behind the wheel and challenge the other DP drivers on the course his father and road racing legend Dan Gurney frequented, although his co-driver Bob Stallings had moved up to eighth from 24th.
On lap 12, the #01 Lexus of Luis Diaz and Scott Pruett passed points leaders and polesitters Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor of the #10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley and the duo never regained the lead. The #01 car started the race second in points behind SunTrust and due to the cancellation of qualifying due to rain, was awarded the second-spot on the grid. Grid positions were determined by team points, placing the #10 car up front with their series rivals alongside them.
"We had good results for the day we had, but I am upset because we had a car that was capable to win the race and we finished fourth," said Angelelli "It wasn't because of us: the #59 Porsche hit us several times and gave me a flat tire. It's a little disappointing. We are still ahead in points, though."
The SunTrust team is still leading today's DP winners by 32 points but will travel to the final race in Mexico City with a chance that the #01 car could still win the championship. In the DP manufacturers championship battle, however, Pontiac leads Lexus by 52 points and has now clinched their second consecutive manufacturers championship.
Taking the lead in GT driver points are Marc Bunting and Andy Lally in the production-based #65 TRG Pontiac GTO.R. Having won the previous race at Watkins Glen two weeks ago with their sister car (#64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R) finishing second, the pair pulled ahead of points leader Craig Stanton by a single point today. Lally and Bunting had a hard-fought third-place finish here today; the final showdown for Lally was a battle with his roommate Spencer Pumpelly in the #38 Porsche GT3 Cup.
"I knew right before we went to that last yellow caution that Spencer didn't really have a lot of rear tire left," said Lally. "So I gave him room on the restart so as not to be on top of him and have the other competition right behind me. I opened on the guy behind me, and when I got to 'Spence' his tires were already off a lap or two and I could make my move. Today was one of the toughest races mentally because it was such a good race; plus we needed to get points for the championship lead. I'm really glad we did it, though."