SunTrust Team Starts on Pole after Inclement Weather Forces Cancellation of VIR 400 Qualifying Alton, Virginia (October, 8, 2005) -- The SunTrust team will start on the pole for the VIR 400 after rain from the remnants of Hurricane Tammy forced...
SunTrust Team Starts on Pole after Inclement Weather Forces Cancellation of VIR 400 Qualifying
Alton, Virginia (October, 8, 2005) -- The SunTrust team will start on the pole for the VIR 400 after rain from the remnants of Hurricane Tammy forced Saturday afternoon's qualifying to be canceled. Wayne won a pole earlier this year at the Daytona 250.
Grand American officials canceled the session at Virginia International Raceway, stating persistent rain on the track and in the forecast as the reason. Because the SunTrust racing duo of Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli leads the Grand American Daytona Prototype team championship standings they were awarded the pole position.
"It's great to start on the pole, but we would have rather tried to qualify for it," said Bill Riley, team race director and owner of Riley Technologies. "In this scenario the pole position is given by points, so it's a nice deal for our team and driver. It's just great we were in the points lead and that's where we start, but I still would have rather we actually qualify for it, but I'll take it for sure."
The SunTrust team will have the opportunity to clinch the Daytona Prototype team championship at the VIR 400; the team currently has a 39-point lead over the second place No. 01 CompUSA/Ganassi Lexus Riley team of Luis Diaz and Scott Pruett. The SunTrust Pontiac Riley team has not finished lower than sixth position through 12 races this season.
"The goal for this race will be the same for every other race -- it doesn't change if we're on the pole or we aren't -- we want to be ahead of the 01 car," explained Wayne Taylor, starting driver of the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley who took the pole at the Daytona 250 in June. "These races go down to the last twenty minutes, so the priority is to bring the car in a good position and give Max a good car so we can do what we have to do at the end."
Angelelli, who took the pole at the Sahlen's Six Hours at The Glen, hopes for improved conditions for Sunday's race after multiple days of rain.
"The course itself is already a difficult one, but if it is raining on Sunday it will make everything more difficult," said Max Angelelli, nicknamed "Max the Ax" for his ability to slice through his competitors to the front of the field. "So, definitely we need nice, dry conditions where everybody can find what they are doing, and it is more of a nice race."
In 2004, the SunTrust team won the race here after qualified second. Max Angelelli held off Scott Pruett to the finish by a tiny margin of 0.87 seconds in what was the closest finish in Grand American history at the time. They have five victories to date this season and became the winningest team in Grand American history with a total of eight victories following their win at Watkins Glen last month.
Friday Practice Session #1: The SunTrust race team opted not to practice after persistent rain left areas of standing water on the 3.27 mile track. Only ten teams ventured onto the track Friday morning.
Friday Practice Session #2: Angelelli claimed the second fastest time of Friday afternoon's session, posting a 02:04.725 at a speed of 94.384 mph. Amid more rain, 33 cars practiced, of which 18 were Daytona Prototypes.
Saturday Practice Session #1: The entire field of 48 racers was able to practice Saturday morning as rain played less of a factor than it had on Friday. Taylor and Angelelli continued to work on race set-up and recorded the 12th best time of the session with a 02:05.505 at 93.797 mph.
Saturday Practice Session #2: Grand American allotted a small amount of time for an unscheduled practice after qualifying was canceled. The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley declined the opportunity, citing the team was content with the car's performance throughout the week and did not want to risk damaging the car in the wet conditions.
The Speed Channel broadcast of the VIR 400 will air live on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. ET. The race is a 250-mile/77-lap/two and three-quarter hour format.