SunTrust Team Finishes Fourth at VIR 400 and Now Poised to Capture Championship at Finale Alton, Virginia (October, 9, 2005) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley race team of Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli finished fourth in today's VIR 400...
SunTrust Team Finishes Fourth at VIR 400 and Now Poised to Capture Championship at Finale
Alton, Virginia (October, 9, 2005) -- The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley race team of Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli finished fourth in today's VIR 400 after starting from the pole in another dramatic Grand American race. Although the team was unable to clinch the 2005 Grand American Daytona Prototype team championship with today's finish, the SunTrust team earned enough points to win the championship by simply starting the next race at Mexico City.
The fourth-place finish enabled the SunTrust team to maintain a significant 32-point lead over the No. 01 CompUSA/Ganassi racing duo of Luis Diaz and Scott Pruett, 407-375.
With only twenty Daytona Prototypes scheduled to compete in the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez next month, the SunTrust team would take the team championship in Mexico City as long as they cross the green flag at the race start. Should the team finish in twentieth place they would earn 11 points, while the No. 01 car could earn 35 points for a victory. That scenario would give the SunTrust team a 418 to 410 advantage in team points and the championship.
"For the series I think it's really good because the series has made it such a competitive playing field," said Taylor, a native of South Africa. "For us to clinch the championship this weekend you would lose a bit of the excitement and everything going to the finale. We had an incident during the race while Max was driving. We effectively lost our position to clinch the championship at that point. We dropped way back and recovered to fourth. It's ironic because the championship I won in 1996 with Bill Riley, all we had to do was start and that's all we have to do again in Mexico. It's just amazing."
Riley also finds the situation interesting.
"We have to take the green flag in Mexico to win the championship," said Riley. "That's actually the same way we did it with the IMSA championship in 1996."
Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli would tie for the driver championship if each driver completes one lap in Mexico City.
In today's VIR 400, Taylor led the first 11 laps before rival Luis Diaz got around him and raced into the lead. Just five laps after Taylor handed the car off to Angelelli, the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar, driven by J.C. France, abruptly struck the SunTrust car in turn one of lap 36, resulting in a flat left-rear tire and damage to the left side of the rear spoiler."I'm really sad because the 59 car did an unnecessary, stupid move. This is not the way a racing driver should perform at the race track," said a disappointed Angelelli. "We could have ended our championship hopes right there. I don't know how I brought back the car. We were lucky regarding this. It's just a shame because I was already celebrating the championship, more or less, because I had the best car. So now we have to move the celebration to Mexico."
Fortunately, Angelelli was able to recover from what could have been a disastrous affair. After taking an unscheduled pit stop under green flag conditions to change the tire, Angelelli quickly made up for lost time and again emerged amongst the race leaders, moving from twentieth to fourth in less than 30 laps.
"We had a pretty bad day, and unfortunately we got hit around a few times, but Max did a great job and Wayne did a great job," said Bill Riley, team director and owner of Riley Technologies. "When you have a bad day and finish fourth, we'll take it."
b^0x001cThe weekend was terrific," said John Mauney, senior vice president of marketing services, SunTrust Bank. "We had a couple of bad luck situations but the team did an incredible job to bring Max in at fourth place. The exciting thing is we can go to Mexico, and while we still have some work to do, it's going to be a celebration of the championship. SunTrust couldn't be more excited."
Diaz and Pruett, the SunTrust's team's Grand American rivals and closest competitiors were victorious at the VIR 400, their third victory of the year.
"I have to say that Luis and Scott and the Ganassi team really did a good job," added Taylor. "Luis drove really well, Scott drove well. They deserve to win."
The No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford driven by Milka Duno and Andy Wallace finished in second, while the No. 77 Doran Racing Lexus Doran driven by Fabrizio Gollin and Matteo Bobbi claimed third. There were seven cautions for 22 of the 74-lap penultimate round of the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.
Although the team did not secure the 2005 Daytona Prototype team championship or finish on the podium today, Taylor and Angelelli's fourth place finish continued an impressive streak of finishing in sixth place or higher, a run that dates back 17 races to 2004's Miami 250.
"It's been a great weekend for SunTrust racing and great to have this team in the Mid-Atlantic franchise," said C.T. Hill, president and CEO of SunTrust's Mid-Atlantic region. "What Wayne and Max are doing to really improve the overall vision for the company and put people thinking about SunTrust is really great for the company overall."