Sweet Success on All Fronts For Pontiac at The Glen Pontiac-powered Daytona Prototypes Take 1-2-3 at Second Watkins Glen International Race of Season; ...
Sweet Success on All Fronts For Pontiac at The Glen
Pontiac-powered Daytona Prototypes Take 1-2-3 at Second Watkins Glen International Race of Season; #64 Pontiac GTO.R Wins GT Class
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. - Pontiac Motorsports arguably had its most significant night to date in the history of the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series as three of the manufacturer's race cars claimed all spots on the podium in the Daytona Prototype class and took first place in the GT class with its new production-based GTO.R. The points-leading SunTrust racing team, its #10 Pontiac Riley driven by Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli, took first place in the DP class while the #64 TRG GTO.R of Jan Magnussen and Paul Edwards had its first victory of the season-an especially noteworthy occasion considering the cars entered the Rolex Series mid-season.
"What can I say?" said Max Angelelli "I'm very happy! Honestly, I didn't expect a win because a win is always so difficult to build. But I am going to take this win with great pleasure. From my perspective this win will not change anything on our strategy and attitude towards the championship. Even it looks like a big gap between us and the second car in the championship, it is still very little. Everybody can remember last year we had an even larger margin and we almost got it. Still a long way to go."
The SunTrust racing team leads the team championship battle and its drivers Angelelli and Taylor are on top in driver points. The team is also instrumental in Pontiac's charge towards the manufacturers championship, a title they won last year. Other Pontiac teams are supporting that charge; the GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing team's #99 Pontiac Riley was right behind Angelelli, having passed Scott Pruett in his #01 Lexus Riley in lap 56, making contact in the process.
"It was an simply an awesome day for us," said Alex Gurney, co-driver of the #99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley. "We had a good strategy; my teammate Bob Stallings passed a bunch of guys in the start and everything just went our way. It's nice to be able to pass like that. Pruett gave me no room and it was tough to pass him, but we didn't have enough to pass Max Angelelli-he's a tough one to beat. Our car was amazing from the engine to the chassis."
TRG/Krohn Racing had another strong showing in the DP class; their #66 Pontiac Riley of Jorg Bergmeister and Christian Fittipaldi netting their second podium finish at Watkins Glen this season. In June, the duo took second here to teammates Nic Jonsson and Tracy Krohn in a rain-soaked finish.
TRG's Pontiac GTO.Rs had their best showing to date, and they would be hard-pressed to get much better than this. The fledgling program used pit strategy and the increased power a restrictor reduction had given them and Jan Magnussen and Paul Edwards drove the car to a first-in-class finish. Having pitted for a flat tire caused by contact with a DP car, the #64 car was behind but smart strategy by the team got them ahead-the car pulled in for another pit stop early for fuel and a driver change. Magnussen was able to take the lead as the rest of the GT cars made late pit stops and drove the car across the finish line for the GTO.R's first victory.
"It's a huge effort by our team and it's a great achievement for us," said Edwards. "It's only our second race (the #64 car did not race at Daytona due to unavailable replacement parts) and a first-place finish is more than we could hope for. We didn't have the best car in the race but the yellows worked out our way and Jan did a great job finishing the race. Hopefully this is an indicator of things to come."
The #65 Pontiac GTO.R was also in contention for a podium finish but a 10-second penalty assessed on a pit stop (a fuel man was not wearing his goggles) set them back. They were able to carve their way through the field to score a fourth-place finish, their second top-five finish in three races.
Pontiac will return to action on August 27 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The race will air the following day on SPEED TV at 12:00 p.m. EDT.