Wallace, Stewart Experience Tough Outing at Watkins Glen 20 CITGO Racing Team had high hopes for Comp USA 200 Watkins Glen, NY (August 14, 2005) . Andy Wallace and Tony Stewart are two of the premiere racers in the world of motorsports.
Wallace, Stewart Experience Tough Outing at Watkins Glen 20 CITGO Racing Team had high hopes for Comp USA 200
Watkins Glen, NY (August 14, 2005) . Andy Wallace and Tony Stewart are two of the premiere racers in the world of motorsports. However, they are still searching for their elusive first win as teammates in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series after a mechanical problem brought a premature ending to their podium hopes in the Comp USA 200 at The Glen on Friday evening.
The pairing of road-racer Wallace and NASCAR Champion Stewart has produced many great memories for the CITGO Racing Team during their brief association. They have dominated the Rolex 24 At Daytona and thrilled race fans throughout the world with their talents. However, a mechanical problem on lap 63 sent Wallace spinning in turn ten at Watkins Glen International and took the duo out of contention for a possible podium finish. The result was a 21st-place finish in the Daytona Prototype class.
Stewart, competing in his third Rolex Series race of the 2005 season in the CITGO Pontiac Crawford, started the 200-mile, 2-hour race in the 23rd position. In fact, when Stewart climbed aboard the CITGO Pontiac Crawford for pace and parade laps, it was his first time in the car during the weekend. After his historic victory in the NASCAR Brickyard 400 six days earlier, Stewart did not arrive at the 2.45-mile course until Friday morning.
However, it didn't take Stewart long to show the competition that he feels right at home behind the wheel of the CITGO Pontiac Crawford as he charged to the 17th position by lap ten. After the first caution of the race, Stewart restarted in 12th position on lap 19. Seven laps later, the current Nextel point leader moved into the top ten. Then, on lap 27, Stewart avoided a potential disaster.
The #54 car driven by Ralf Kelleners spun directly in front of Stewart as they entered turn one. Stewart had to take evasive action and swerve off course to avoid a major collision with the spinning car. Although he was able to continue and maintain his position, the CITGO Pontiac Crawford would suffer damage that would eventually end their race.
Stewart brought the CITGO Pontiac Crawford to pit road on lap 39 under caution for service and a driver change. Andy Wallace would climb aboard and restart the Comp USA 200 in the eighth position. Wallace would maintain his eighth position for the next thirteen laps before he began feeling something was amiss with the handling of the car. After falling back to tenth, the car took a sudden spin into the gravel trap in turn ten. Wallace was able to continue and drive back to the pits where the CITGO Racing Team determined that a mechanical problem would end their race. Completing 64 laps, the CITGO Pontiac Crawford would finish 21st in class.
"The car made a sudden spin entering turn ten and off the course," Wallace noted. "I began feeling something a couple of laps earlier, but the CITGO Pontiac Crawford continued to run strong. It's disappointing for everyone associated with our CITGO team, but we'll be back at Mid-Ohio going for the podium."
"I made a mistake driver-wise when I came in the pits," Stewart commented. "I keep forgetting the fuel hose is only so long, so we cost ourselves a little bit of time there. The guys on the CITGO team were quick to react and get fuel in without much of a delay. They did an awesome job. I was just starting to get the hang of it when I had to get out, but I always have fun in this Pontiac Crawford. This team is family-run and family- owned, and they do such a great job. They're so passionate about this. Their attitude about racing is the same as mine. I really just enjoy doing this with the Crawford family. CITGO is a great sponsor. They've been very supportive of this family and the whole operation. Howard-Boss Motorsports has just done a great job of helping us out."
The Comp USA 200 at The Glen was the second of three races for the special CITGO / MDA paint scheme. The #2 CITGO / MDA Pontiac Crawford debuted at Barber Motorsports Park on July 31st and the will also compete in the EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 27th.
The next race for the Rolex Sports Car Series is the EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Road Racing Course on Saturday, August 27th. Speed Channel will provide tape-delayed coverage of the event at noon on Sunday, August 28th. Andy Wallace and Milka Duno will team in the #2 CITGO / MDA Pontiac Crawford at Mid-Ohio.