Watkins Glen II: Race report

Angelelli & Taylor Take Fourth Rolex Series Win of the Season in CompUSA 200 at The Glen WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. August 12, 2005) -- The beat goes on for No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley co-drivers Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor, as the duo scored...

Angelelli & Taylor Take Fourth Rolex Series Win of the Season in CompUSA 200 at The Glen

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. August 12, 2005) -- The beat goes on for No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley co-drivers Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor, as the duo scored their fourth Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series victory of the season and their second-in-a-row with their triumph in Friday night's CompUSA 200 at The Glen.

After taking over the controls from Taylor--who started fifth--just past the halfway point in the race, Angelelli stalked then-race-leader Scott Pruett in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley for several laps before rocketing past the defending Daytona Prototype co-champion in the famed Watkins Glen International "inner loop" chicane on Lap 55 of the 75-lap event.

The Italian then had to stave off a hard-charging Alex Gurney in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Blackhawk Racing Pontiac Riley in two restarts late in the race, the last of which came with just two laps remaining. Angelelli did just that--leading a total of 21 laps--and crossed the start/finish line just 0.711 seconds ahead of Gurney to secure the victory. It was the second time this season that Angelelli and Taylor have taken consecutive victories, as the duo opened the year with wins in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona and the Grand Prix of Miami.

"There was a lot of pressure because I was building a little gap to be comfortable for the last five laps, and the last yellow came," Angelelli said. "It scared me a little bit. I really concentrated, and I tried to turn a good first lap. I was lucky to have it, and I built my gap."

With their series-leading fourth win of the season, Angelelli and Taylor managed to extend their lead in the Daytona Prototype driver standings once again. The No. 10 teammates are now 21 points (282-261) ahead of Pruett and his No. 01 co-driver Luis Diaz with nine of 14 races completed.

""It was a lot of fun," Taylor said. "I had some difficulty getting through traffic and getting passed under yellow. Our plan was obviously to be ahead of the No. 01 car, and if you can be ahead of the No. 01 car, you can win the race. Max and all these guys did an outstanding job. From a points standpoint, it's a little better for us, because Scott fell back out of the top three."

Competing in just their fourth Rolex Series race, Gurney and his No. 99 car owner and co-driver Bob Stallings posted career-best results with their runner-up finish. Gurney has quickly adapted to Daytona Prototype racing, as he traded paint with Pruett to take over second place in Turn 1 on Lap 56. The runner-up result for Stallings and Gurney comes on the heels of Gurney's first career Rolex Series pole position at Barber Motorsports Park nearly two weeks ago.

"Everything worked out right today," Gurney said. "Our strategy was to come from 21st to second, and the challenge was great. Everything worked well, and the car was awesome. We made it through all the traffic, but we didn't quite have enough for Max at the end. We are glad to be on the podium. It's our first time in only our fourth race."

"Yesterday was the first time I saw this track, ever, in my life," Stallings added. "I saw it on TV a couple times, and I was very tentative my first couple times out. Alex is my coach, and he showed me a lot of things. I was more comfortable in the car in the last practice session. We started way in the back, and I was fortunate to move up six positions before I ended up coming in. Our strategy all along was to get me out as soon as we could, and get this rabbit (Gurney) in the car. He just did a heck of a job."

No. 66 Krohn Racing/TRG Pontiac Riley co-drivers Jorg Bergmeister and Christian Fittipaldi capped an eventful two days at Watkins Glen with a third-place performance. Bergmeister put the race car on the outside of the front row midway through Thursday's qualifying session, but a crash shortly thereafter kept the No. 66 off the track for the final practice session as the crew made repairs.

Bergmeister dropped back in the field slightly at the start, but came roaring back and took the lead on Lap 15. The German led a total of five laps before turning over the blue and silver Daytona Prototype to Fittipaldi in a Lap 21 pit stop. The decisive moment in Fittipaldi's portion of the race came on Lap 56, when he overtook Pruett for third place shortly after Gurney's bold move to claim the second position.

Diaz and Pruett--who led for 14 laps--wound up fourth in the final rundown for their sixth top-five result in nine Rolex Series starts this season. Completing the top five were Elliott Forbes-Robinson and Butch Leitzinger in the No. 4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford for Howard-Boss Motorsports. It was the fifth top-five performance of the year for Leitzinger and EFR.

EDWARDS AND MAGNUSSEN DRIVE PONTIAC GTO.R TO MAIDEN ROLEX SERIES GT VICTORY

Making just their second start of the season in the Rolex Series GT class, No. 64 TRG Pontiac GTO.R co-drivers Paul Edwards and Jan Magnussen earned the first class victory for the new GTO.R, holding off the No. 16 F1 Air BMW M3 of Justin Marks and Joey Hand by just 0.285 seconds.

After Edwards started fifth, Magnussen took over for the second half and was able to work his way through the field. It was Magnussen's second-straight Rolex Series victory at Watkins Glen International, as the Dane claimed an overall win alongside then-co-driver Didier Theys in the Sahlen's 200 last August.

"It was tight racing with the yellows, but everyone seemed to respect each other," Magnussen said. "Paul did a good job to recover from the flat tire and keep the car toward the front. It was good racing at the end with the BMW. We won the race on consistency and strategy, maybe next time we can win on speed."

"It's awesome," Edwards said. "The win here is a huge achievement for the team. We weren't the fastest car today. We were really consistent, and it just worked our way. Luckily this time we had the yellows at the end. We were looking iffy for the fuel, so it worked for us."

Marks started the car on the GT pole and led most the first half of the race before handing-off the No. 16 to BMW Team PTG co-driver Hand on Lap 41. Pit stops shuffled the car back into the order, and Hand was unable to catch the determined Magnussen. The runner-up result snapped a two-race class win streak for Hand and Marks, but was their third-straight podium finish together and was Marks' sixth-straight class podium.

"Justin did a great job from the beginning as usual," Hand said. "We started from the pole, and Justin held the lead the whole time. He pitted and we lost the lead somehow, I don't know what happened. I raced them as hard as I could, I was at full tilt. We got the yellow, and it allowed us to catch up with Magnussen in the end. The No. 80 car was back in fifth or sixth, so I didn't want to be too risky because we wanted the points for the championship. The F1 Air BMW M3 was good, I can't say enough about it. We were looking for 52 wins out of 104 starts to be 50-50 (for BMW Team PTG), so we'll have to win two more to be 50-50."

With the second-place finish, Hand is now in sole possession of the second spot in the GT point standings. He trails No. 80 Synergy Racing Porsche driver Craig Stanton by 11 points, 253-242, with nine of 14 races now in the books. Stanton's co-driver David Murry is third with 235 points, and Marks is only one point back in fourth.

"It was a good points day for us because the No. 80 guys finished further back," Marks said. "I pushed really hard to get the biggest lead possible, and with all the pit stops it was a screwy race. The Pontiacs were able to get better track position, and I guess the GTO has arrived. We're just going to have to be a little crafty to beat those guys from now on. We're happy with second place -- it's better than third."

Spencer Pumpelly and John Littlechild in the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup finished third to make it three different manufacturers on the podium. It was the second podium in less than a week for Pumpelly who finished second in class in the Grand-Am Cup Series Trois-Rivieres Grand Sport 150 in Quebec, Canada last Sunday.

TRG teammates Andy Lally and Marc Bunting in the No. 65 Pontiac GTO.R finished fourth for the second race-in-a-row, which allowed them to take sole ownership of fifth spot in the points championship (223 points). Chris Gleason and Ian James in the No. 22 BMW Team PTG M3 finished fifth.

NOTEBOOK

Polesitter Fabrizio Gollin led twice for a race-high 29 laps in the No. 77 Crown Royal Special Reserve. However, he and co-driver Matteo Bobbi faded in the second half and finished 10th-- No. 8 Rx.com/Synergy Racing driver Brian Frisselle led the first three laps of his Rolex Series career in the CompUSA 200, heading the field from Lap 38 through Lap 40. He and his brother/co-driver Burt Frisselle wound up 11th in the final race standings-- Michael McDowell also led for three laps in the No. 19 Make A Wish/Air Force Reserve/Commercial Defeasance BMW Riley for Finlay Motorsports, but his run at the front would be short-lived. McDowell took the lead shortly after making side-to-side contact with the No. 94 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup of Bransen Patch. The contact resulted in damage to the left side of McDowell's Finlay Motorsports Daytona Prototype and a subsequent one-minute penalty for what race officials determined to be avoidable contact with the No. 94. McDowell and co-driver Memo Gidley wound up 20th in the Daytona Prototype class and 34th overall, six laps in arrears of the race winners-- It was a tough night for the four NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series stars that competed in the CompUSA 200. Bobby and Terry Labonte were the highest finishers, bringing the Doran Labonte Racing No. 44 Loctite Pontiac Doran home in 14th place. Kyle Petty and No. 7 Tuttle Team Racing/SAMAX Pontiac Riley co-driver and car owner Brian Tuttle finished f19th in the Daytona Prototype class and 32nd overall, five laps down. NEXTEL Cup points leader Tony Stewart charged into the top 10 after starting last in the field in the No. 20 CITGO Howard Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford. Stewart narrowly missed a spinning Ralf Kelleners in the No. 54 Kodak EasyShare Pontiac Doran, but his evasive action left the No. 20 machine with some suspension damage. The suspension problems came to a head on Lap 65 with Andy Wallace at the controls, as the Englishman slid into the Turn 10 gravel trap and subsequently retired. Wallace and Stewart were credited with 21st place in the Daytona Prototype class and 37th place overall.

-garra-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Wallace , Terry Labonte , Tony Stewart , Kyle Petty , Alex Gurney , Paul Edwards , Fabrizio Gollin , Jan Magnussen , Ralf Kelleners , Didier Theys , Memo Gidley , Christian Fittipaldi , Wayne Taylor , David Murry , Joey Hand , Elliott Forbes-Robinson , Luis Diaz , Ian James , Andy Lally , Jörg Bergmeister , Michael McDowell , Matteo Bobbi , Max Angelelli , Justin Marks , Burt Frisselle , Chris Gleason , Spencer Pumpelly , Bransen Patch , Craig Stanton , John Littlechild , Marc Bunting , Chip Ganassi , Brian Frisselle , Bob Stallings , Brian Tuttle
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Krohn Racing , Autometrics Motorsports