Watkins Glen III: Milka Duno race report

Steering Problems Force Early Exit for CITGO Racing Team in Crown Royal 250 Howard-Boss Motorsports entry rebounds from practice accident at The Glen Watkins Glen, NY (September 24, 2005) -- The Watkins Glen International road course has not...

Steering Problems Force Early Exit for CITGO Racing Team in Crown Royal 250

Howard-Boss Motorsports entry rebounds from practice accident at The Glen

Watkins Glen, NY (September 24, 2005) -- The Watkins Glen International road course has not been kind to the CITGO Racing Team during the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series season. In the third and final visit to the historic course this year, steering problems forced an early exit from the Crown Royal 250 on Saturday afternoon.

The weekend started with practice for the Rolex Series cars on Thursday afternoon. Midway through the session, the #05 Porsche spun exiting the inner loop section of the course. The #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford, who was behind the spin, made hard contact with the Porsche heavily damaging both vehicles. With the front and left side of the CITGO car requiring major repairs, the Howard-Boss Motorsports Team began their long and tedious mission when the car was returned to the garage area.

Working late into the evening and beginning at sunrise on Friday, the CITGO Racing Team had their Pontiac Crawford repaired in less than eighteen hours and set for the first Rolex Series practice session of the day. Qualifying was Friday afternoon with Milka Duno selected as the pilot of the CITGO Pontiac Crawford. Duno turned a fast lap of 1:54.061 / 90.038 mph to earn the 20th starting position in the Crown Royal 250 field.

During the early laps of the 250-mile event, Duno was able to advance several positions before pitting on lap 13 for tires, fuel, and a driver change. However, a pit road speeding violation entering the pits resulted in a "stop-and-go" penalty for the CITGO Racing Team. On lap 16, Andy Wallace, now piloting the CITGO Pontiac Crawford, came to pit road to serve the penalty and rejoined the race in the 20th position.

Working his way through race traffic, Wallace was able to move solidly into the top ten when he made an unscheduled pit stop on lap 34. The CITGO crew began a thorough inspection of the steering system and determined that the problem was terminal. Completing 34 laps, the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford would finish 21st in the DP Class in the Crown Royal 250.

"We had high hopes going into our final race at The Glen as we had been improving with each of the two previous races there," Duno commented. "During Thursday's practice, a car spun in front of me that I just couldn't avoid. I tried to avoid the car by looking left and then right, but the car was right in the middle of the track. I ended up making contact with the left front of the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototype which caused tremendous damage. The crew did an absolutely incredible job working through the night to get the car ready for the next day and many thanks to them!"

"For me, the set-up was just not right and I had trouble delivering a good qualifying result on Friday," Duno added. "It was just not working for me at all. Once again the team worked very hard and made changes to the car that really showed in the final practice on Saturday before the race."

"We started the race with a good feeling and I was able to advance our position before handing the car off to Andy," Duno concluded. "He was able to take it as high as 7th overall before steering problems forced an early retirement. My thanks to the entire team for working so hard and so well for the entire weekend."

"There was a problem within the steering that put us out today," Wallace stated. "I was driving and could turn the wheel right and left, but the CITGO Pontiac Crawford would not turn. Obviously, I couldn't compete with that problem. The entire team did a marvelous job just getting the CITGO Pontiac Crawford repaired for us to race. This was an issue that was undetectable during those repairs and surfaced during the race. It's very unfortunate for the crew who worked overtime this weekend."

The next race for the CITGO Racing Team will be the VIR 400 at the Virginia International Raceway on Sunday, October 9th. Practice and qualifying will be held on Friday and Saturday, October 7-8. The 250-mile race is set for a 1 PM ET start on October 9th. Speed Channel will provide live coverage of the 13th event on the Rolex Series Sports Car schedule.

CITGO, based in Houston, Texas, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, refined waxes, asphalt and other industrial products. The company is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information on CITGO visit www.citgo.com.

Milka is currently featured in Pontiac's largest ever Spanish language advertising campaign launching an all-new sports sedan -- the Pontiac G6. Pontiac is a division of General Motors Corporation (NYSE: GM) and markets the Bonneville, GTO, Grand Prix, Grand Am, G6, Vibe and Sunfire. In 2003, Pontiac sold more than 475,000 vehicles, ranking third among GM divisions in total sales. 2004/2005 will see Pontiac launch an exciting new range of vehicles including the Montana SV6, G6 coupe, G6 convertible and the Solstice roadster. More information on Pontiac and its products can be found at www.pontiac.com. Information in Spanish can be found at www.pontiac.com/sp.

For additional information on Milka and Andy please visit www.milkaduno.com or www.andywallace.com, respectively. For more information on the Rolex Sports Car Series log on to www.grandamerican.com.

-hc-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Wallace , Milka Duno