June 20, 2004 -- The 22nd running of the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International began this Sunday, June 20th, with the green flag waving at 11:12am EST. Milka Duno was 12th on the grid in the cockpit of the team's ...
June 20, 2004 -- The 22nd running of the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen at Watkins Glen International began this Sunday, June 20th, with the green flag waving at 11:12am EST. Milka Duno was 12th on the grid in the cockpit of the team's #2 CITGO-branded Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototype. Teammates Andy Wallace and Jan Lammers were to follow in order.
What was supposed to be a six-hour race turned out to be three hours of "stay out of trouble" and only three hours of racing. What surely must be a record number of yellow flags for a sports car race here at Watkins Glen saw 30 of the first 100 laps run under caution.
After a full six hours and a total of 164 laps, Andy brought the car across the finish line in 7th overall and 7th in class.
As the race qualifier Milka started the race in the 12th position and navigated through 3 full-course cautions before handing the car over to Andy. During her 57+ minutes in the car she was able to stay out of the trouble that caused the cautions. However, on a restart when she was in 5th position overall, Milka had slight contact with car #7 as the field piled into the tight first turn causing a reluctant but necessary pit stop under a rare green flag for a precautionary safety check.
Whilst checking the suspension, the team took this opportunity to also put Andy in the car, resuming down in 20th position and a lap down. Luckily for the team, Andy thrives on challenge -- and he had quite a challenge ahead.
Forty minutes later, Andy reported over the radio that water was spraying onto the windshield. The water leakage was another matter that required the car to be taken behind pit wall. They quickly discovered that a water hose had been knocked loose and had caused all the water to drain. The hose was repaired, the water filled, and back on course Andy went, unfortunately losing another lap and any chance of a podium in the process.
For the next 1 ½ hours Andy battled his way through even more full-course cautions and by mid-race he was scored 13th overall -- a gain of 7 hard-fought positions.
At lap 75 Andy handed the car over to Jan who battled for a solid 1 hour and 35 minutes and a total of 45 laps. Other than a stop for tires and fuel Jan continued to advance the car's position while staying safe.
Andy then got back in the car for the last charge of the day -- taking over at lap 120 -- and bringing the car and team to the 7th place finish.
From the very first hour of the race -- to the last -- the team and all three drivers advanced their position each and every hour.
"There was really a lot happening out on the track -- especially at the start," said Milka. "I tried my best to stay out of trouble and advance our position at the same time. Both Andy and Jan were able to do that as well. We were competitive really worked very hard for this finish and I'd like to thank everyone for working so hard -- and so well."
"I had a pretty clean run for my time in the car," commented Jan. "I wasn't able to do too much time in the car in the practices so I was still finding my way. Usually what is good is if you can get in the car, then get out, and then get back in -- that second time in the car is improved. Andy is the most skilled with this car and so gets a majority of the practice laps to perfect the set-up, then what is left needs and should go to Milka. My function is to go as best as I can with the least time. But now this is my second race in the car and my third race with the team and Milka will be at Daytona -- so it should all come together even better then."
"It was a tough day for us from the very beginning," said Andy. "With the first green flag stop and then the water hose repair we were two laps down. It is very hard to overcome that and with that in mind a 7th place finish is a good finish."
CITGO, based in Tulsa, Okla., 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.
Additional information on drivers Milka Duno and Andy Wallace is available at www.milkaduno.com and www.andywallace.com, respectively. For more information on the Grand American Sports Car Series please visit www.grandamerican.com.