SunTrust Racing Team To Start Third in Grand American's Watkins Glen Six Hour Race Watkins Glen, New York (June 2, 2006) -- Forty-six Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype and GT cars hit the track together for practice for...
SunTrust Racing Team To Start Third in Grand American's Watkins Glen Six Hour Race
Watkins Glen, New York (June 2, 2006) -- Forty-six Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Daytona Prototype and GT cars hit the track together for practice for the first time today after odd legal battles delayed the start of this weekend's Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen race activities (see grandamerican.com for further details). There were no race activities for the Daytona Prototype class yesterday and the qualifying session for today was cancelled with practice sessions being rescheduled and extended.
The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor, Max Angelelli and Ryan Briscoe clocked the sixth fastest time of the day during the three practice sessions, totaling three hours and 15 minutes, with a time of 1:45.974 at 115.50 mph average. The grid for tomorrow's six-hour endurance race on the historic 3.4-mile Watkins Glen circuit will be set by the current 2006 Grand American points championship, of which the SunTrust Racing team currently sits third in the standings.
"It's been a bit of an odd weekend as far as racing goes here," said Bill Riley, who oversees the running of the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley 5.0-liter, 500-horsepower race car. "Qualifying by points is the thing to do because it gave us another session for practice. It also makes all of the team and driver's hard work over the past three races to get up to third in the point standings that much more gratifying."
"Our practice sessions were good. I think we've got a good race car for tomorrow," said SunTrust car owner/driver Wayne Taylor. "The main thing is we have three drivers for the race. Ryan did a good job getting up to speed and I believe he was fourth quickest tonight. We've just been working on the set-up, running through the drivers and making little changes getting ready for the race."
"It's kind of weird because there is a lot of tension from the other teams about today's practice sessions," said Max "The Ax" Angelelli. "It has only been free practice, so we are not really looking for lap times, just set-up and time in the car. We will start from third regardless and nothing will change for tomorrow's race, which is the most important thing. We want to be good tomorrow and try to win this race."
"We're pretty happy with where we are," added Riley. "We're putting in a fresh engine tonight for the race, as scheduled, which should be a pretty good gain. The car is handling well. The tough part is getting all three drivers to agree on the set-up."
"I got quite a number of laps out there tonight and by the end of my stint in the car, I was feeling comfortable and my lap times were competitive," said Ryan Briscoe, rejoining the SunTrust team for the first time since the Rolex 24 At Daytona. "That's what I really wanted to get out of the session so tomorrow when we come in for the race, I'll be able to jump in and just feel at my own and be able to race competitively. I think we achieved that today, so I'm happy. The current plan is to have Max start, then Wayne will jump in and I'll go third. I plan to race strong, try to be fast, but stay out of trouble. It's a long race, but I think the pace is going to be quick."
The 24-year-old Briscoe is driving double-duty this weekend, also competing in the Indy Racing League's Watkins Glen Indy Grand Prix, a 60-lap race scheduled for Sunday, June 4.
"I have more track time than anyone here this weekend, which is an advantage," added the young Australian. "Obviously I don't drive these sports cars so often so it's a little bit of a disadvantage there. I think getting out of the IRL car into this, I've got to slow things down a little bit and it's fine. I think the transition won't be a problem at all."
Thursday Practice Session #1: No time. Session cancelled for Daytona Prototypes.
Friday Practice Session #2: Taylor and Angelelli practiced and Angelelli was the second fastest overall with a time of 1:46.312 at 115.13 mph as they worked to set-up the car.
Friday Practice Session #3: Angelelli and Taylor both practiced in Friday's mid-day session, continuing to advance on the car's set-up. Max turned the fastest lap of the session and the day to date, with a 1:45.974 at 115.50 mph.
Friday Practice Session #4: Ryan Briscoe practiced for the first hour of Friday night's two-hour practice session, achieving as high as fourth fastest. Both Taylor and Angelelli also got in some night practice times. Fastest of the session for the team was a time of 1:46.137 at 115.32 mph, set by Angelelli.
The Sahlen's Six Hours at the Glen endurance race will be televised live on SPEED on Saturday, June 3 from 2:30-8:30 p.m. ET.