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 Taylor's SunTrust team takes 2nd straight in Homestead

March 5, 2005


Winning SunTrust Pontiac
Grand-Am

In the second-closest finish in Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series history, Rolex 24 At Daytona winners Wayne Taylor and Max Angelelli picked up their second-straight Rolex Series triumph in the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Driving the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley, Angelelli claimed the lead from the No. 8 Rx.com/Synergy Racing BMW Doran of Burt Frisselle on Lap 43 of the 109-lap race and held off a hard-charging Butch Leitzinger in the No. 4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford by 1.198 seconds to secure the victory. The margin of victory was second only to the 2004 VIR 400 presented by SunTrust, when Angelelli and Taylor beat eventual Daytona Prototype co-champions Scott Pruett and Max Papis to the stripe by a scant 0.87 seconds. Angelelli led a race-high 67 laps.

“I remember last year’s race here very well—I ended up in the medical center (due to dehydration),” Angelelli said. “This year was difficult as well. It’s good to race in Miami at this time of year. It’s pretty hot later in the year. I saved a little bit in my pocket in case I had to use it, and I used it. I was pushing some at the end.”


Angelelli (L) and Taylor enjoy the spoils of victory
Grand-Am

With the victory, Angelelli and Taylor also became just the second set of co-drivers to win the first two races of a season in Rolex Series history. Mauro Baldi and Didier Theys were the only other teammates to sweep the first two races of a season, which they accomplished in 2002. The triumph also enabled the SunTrust duo to extend their Daytona Prototype points lead to six points (70-64) over Leitzinger and Elliott Forbes-Robinson with two of 14-races now in the books.

“I’d like to think we came from a strong year last year,” Taylor said. “In the off-season, we got a new car and really prepared it with all the right ingredients. There really is some luck involved, but I think we had all the right ingredients to make it happen. Finishing in the top five is like finishing in the top three last year.”

After trailing by more than seven seconds as the race approached its conclusion, Leitzinger began chipping away at Angelelli’s lead and took advantage of a full-course caution on Lap 93 to close up behind the No. 10 machine. Despite fuel-pickup problems, Leitzinger benefited from lapped traffic and crossed the start/finish line by three-tenths of a second with two laps remaining before Angelelli pulled away at the finish.


Max "the Axe" Angelelli showed why he earned his moniker as he celebrates his victory with Wayne Taylor in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley at the Grand Prix of Miami
Grand-Am

“Really, the only way I could have gotten around Max was through a really opportunistic move,” Leitzinger said. “I took a gamble (as both cars approached the lapped car of Chad McQueen), but it didn’t work. It was a long shot move anyway. Max was a little bit quicker than me. I missed the setup a little bit with the change of temperature. I didn’t quite compensate enough when we made our race setup and that hurt us a little bit. We were very close. I’m very happy with the team today, and to continue all the momentum we’ve had with these podiums.”
 
Forbes-Robinson and Leitzinger finished second for the third-consecutive time dating to a second-place showing in the Lexus Grand American 400 at California Speedway to close out the 2004 season. It was also the sixth-straight time that EFR and Leitzinger had finished inside the top-four positions and was their fifth podium in six events dating to a third-place performance in the Miami 250 last September.

“Second place here, second in the Rolex 24, and we ended off last year like that,” Forbes-Robinson said. “We seem to be stuck there at second, so we’ve got to win one. The car was so much better. The Crawford guys have done some development and made our car better. We were a little bit off before, and we’re not that way now. The Pontiac engine is better than before. We need just a little bit. We were close on our setup. I think we can win the next one out here.”

In just the team’s second Daytona Prototype start, the Krohn Racing/TRG team placed both its cars in the top four. Finishing third was Jorg Bergmeister and defending Daytona Prototype co-champion Max Papis in the No. 66 Pontiac Riley. It was Papis’ best career Rolex Series result at Homestead-Miami Speedway and was the best showing for the Miami resident since winning his first Champ Car race on the Homestead oval in 2000.

“It was a fantastic success for us today,” Papis said. “It was the first time for the Pontiac TRG car on the podium. Jorg did a fantastic job in the beginning to bring the car from 11th up to the front. We still don’t know a lot about the car and we got a great result. It shows we’ve got a lot of determination.”

Krohn Racing/TRG co-owner and driver Tracy Krohn and Nic Jonsson brought the No. 67 Pontiac Riley home in fourth place to complete a sweep of the top-four positions for Pontiac. The other defending Daytona Prototype co-champion, Scott Pruett, finished fifth alongside co-driver Luis Diaz in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley.

There were four lead changes among five different cars, and the race was slowed by full-course caution five times for a total of 22 laps.

BUNTING AND LALLY BREAK THROUGH FOR GT WIN
No. 65 Auto Gallery/TRG Porsche GT3 Cup co-drivers Andy Lally and Marc Bunting—who claimed the lone Rolex Series Super Grand Sport (SGS) driver championship in 2004—returned to their winning ways in the Grand Prix of Miami. Lally claimed the class lead when Joey Hand made a pit stop in the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3 on Lap 70 and cruised the rest of the way to the victory by one lap over the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup of Michael Levitas and Randy Pobst.

“(Team owner) Kevin (Buckler) made a great call that put us in the lead,” Bunting said. “We stayed out when the 36 car pitted under caution and we ended up getting a wave-by. That got us a half-lap on the 36. That’s what got it for us. Michael (Levitas) ran over and asked us if we hadn’t pitted. Fortunately, we made the right call on the pit stop and got lucky.  It was awesome. There’s no better way to start out a season. I couldn’t be happier to finish on top of the podium. Andy did a great job and Kevin made a great call to get half a lap back.”

It was the second consecutive Homestead victory for the Auto Gallery/TRG team, as Buckler and co-driver Tom Nastasi took the GT class win in the Miami 250 last September. The triumph was also vindication of sorts for Bunting and Lally, as an eighth-place class showing in the 2004 Miami 250 was the only race in which they did not finish on the SGS class podium. The triumph also moved Lally and Bunting into the GT points lead.

“We took the points lead, we can’t complain about that,” Lally said. “It was a super race. Marc gave me a great car. We made the right calls today and the cards fell our way. We’ve also gotten bit on calls like that, actually.”

TPC Racing placed two cars on the GT podium, as John Littlechild and Spencer Pumpelly brought the No. 37 Porsche GT3 Cup home in third place. The team, which won the SGS team title last year, has now placed at least one car on its class podium in 14 consecutive races.

David Murry and Craig Stanton finished fourth in the No. 80 Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup, while Leh Keen and Cory Friedman filled out the GT top five with a fifth-place performance in the No. 14 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup.

Results

Final race results for the Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway with running position, (car number), drivers and hometowns, class, car and laps completed.
Race Stats - time of race: 2:43:43.312, distance: 109 laps, 250 miles, average speed: 91.875 mph, victory margin: 1.198 seconds.
1. (10 ) Wayne Taylor, Altamonte Springs, Fla.; Max Angelelli, Italy, DP , SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley , 109.
2. (4 ) Elliott Forbes-Robinson, Sherrills Ford, N.C.; Butch Leitzinger, Rebersburg, Pa., DP , Howard - Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford , 109.
3. (66 ) Jorg Bergmeister, Germany; Max Papis, Miami, Fla., DP , Krohn Racing/ TRG Pontiac Riley , 109.
4. (67 ) Tracy Krohn, Houston, Texas; Nic Jonsson, Buford, Ga., DP , Krohn Racing/ TRG Pontiac Riley , 109.
5. (01 ) Luis Diaz, Mexico City, Mexico; Scott Pruett, McMinnville, Oregon, DP , CompUSA Chip Ganassi with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley , 109.
6. (54 ) Christian Fittipaldi, Brazil; Terry Borcheller, Gainesville, Ga., DP , Kodak - Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran , 109.
7. (02 ) Cort Wagner, Los Angeles, Calif.; Stefan Johansson, Sweden, DP , New Century Mtg/ Chip Ganassi w/Sabates Lexus Riley , 108.
8. (58 ) Darren Law, Phoenix, Ariz.; David Donohue, Westchester, Pa., DP , Red Bull/ Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar , 108.
9. (2 ) Milka Duno, Venezuela; Andy Wallace, England, DP , CITGO - Howard - Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford , 108.
10. (19 ) Memo Gidley, Novato, Calif.; Michael McDowell, Charlotte, N.C., DP , Ten Motorsports BMW Riley , 107.
11. (77 ) Matteo Bobbi, Monaco; Fabrizio Gollin, Italy, DP , Doran Racing Lexus Doran , 107.
12. (3 ) Shane Lewis, Jupiter, Fla.; Darius Grala, Poland, DP , Southard Motorsports BMW Riley , 107.
13. (6 ) Mike Borkowski, Scottsdale, Ariz.; Paul Mears Jr, Orlando, Fla., DP , Michael Shank Racing Pontiac Riley , 106.
14. (59 ) JC France, Ormond, Fla.; Hurley Haywood, Ponte Vedra, Fla., DP , Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar , 106.
15. (8 ) Burt Frisselle, Aventura, Fla.; Brian Frisselle, Aventura, Fla., DP , Rx.com/ Synergy Racing BMW Doran , 105.
16. (65 ) Marc Bunting, Monkton, Md.; Andy Lally, Dacula, Ga., GT , Auto Gallery/ TRG Porsche GT3 Cup, 105.
17. (36 ) Michael Levitas, Baltimore, Md.; Randy Pobst, Gainesville, Ga., GT , TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup , 104.
18. (18 ) Chris Bingham, Bellevue, Wash.; Hugo Guenette, Blainville, Quebec, Canada; Johnny Miller, Gray, Tenn., DP , CB Motorsports/ Chase Competition Eng Pontiac Chase , 104.
19. (25 ) Dominic Cicero II, Vancouver, Wash.; Chad McQueen, Los Angeles, Calif.; John Bender, Vancouver, Wash., DP , Westernesse Racing Ford Crawford , 103.
20. (37 ) John Littlechild, Medfield, Mass.; Spencer Pumpelly, Mason Neck, Va., GT , TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup , 103.
21. (80 ) David Murry, Cumming, Ga.; Craig Stanton, Long Beach, Calif.; Mae Van Wijk, Kingwood, Texas, GT , Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup, 103.
22. (14 ) Leh Keen, Dublin, Ga.; Cory Friedman, Charleston, S.C., GT , Autometrics Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup, 103.
23. (35 ) Emil Assentato, Locust Valley, N.Y.; Nick Longhi, Locust Valley, N.Y., GT , TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup , 103.
24. (21 ) Joey Hand, Sacramento, Calif.; Bill Auberlen, Santa Monica, Calif., GT , Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 , 103.
25. (07 ) Bob Ward, Casselberry, Fla.; Roberto Moreno, Brazil, DP , Spirit of Daytona Racing Pontiac Crawford , 102.
26. (81 ) Mae Van Wijk, Kingwood, Texas; David Murry, Cumming, Ga.; Craig Stanton, Long Beach, Calif., GT , Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup , 102.
27. (43 ) Will Nonnamaker, North Canton, Ohio; Wayne Nonnamaker, Massillon, Ohio, GT , Team Sahlen Porsche GT3 Cup , 102.
28. (11 ) Mike Zoi, Aventura, Fla.; Constantino Bertuzzi, Italy; Matt Plumb, Newport, R.I., GT , JMB Racing USA Ferrari 360 Challenge, 102.
29. (73 ) Andrew Davis, Bogart, Ga.; Jim Tafel, Alpharetta, Ga., GT , Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup , 102.
30. (38 ) Manuel Matos, Puerto Rico; Mike Fitzgerald, Scottsdale, Ariz., GT , TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup , 102.
31. (88 ) Robert Nearn, England; Steve Johnson, Bristol, Va., GT , Autometrics Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup, 102.
32. (04 ) Gene Sigal, Los Angeles, Calif.; Nikolas Konstant, Beverly Hills, Calif., GT , Sigalsport Porsche GT3 Cup, 101.
33. (30 ) Carlos de Quesada, Coral Gables, Fla.; Hugh Plumb, Chadds Ford, Pa., GT , Alegra Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup , 100.
34. (09 ) Stephan Gregoire, France; Doug Goad, Farmington Hills, Mich., DP , Spirit of Daytona Racing Pontiac Crawford , 97.
35. (61 ) Bryan Sellers, Sacramento, Calif.; Ryan Dalziel, Orlando, Fla., GT , TRG East Porsche GT3 Cup , 96.
36. (94 ) Bransen Patch, Matthews, N.C.; Thomas Soriano, Rutland, Vermont, GT , Autometrics Motorsports Porsche GT3 Cup, 95.
37. (16 ) Justin Marks, Chico, Calif.; Tom Milner, Winchester, Va., GT , Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 , 89.
38. (39 ) Jim Matthews, Chapel Hill, N.C.; Guy Smith, England, DP , Orbit Racing Pontiac Riley , 81.
39. (17 ) RJ Valentine, Braintree, Mass.; Kelly Collins, Newport Beach, Calif., GT , Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 , 72.
40. (41 ) Joe Nonnamaker, Massillon, Ohio; Kurt Roehrig, High Point, N.C., GT , Team Sahlen Porsche GT3 Cup , 65.
41. (64 ) Colin Braun, Ovalo, Texas; Brad Coleman, Martinsville, Va., GT , Team 16/ Auto Gallery/ TRG Porsche GT3 Cup , 63.
42. (23 ) Kris Szekeres, Hartland, Mich.; Charles Espenlaub, Lutz, Fla., GT , Horizon Motorsports LLC Pontiac GTO , 60.
43. (46 ) Mike Weinberg, Scoatsburg, N.Y.; Michael Baughman, Clear Spring, Md., GT , Michael Baughman Racing Corvette , 50.
44. (55 ) Jason Workman, Flowery Branch, Ga.; Zach Arnold, Tiffin, Ohio, GT , ASC Motorsports Corvette , 34.
45. (22 ) Chris Gleason, Johnstown, Pa.; Ian James, Kissimmee, Fla., GT , Prototype Technology Group BMW M3 , 11.
46. (9 ) Rick Skelton, Atlanta, Ga.; Joe Foster, Atlanta, Ga., DP , Hyper Sport Infiniti Doran , 10.
47. (5 ) Justin Pruskowski, Woodinville, Wash.; Joe Pruskowski, Woodinville, Wash., DP , Essex Racing Ford Crawford , 10.

Quotes

GRAND PRIX OF MIAMI POST-RACE QUOTES

MAX ANGELELLI: "I remember last year's race here very well - I ended up in the medical center. This year was difficult, as well. It's good to race in Miami at this time of year, it's pretty hot later in the year. I saved a little bit in my pocket in case I had to use it, and I used it, I was pushing some at the end."

WAYNE TAYLOR: "I'd like to think we came from a strong year last year. In the off-season, we got a new car, and really prepared it with all the right ingredients. There is really some luck involved, but I think we had all the right ingredients to make it happen. Finishing in the top five is like finishing in the top three last year. Our plan was to run 45 minutes to an hour on fuel. The first yellow going in was a different situation. It came at 35 minutes. In hindsight, we could have stayed out and carried on, but the way strategy was planned, we got nearly a lap on everybody but Butch before that caution came out."

BUTCH LEITZINGER: "Really, the only way I could have gotten around Max was through a really opportunistic move. I took a gamble (when he pulled up along Angelelli as they were coming up on Chad McQueen), but it didn't work. It was a long shot move, anyway. Max was a little bit quicker than me. I missed the setup a little bit with the change of temperature, I didn't quite compensate quite enough when we made our race setup, and that hurt us a little bit. We were very close. I'm very happy with the team today, and to continue all the momentum we've had with all these podiums.

ELLIOTT FORBES-ROBINSON: "Second place here, second in the Rolex 24, and we ended off last year like that. We seemed to be stuck there at second, so we've got to win one. The car was so much better. The Crawford guys have done some development and made our car better. We were a little bit off before, and we're not that way now. The Pontiac engine is better than before. We need just a little bit. We were close on our setup. I think we can win the next one out here."

MAX PAPIS: "It was a fantastic success for us today. It was the first time for the Pontiac TRG on the podium. Jorg did a fantastic job in the beginning to bring the car from 11th up to the front. We still don't know a lot about the car, and we got a great result. It shows we got a lot of determination. It's great to see a Pontiac 1-2-3.

JORG BERGMEISTER: "This was only the second time for me in the Daytona Prototypes, so it's a pretty good result. Especially after coming from trouble in qualify. Max already expected a place on the podium. I thought he was optimistic, but it worked out."

MARC BUNTING: "Kevin (Buckler) made a great call that put us in the lead. We stayed out when the 36 car pitted under caution, and we ended up getting a wave-by, and that got us a half-lap on the 36. That's what got it for us. Michael (Levitas) ran over and asked us if we hadn't pitted. Fortunately, we made the right call on the pit stop and got lucky. Awesome, no better way to start out a season. I couldn't be happy to finish on top of the podium. Andy did a great job, and Kevin made a great call to get half a lap back."

ANDY LALLY: "We took the Racer's Group car to our first race of the season and took the points lead. We can't complain about that. It was a super race. Marc gave me a great car. My only problem is I've got a flight at 8:40, and I knew if we won I would probably miss it. We made the right calls today, and the cards fell our way. We've also gotten bit on calls like that, actually."

RANDY POBST: "TPC had the quickest Porsche out here today, but TRG beat us on strategy. I had a great time driving here. We found a way to make the Hoosiers work. It was frustrating, because we had the quickest car by far, but didn't call the right pit strategy. That's how TRG beat us - they called a smarter race."

MICHAEL LEVITAS: "It was a great race. The car really came to us with the temperature of the day. We've worked at Miami many times before, and we always seem to find it in the heat of the day. It seemed to come to us. It's a great comeback for TPC after Daytona."

MATTEO BOBBI: "It was a chaotic race for us. We were involved in two incidents immediately and fell back, but then the car was very good and we set some very good lap times. It's a big shame we had the problems early because we had the speed to have a good result. "For the first incident, I was overtaking a car. We were side by side, but he didn't see me and I spun in turn one. I think something might have been broken in our suspension from that point on. "For the second incident, the car in front of me lost a very big piece of bodywork and it hit the right front of the car, cracking our bodywork. It happened on the banking."

FABRIZIO GOLLIN: "My temperature was 99 before the race; I want to see what it is now! I was OK, but at the end I lost my concentration because of having the flu. I didn't take any risks for the last eight laps or so, because I knew I had nothing to gain and much to lose. The sun was very bad at the end of the race too. I'm happy because our car was fast; my times were quick. I stayed with Papis the whole last hour, even though we had a lot of understeer at the end. After the second stop Kevin changed something to make the car better. Matteo said the car was oversteering at the beginning and at the end it was understeering, but in the middle it was very good. It was not understeering too much to drive it though; it was OK. I pushed hard every lap up until the very end."

KEVIN DORAN, TEAM OWNER OF DORAN RACING: "The good news is that we had the speed today. We had a definite podium car today but we made some mistakes as a team that you can't get away with. In general I'm quite positive because we're fast. We're fast in the short runs, we're fast in the long runs, we're just fast."

CHRISTIAN FITTIPALDI: "It was fun leading for so long. I'm a little disappointed because we had a good overall car; we just need to find some more downforce somewhere. We just need some more overall grip. When the tires were new we could definitely run with anybody, but as they wore the car was slipping around a lot."

TERRY BORCHELLER: "The glare from the sun hampered my run. I didn't use the right visor on my helmet, and in the hairpin I couldn't even see the side of the track. I am kicking myself because I should have used a different visor. I had a good battle with the 01 car; I think it was Pruett. We'll take sixth."
 

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