SunTrust Halts Ganassi Bid
By Jonathan Ingram | Senior Writer
After a strong opening stint by Ricky Taylor, SunTrust Racing completed a dominant victory at Connecticut’s Lime Rock Park with Max Angelelli behind the wheel of the team’s Dallara-Ford. The fifth round of the Grand-Am Rolex Series was marred by an opening lap incident at the exit of Big Bend, where Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing’s Jon Fogarty pushed off the Target Chip Ganassi entry of Memo Rojas, which cost co-driver Scott Pruett some of his lead in the championship.
Nic Jonsson won the pole in the Lola-Ford of Krohn Racing during a brief session held the morning of the race at the track in a state where motor racing on Sunday’s is prohibited. Taylor started on the outside of the front row of the inaugural Memorial Day Classic and quickly moved into the lead. From there, the SunTrust team used quick pit stops and the closing stint of Angelelli to maintain its margin.The team led the bulk of the two hour, 45-minute race.
The search for a fourth straight vicory by the Ganassi team, on the heels of a triumph in the Indy 500 on Sunday, went awry when Rojas stayed with an outside line in the first corner versus Fogarty. The GAINSCO driver acknowledged aggressive tactics that sent Rojas into the dirt, where the Riley-BMW sustained heavy front end damage to the splitter and front undertray.
“To be brutally honest, it’s not a fair fight between the BMW and the Chevrolet,” said Fogarty of his Riley powered by a Chevy V-8, referring to the Grand-Am’s formula for equating different engines. “You get pretty tired of getting beat up every race weekend, and the frustration level grows. It’s not a fair fight. Things are going to get dirty. That’s the only chance we have to win.”
Rojas was unfazed by Fogarty’s suggestion that he shouldn’t have taken the outside line into Big Bend, which puts a driver on the inside for the next corner. “I had a great start,” he said. “I ran on the outside of the 99 car with enough room, actually. But he decided to push me out. This is part of racing. We’ll fight back.”
Pruett ran the minimum 30 minutes in Ganassi’s Riley-BMW before it was parked and preparations began for the six-hour event at Watkins Glen this coming weekend. Pruett was credited with a 13th-place finish.
Ryan Dalziel and Mike Forest of Starworks Motorsport finished second, followed by Brian Frisselle and Michael Valiante of Michael Shank Racing, also in a BMW-Riley. The Lola-Ford of Krohn finished ninth after team owner Tracy Krohn followed Jonsson, who retained second place until the team’s first pit stop.
In the GT category, John Edwards and Adam Christodoulou scored their first Rolex Series victory for SpeedSource. Their Mazda RX-8 edged the Dempsey Racing RX-8 driven by James Gue and Leh Keen. Mazdas swept the top four positions followed by the Corvette of Banner Racing.
– Jonathan Ingram can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.orgOne Comment