Infineon: Suntrust Finally Gets a Reward in a Tough Season

The Valiante and Angelelli and the rest of the team got reward in a tough year

SONOMA, Calif. (Aug. 23, 2008) - In a season where just about everything has gone wrong for the SunTrust Racing team in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16, everything went right for Michael Valiante and Max Angelelli Saturday at Infineon Raceway. Valiante led the opening 24 laps before handing over the No. 10 Pontiac Dallara to Angelelli, who led the final 58 laps to win the Armed Forces 250. The Daytona Prototype race will be televised Sunday at noon ET.

It was the first victory of the season and 12th career for Angelelli, the 2005 Daytona Prototype champion - and the first career triumph for Valiante, who joined the Wayne Taylor-owned team this season.

The team's best finish this season was third in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen in June, only two weeks after the team's transporter and primary car was destroyed in a highway fire. It was the first victory for the Dallara chassis, and first victory for a non-Riley constructor this season.

Alex Gurney finished second in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley started by Jon Fogarty, 3.646 seconds behind at the finish. The pair cut the lead of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas to 42 points with two races remaining in the 2008 campaign.

The Doran car leading a snake of cars, mid race

Pruett and Rojas finished sixth in the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley. Pruett had been running fourth on lap 65 when he was assessed a stop-and-go penalty for contact with Darren Law on the first restart of the event. That dropped the six-time 2008 winners to 10th, but Pruett was able to pass four cars before the finish.

Mark Wilkins and Brian Frisselle finished third in the No. 61 AIM Autosport Exchange Traded Gold Ford Riley, giving the team its third consecutive podium finish. Frisselle started 16th after his apparent pole-winning qualifying run was nullified due to a technical infraction. He was able to lead 24 laps before pitting, with Wilkins running third throughout most of his run.

Joao Barbosa and JC France gave the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley its third fourth-place finish of the season, followed by Ricardo Zonta and Nic Jonsson in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola.

The lone caution period came on Lap 59, when Shane Lewis came to a stop due to a broken axle on the No. 3 Southard Motorsports Lexus Riley. Moments before the full-course caution waved, Angelelli pitted, assuring him track position when the full-course caution waved.

Angelelli pulled away on the restart and led the rest of the race, although Gurney was able to shave more than eight seconds off the lead in the waning laps of the event.

The Cheever team had a disappointing race retiring from the race

The Grand-Am Rolex Series crosses the country to race at New Jersey Motorsports Park next Sunday in the Supercar Life 250, featuring the Daytona Prototype and GT classes.

Pos Class Drivers Team Car Laps
1 DP M.Angelelli, M.Valiante SunTrust Racing Pontiac Dallara 102
2 DP J.Fogarty, A.Gurney Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley 102
3 DP Br.Frisselle, M.Wilkins AIM Autosport Ford Riley 102
4 DP J.Barbosa, JC.France Brumos Porsche Porsche Riley 102
5 DP N.Jonsson, R.Zonta Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola 102
6 DP S.Pruett, M.Rojas Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley 102
7 DP M.Gidley, B.Jaeger Doran Racing Ford Dallara 102
8 DP B.Auberlen, J.Hand Alex Job Racing Porsche Riley 102
9 DP D.Donohue, D.Law Brumos Porsche Porsche Riley 101
10 DP Bu.Frisselle R.Taylor Doran Racing Ford Dallara 101
11 DP T.Krohn, E.van de Poele Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola 101
12 DP O.Negri, M.Patterson Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley 101
13 DP M.Plumb, G.Sigal Sigalsport Rum Bum Racing BMW Riley 101
14 DP I.James, J.Pew Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley 94
15 DP A.Gracia, C.Fittipaldi Cheever Racing Pontiac Coyote 80
16 DP M.Goossens, J.Matthews Bob Stallings/Riley-Matthews Pontiac Riley 70
17 DP B.Lester, S.Lewis Southard Motorsports Lexus Riley 56