Sunday, April 29, 2012
South Florida Saturation: Sunshine State Teams, Drivers Dominate Grand Prix of Miami
MIAMI -- After a tough start to their season, luck was on SunTrust Racing's side at Homestead-Miami Speedway, as Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli won Sunday's rain-shortened Grand Prix of Miami. The contest was shortened following downpours that resulted in a lack of visibility for drivers.
It was the first victory of the season for the No. 10 SunTrust Corvette Daytona Prototype (DP) and 19th career DP win followed by Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley, and David Donohue and Darren Law in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP.
In spite of the win, Ricky still had empathy for the crowd at the track: “It would have been nice for the fans. It was very wet and it’s a shame that we didn’t have better conditions.”
The extremely difficult conditions, which hampered a number of drivers through the rain-soaked first half of the race, played into the hands of Taylor, who took the lead on Lap 28 following contact between the leading Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP of Richard Westbrook and the No. 8 Riley-Ford of Ft. Lauderdale-based Starworks Motorsport driven by Enzo Potolicchio.
“It was really, really wet. I was hoping to go on the inside of the 8 car, and I saw he carried quite a bit of speed,” Taylor said. “I guess he got into the back of the 90, and then I just saw them both going around and just tried not to get involved.”
University of Miami graduate and 2010 Grand Touring (GT) class winners Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato, aboard the No. 69 AIM Autosport Team FXDD, took the top spot in GT to score the first victory for the new Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am. With the win, Segal and Assentato take over the championship points lead after three rounds of the GRAND-AM season.
“I definitely consider this one of my home town tracks,” said Segal. “We’ve had some success here [at Homestead-Miami Speedway] and both Emil and I like it. It's absolutely fantastic to give Ferrari its first win back in the Rolex Series in only our third race is spectacular. Emil drove his butt off today. It was treacherous in the end but we had a lot of fun racing in. I charged my way through the field and had some fun there. I'm happy to get this win."”
Steady rain fell throughout the event causing conditions to deteriorate and leading race officials to halt the event after two hours (45 minutes short of the scheduled distance).
Dane Cameron and Wayne Nonnamaker took second in the No. 42 Team Sahlen’s Mazda RX-8, followed by Robin Liddell and Ronnie Bremer in the No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro.
Three out of the five races contested this weekend were won by drivers or teams with South Florida ties. Miami-based Rum Bum Racing took Grand Sport honors in yesterday’s Kia 200 while Ernie Francis, Sr, of Dania (FL) won the first-ever GRAND-AM Sportsman Showcase race earlier today at Homestead-Miami Speedway.