SunTrust Racing duo Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli could only convert their pole position for the Continental Tire 200 at The Glen into a fourth place finish after two hours of racing at Watkins Glen.
After claiming pole position in Friday night’s qualifying session Ricky Taylor took the lead through the first part of the race, before pitting with much of the field under the race’s first caution on lap 23. Remaining in the car Taylor asked for an aerodynamic change after combatting oversteer through the high speed, uphill Esses – a different wicker on the rear of the Chevrolet Corvette DP – the additional time needed dropping him down to sixth for the restart.
Adding insult to injury when Taylor pitted again under the second caution of the race the original wicker was put back on the car as teammate Max Angelelli took over the car for the run to the checkered flag.
Still hampered by the loss of track position caused by the earlier stop Angelelli was part of a multi-way battle, which included as many as half a dozen of the Daytona Prototype cars at the front of the field. After a third round of stops, and problems for Ozz Negri in one of the cars ahead, the Italian lay in fourth when a late caution bunched up the field again, giving Angelelli a final chance to improve his position.
Though he tried, bravely trying to outbreak reigning champion Scott Pruett around the outside of turn one, Angelelli would end the race fourth, the best of the Corvettes behind the Riley chassis of Starworks Motorsport, who finished 1-2 and Pruett;’s Chip Ganassi car.
“I guess the big positive today is that we are first in class,” said Angelelli. “The Fords beat us with their engines today and the Ganassi team beat us with their chassis today. That was the best we were going to get. On the last restart, what do I have to lose? You have to go for the podium. That was already a low-percentage possibility, and Pruett isn’t exactly a rookie, but I had to try. So I guess we’ll take our fourth place and go to Montreal.”
“I asked for a wicker change on the first stop and that’s always a bit of a risky move,” said Taylor. “We lost a little track position there and it’s really difficult to make up positions here on the short course with not a lot of heavy braking zones. Traffic is the only way to pass cars and we didn’t really get any breaks with the traffic. We were really trimmed out to try and keep pace with the Fords. At least we’re the fastest Corvette because that’s really all we can compare ourselves to.”