The Wayne Taylor Racing team enjoyed a solid start to the Grand Am season after picking up a double top-five finish from he season opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.

The #9 Toshiba Pontiac Riley of Penske-Taylor Racing took the final place on the podium thanks to Helio Castroneves, Kurt Busch and Ryan Briscoe, while the #10 Suntrust Racing car driven by regular-season co-drivers Max Angelelli and Michael Valiante and father and son pairing Wayne and Ricky Taylor battled to a hard earned fifth place.

"Having not one, but two cars in the top-five is most certainly the result of all these guys' hard work," team boss Wayne Taylor said. "I have never seen a group of guys pull together and put something together at this level in such a short period of time and do the job that they've done. Racing is tough. Going 24 hours makes it tougher. Little things go wrong and little things happen, as they did for both of us. But these guys fought and soldiered on. This top-five finish for both cars, with one on the podium, is a huge result.

Related Articles

"It was a roller-coaster race, really. Both the #9 and the #10, whenever they were out on the track, were always running among the fastest lap times. So we both had winning cars, no question. We just had some little problems, which you have.

"But I'm very proud of everybody - SunTrust, for allowing me the opportunity to continue living this unbelievable dream, and to allow me to have my son drive with me; Toshiba, for coming on board to help make the Penske-Taylor program a reality; Pontiac, for stepping up to our two-car effort; and Miracle Sealants, our new partner, which has just come on board."

Starting from the fourth position on the grid, Angelelli made short work of moving the #10 SunTrust car toward the front when the race kicked off, running second behind the front-row-starting #6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley of AJ Allmendinger by the end of the opening lap.

Angelelli led on two occasions during the opening hours of the race before handing the car over to Ricky Taylor, who was making his Rolex Series career debut alongside his father. The younger Taylor joined the race in 13th position at the 1-hour, 50-minute mark, and over the course of an error-free stint, was able to work his way into the lead by the time he pitted at the 3-hour, 20-minute mark to hand the car over to Valiante.

Valiante kept the SunTrust car at the front during his opening stint before handing it over to Wayne Taylor shortly after the five-hour mark. However, as he was attempting to leave the pit lane, Taylor radioed that the car had lost all power and would not restart. Although the engine fired back into life as the team got it back to the garage, he slipped four laps off the pace.

By the twelve-hour mark, the team had worked their way back into the top-ten, making up a lap in the process, and were about to gain back another lap when the second major setback occurred - a loss of brakes costing the team another six laps.

The third major set-back came when a blown radiator dropped the car a total of 14 laps off the pace and out of contention.
Less than two hours later - at the 13-hour, 45-minute mark - came the third major setback for the SunTrust team, this time in the form of a blown radiator as a result of overheating conditions under the engine cover.

For the third time, the team headed to the garage to replace the radiator, costing another 30 minutes of track time that didn't drop the SunTrust car out of the 10th position, but did drop it a total of 14 laps off the lead lap.

Although the team battled back to within eight laps of the lead, a lack of problems for cars ahead meant the quartet had to settle for fifth place at the flag.

"When we understood that it wasn't possible to win, we changed out strategy and started to think about the championship," Angelelli reflected. "We wanted to capture as many points as possible for our championship. We had a winning car so it was really disappointing that we weren't able to contend for the win."

Despite the disappointment of seeing the SunTrust car fail to secure the result its pace deserved, Taylor added that he was confident for the remainder of the season as the team seeks to secure the Rolex Series title.

"Michael and Max, they are really fast," he said. "We're going to have a good driver pairing from this point forward. I always knew Michael was the guy to have. I spoke about him for a long time. The opportunity came and it was the right thing to do. And not only is he fast, but he's a great guy. Everybody really likes to be around him. He fits us really well. He was spectacular here this weekend. He and Max will push each other from this point forward. That's what we need. I'm excited.

"I've got to say something about Ricky. There was so much uncertainty in so many people's minds about throwing him into the deep end like this. I even questioned it as we got close. But I remember going systematically through this and talking to all the players who, by the way, have been more than supportive. I'm especially proud of what he did. He never made a mistake. He got the car in 13th position last night and handed it over in the lead.

"For him, it's a huge confidence boost. I think what he did this weekend would have taken any normal person a year or two to get through. So, it was a crash course and he handled it really well. On top of that, my 16-year-old son (Jordan) was out there driving for the first time in this series in a GT Porsche, and he was in during the worst times and handled it really well. That was really special."