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SunTrust wins at Infineon.

In a season where just about everything has gone wrong for the SunTrust Racing team in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, 16, everything went right for Michael Valiante and Max Angelelli finally at Infineon Raceway.

Valiante led the opening 24 laps on the Californian track before handing over the #10 Pontiac Dallara to Angelelli, who led the final 58 laps to win the Armed Forces 250. It was the first victory of the season and twelfth career for 2005 series champion Angelelli, but the first for Valiante, who joined the Wayne Taylor-owned team this season. The team's previous best finish this season was third in the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen in June, a result which came only two weeks after the team's transporter and primary car were destroyed in a highway fire. It was also the first victory for the Dallara chassis, and first triumph for a non-Riley constructor since the Laguna Seca round in May 2007.

"We're definitely very happy - it couldn't have come at a better place," Angelelli commented, "We've had everybody, from our team members - SunTrust, Toshiba, Miracle Sealants and, of course, Gianpaolo Dallara, who came from Italy for the very first time - to watch our race. We won the pole position, won the race; it couldn't have been better."

At one point, the team's closest challenge came from the AIM Autosport team which had triumphed in each of the last two rounds, but had been demoted from pole on Friday after a technical infraction.

Mark Wilkins and Brian Frisselle eventually finished third in the #61 Ford Riley, giving the team its third consecutive podium finish, after Frisselle started 16th but led 17 laps before pitting. Wilkins then ran third throughout most of his run.

"It was just unfortunate what happened with the #61, unfortunate for them because we wanted to race them," Valiante commented, "It was good in the race to actually come through together and battle with them and show that we had the speed we did this weekend, even though they had to start from the back.

"In the race, I thought we'd be challenged a lot more than we were. From all the problems we had all year long, it was a textbook race. It couldn't have gone any better. We kept saying our time's coming, but the clock was ticking. So it was nice for it to finally come before the end of the year."

"The team called a great strategy, having us pit on lap one, and then running me long," Frisselle admitted, "I knew it was going to be tough, because this place is a tough place to pass, and I knew you really had to work the race track to get through traffic. I just had to put my head down. It was hard there at the end, not only with Max, but because my tyres had about double the laps that he had on them. So it was hard to keep him behind me, but the team just did a great job calling the strategies and getting track positions. I tried to pass as many cars as I could, and Mark kept it near the front for his entire stint."

Alex Gurney finished second in the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley, crossing the line 3.646secs behind the SunTrust car. The result allowed the defending series champions to cut the points lead of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas to 42 with two races remaining in the 2008 campaign.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Max Angelelli/Michael Valiante - SunTrust Racing Dallara-Pontiac
Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. GRAND-AM Championship Weekend Presented by BMW at Lime Rock Park. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Max Angelelli / Jordan Taylor. Continental Tire Sports Car Festival. Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. 2013 Grand AM Rolex Sports Car Series
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Max Angelelli and Jordan Taylor drive the #10 Velocity Worldwide Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype (left) to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the third race of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. Alex Gurney and Jo Fogarty, drivers of the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP (right) finish in second place. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
John Edwards and Robin Liddell, drivers of the # 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R., race to victory Saturday, April 6, 2013 in the Grand Touring (GT) class of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama. (Photo by Brian Cleary for Chevrolet)
Rolex Series action [Pic credit: Grand-Am]
Alex Popow and Sebastian Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Ford Riley, celebrate in Victory Lane after wininng the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series Inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tyler Barrick/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Alex Popow and Sebastien Bourdais, drivers of the #2 Soloson Ford Riley, celebrate after winning the Grand-AM Rolex Sports Car Series inaugural Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on July 27, 2012, in Indianapolis, Ind. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images for NASCAR)
The winning #60 Michael Shank Racing with Curb-Agajanian Ford Riley car is brought into victory lane after a gruelling 50th anniversary Rolex 24 at Daytona. [Picture Credit: Daytona International Speedway]
Max Angelelli and Brian Friselle win at Daytona [Pic credit: Grand Am Media]
Alex Gurney/Jon Fogarty - GAINSCO Bob Stallings Racing Riley-Pontiac   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Henri Richard/Rene Villeneuve - Polizei 144 TRG Porsche GT3   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Romain Dumas/Timo Bernhard - Verizon Wireless Team Penske Riley-Porsche   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas - TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Lexus   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Scott Pruett/Memo Rojas - TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-Lexus   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Michael Valiante/Joh Pew - Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford   [pic credit: Grand-Am]
Oswaldo Negri/Mark Patterson - Michael Shank Racing Riley-Ford   [pic credit: Grand-Am]

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