SunTrust Racing team boss Wayne Taylor says this weekend's second round of the Grand Am Rolex Series at Virginia International Raceway will be the like the start of a new season thanks to the three month break since the campaign began with the Rolex 24 a Daytona.
Max Angelelli and Brian Friselle will be on driving duties once again at the wheel of the #10 Ford Dallara as the team looks to build on its run to fourth place in the round-the-clock Daytona race, where it was the only Ford runner to make the finish after rival teams ran into engine issues.
While the break has given his drivers time to relax skiing – so much so that Frisselle got bored of spending time on the slopes – Taylor said it had been a frustrating period following the solid debut for the new Dallara chassis, with his team now keen to get back to racing.
"It's been so frustrating to have such a long break, it's almost like we're starting a new season," he said. "But it's the same for everybody. I hope, once we're out there, we can pick back up on the momentum we built at Daytona. I've never had a team so wanting to go racing and so eager and so prepared and as focused as these guys are, now. It's a great feeling.
"This week, they did a lot of pit stop practice. For most of the past three months, we were able to take our time and basically look over every, single little thing about our racecar and the way we do things. And we worked really hard to just fine-tune all the little things that can make such a huge difference between winning on a consistent basis and not winning.
"To tell you the truth, we've never had that kind of time since we started this race team because of all that it has involved, both the expected and the unexpected. Because of that, and the fact that the drivers and everybody on the team are so very hungry to go racing again, we're looking forward to getting back at it in a big way."
The SunTrust team has a strong record at Virginia, having taken wins in 2004 and 2007 with Angelli chasing his third win at the circuit with Taylor's outfit.
"I can't say how much I am looking forward to racing again," he said. "I really started looking forward to it at least two months ago. It got to be pretty awful not being able to race for three whole months. It was boring, from a racing standpoint.
"We are definitely looking forward to starting the season again at VIR because it has been a really good track for the SunTrust team. I'm really looking forward to taking the Dallara back there for the second time. It is a very good car, a very good project for us. I'm feeling very good, personally."
Frisselle will be making only his second outing for the team in Virginia but said he too was excited ahead of the weekend.
"We had a great four-driver combination at Daytona, but now it's down to Max and me for the rest of the season," he said. "I'm the qualifier and the race starter and he's the finisher, so that'll make things much, much cleaner.
"Being that VIR is now a two-day show, we'll have just a couple of quick practice sessions on Friday before we qualify, so we'll have to make the best use of our time right off the truck. I'm certain that once we start practice, we'll get up to speed in no time. I'm pretty confident we'll have a great car because the Dallara was fast there last year."