The SunTrust Racing duo of Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor finally laid its 'fast on Friday' tag to rest by proving 'triumphant on Thursday' with victory in the Paul Revere 250 at Daytona International.
Provisional results show the black-and-gold SunTrust Riley-Pontiac at the head of the list after the 'midnight run' event, beating the pole-winning Chip Ganassi entry of polewinner Scott Pruett and Max Papis into second spot, denying the Italo-American pairing a chance to rack up a victory hat-trick after wins in each of the past two races. NASCAR star Tony Stewart partnered Andy Wallace to third place in the first of the two CITGO Howard-Boss Crawford prototypes.
Angelelli claimed the lead from the #20 car of Wallace on a lap 59 restart following a crash involving reigning Daytona Prototype champion Terry Borcheller's #54
Kodak-Bell Motorsports Doran and the similar #81 Rx.com entry of Cort Wagner. The Italian then led the remaining eleven laps and finished 7.311secs ahead of Papis, who had also moved his #01 CompUSA-backed car past Wallace.
Bill Auberlen achieved PTG BMW's 'drive for five' by taking the GT category with new co-driver Justin Marks, and beating team-mates Boris Said and Joey Hand into second spot. The SGS category was won by the Nonnamaker family's Orison-Planet Earth Motorsports Porsche.
After starting seventh, Taylor claimed the lead for the first time on lap 23, and stayed in front until handing over to Angelelli on a lap 30 pit-stop. NASCAR star Stewart took the lead and remained there until he pitted at the halfway point to hand over to Wallace, who rejoined in third place.
It appeared that the #20 team's single-stop strategy may have paid dividends, as all of the other leaders needed one more trip to the pits. However, when the full-course caution flag flew following the Borcheller/Wagner incident on lap 54, the table was set for Angelelli's race-winning pass five laps later.
"Of course, I thought I could have caught Andy Wallace, my car was faster," Angelelli said, "I'm happy I ran the fastest lap of the race. I was really scared when the caution came out - I knew they [Papis and Pruett] had new tyres, and my tyres were pretty old, so I really pushed at the end. I didn't know if I was much quicker."
The triumph was Angelelli's first at Daytona International Speedway, and Taylor's second, as he was an overall winner in the 1996 Rolex 24. It was also Taylor and Angelelli's first win since taking the Food City 250 at Phoenix in April.