Grand AM » 10 October 2005
Pruett, Diaz keep title hopes alive.
"It's a bit disappointing, but it was a good finish for us, and Milka did a fantastic job during the first part of the race. The conditions were difficult, and it would have been easy to wreck, but she didn't and turned the car to me in good shape. I'd like to congratulate everyone who raced around me today. It was very clean, but very competitive in some tough conditions.”
The second-place finish was the first podium appearance for the CITGO duo since their victory at Mont-Tremblant in May, and Duno was particularly pleased to be back among the silverware.
”I started the race in seventh due to our team's position in the team point standings, which was great,” the Venezuelan said, “I was able to keep the car on the lead lap and hand it off to Andy in great position. Andy then led the charge and fought very hard for our second place finish. This is a really good win for us and CITGO and very special as well for the Howard-Boss Motorsports team.”
Championship leaders Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor came up just short of clinching the Daytona Prototype driver and team championships, but should easily clinch both crowns in next month's season-ending event at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. The pair just need to start the race and have each driver complete a single green flag lap. Although they conceded points to rivals Pruett and Diaz in the VIR 400, Angelelli and Taylor have a 32-point advantage, with a maximum of 35 available at the finale.
While SunTrust will have to wait a little bit longer to wrap up the championships, their success this season, in part, allowed Pontiac to clinch the DP engine manufacturer title at VIR, with the #2 team's runner-up finish cementing the title. With ten wins in 13 races so far this season, the marque wrapped up the title for the second-straight year, and now holds a strong 52-point margin over closest rival Lexus.
Riley Technologies also wrapped up its second-consecutive constructors' championship with its tenth win of the season. The company's 446-point total is now an out-of-reach 63 ahead of Crawford.
After the grid was set by championship position because of the persistent rain that plagued VIR all weekend, pole-sitter Taylor led the race's opening laps before Diaz muscled past on lap eleven. In addition to both winning drivers, Taylor and Bobbi, Krohn/TRG's Nic Jonsson added a fifth name to the list of race leaders, after pacing the field for 17 laps at the mid-point. Seven caution periods slowed the race for 22 of its 74 laps.
The winner's Chip Ganassi team-mates, Cort Wagner and Stefan Johansson, finished fifth in the #02 New Century Riley-Lexus, and were among ten race cars that finished on the lead lap, including the top-two finishers in the GT class.
Despite starting behind the field after a paperwork error, Tom Milner and Bill Auberlen powered the #21 Team PTG BMW M3 to its third victory of the season, edging the #16 sister car of Joey Hand and Justin Marks by less than one second.
Milner started the car 21st in class, and steadily picked off positions throughout his stint, before handing the controls to Auberlen. The veteran then led the GT field for most of his shift, as he and Hand finished on the lead lap, and ninth and tenth overall.
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