CITGO RACING COMPLETES PRE-SEASON TESTING FOR ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA
Two CITGO Teams Spend Three Days
at Daytona International Speedway
January 14, 2005 - CITGO Racing and Howard Motorsports completed their pre-season
testing for the Rolex 24 at Daytona with a three-day test at the Daytona International
Speedway. The #20 CITGO Pontiac Crawford and the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford took
full advantage of the eight sessions of testing.
A total of six different drivers turned laps in the two Howard Motorsports CITGO
sponsored Pontiac Crawfords during the three days. Andy Wallace and Jan Lammers
shared driving duties in the #20 CITGO Pontiac Crawford, while Milka Duno, Dan
Wheldon, and brothers Dario and Marino Franchitti piloted
the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford.
"We really have a solid effort in place for this race - and the test sessions
gave us a valuable opportunity to coalesce," said Duno. "It's my first opportunity
to race with the Franchitti brothers and Dan Wheldon and I'm really looking forward
to it. These three guys are really good drivers and it was a pleasure to test
with them. My teammates Andy Wallace and Jan Lammers had a really good test as
well and I'm sure that when Tony Stewart joins them and completes the driver
package in the #20 car they will present a very formidable challenge."
The best time during the test in the Howard Motorsports camp was turned in by
Andy Wallace in the #20 CITGO Pontiac Crawford. His lap of 1 minute
47.263 seconds on Saturday afternoon was the third Fastest overall of the 58
cars participating in the test.
"I'm extremely happy," Wallace commented after the test. "We've done a lot of
testing since we raced here at Daytona (July '04) and we had lots of things to
try. But, we got through every single thing we wanted to try. Now, we'll go back
and analyze the data and come up with a perfect setup. Speed wise, we seem to
have it. I'm really happy with our test."
The #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford turned in the eighth fastest lap of the overall
test with a 1 minute 48.498 seconds by Indy Racing League competitor Dario Franchitti
on Saturday evening. Franchitti will be competing his first-ever Rolex 24 at
Daytona on February 5th.
"The car was really good," Franchitti stated. "The team has really worked hard
and I have really enjoyed testing with Dan (Wheldon), Milka (Duno), and, of course
my brother Marino (Franchitti). I'm really looking forward to the race."
The Rolex 24 at Daytona this year will have a star-studded field of competitors
from various forms of motorsports. The driver roster for Howard Motorsports will
be no exception. Along with Rolex Series regulars Duno, Wallace and Lammers,
NASCAR superstar Tony Stewart will be back for the Rolex 24. Stewart, who was
unable to participate in the test sessions, will be competing in his third Rolex
New to the Howard Motorsports driver lineup for the Rolex this year are IRL stars
Dario Franchitti and Dan Wheldon, teammates at Andretti-Green Racing, and Marino
Franchitti. It will be the first Rolex 24 at Daytona for each of these talented
"It was a great test," Wheldon stated. "This is a fantastic team to be a part
of. We're getting pretty competitive too. For me, I was getting quicker and quicker
every time I got in the car. It's completely different from what I'm used to.
It's the first time that I've been in this type car with a roof over my head,
so it takes a little time to get the hang of it. I certainly had a great time
and want to thank everyone for making me feel welcome and making the transition
easier than it would have been with anyone else. I can't wait to come back for
"We have a very good car," Duno added. "We continue working and the team is doing
a very good job. The car is improving and improving. We need just a little more
adjustment, but we're very happy with the test."
Veteran sports car racer and former Rolex 24 winner Lammers added his thoughts
on the test session. "I'm pretty pleased actually. I think we've run a very good
package on the car and Mr. (Andy) Wallace did an excellent job in creating a
nice setup. It was a good time to get a feel for some things, and I think everything
is connecting well. We had a lot of things to get out of our system yesterday,
so it wasn't so good time wise. That all paid back today (Sunday). We only had
one set of tires this afternoon when some of the others had new tires near the
end of the session or we would have been right up there. I'm still very pleased."
When asked about his thoughts on the race itself, Lammers said, "There's a lot
of data to study between now and then. Come the race, we enter the '(Tony) Stewart
factor' and hopefully, if they (Wallace and Stewart) get the luck they deserve,
I'll be a lucky man just to hitch a ride with them."
Now, it's back to the Denver, North Carolina shop of Howard Motorsports for final
preparations for the season-opening race on the Grand American Rolex Sports Car
Series schedule. The 2005 Rolex 24 at Daytona will start at noon on Saturday,
February 5th and end at noon, Sunday, February 6th.
CITGO, based in Houston, Texas, is a refiner, transporter and marketer of transportation
fuels, lubricants, petrochemicals, refined waxes, asphalt and other industrial
products. The company is owned by PDV America, Inc., an indirect wholly
owned subsidiary of Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A., the national oil company
of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. For more information on CITGO visit www.citgo.com .
Milka is currently featured in Pontiac's largest ever Spanish language advertising
campaign launching an all-new sports sedan - the Pontiac G6. Pontiac is
a division of General Motors Corporation (NYSE: GM) and markets the Bonneville,
GTO, Grand Prix, Grand Am, G6, Vibe and Sunfire. In 2003, Pontiac sold more than
475,000 vehicles, ranking third among GM divisions in total sales. 2004/2005
will see Pontiac launch an exciting new range of vehicles including the Montana
SV6, G6 coupe, G6 convertible and the Solstice roadster. More information on
Pontiac and its products can be found at www.pontiac.com .
Information in Spanish can be found at www.pontiac.com/sp .
For additional information on Milka Duno and Andy Wallace please visit www.milkaduno.com or ww.andywallace.com ,
respectively. For more information on the Rolex Sports Car Series log on to www.grandamerican.com .