CITGO Racing Team Thirteenth
at Mazda Raceway Laguna
and cautions foil high
Denver, NC (May 3, 2005) . When the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car
Series schedule was released and the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca was listed,
many smiles were seen on the faces of the Howard-Boss Motorsports Team. And,
with good reason. Both of the drivers of the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford, Andy
Wallace and Milka Duno, had a record of success at the 2.238-mile course and
were coming off their first top five finish of the season together at
Fontana (fourth) in the previous race. However, somewhere between the high
expectations and the checkered flag, things went awry.
The historic weekend at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca began on a positive
note as the #2 CITGO entry posted consistent practice speeds that ranked
among the top ten in the field. Duno was selected to qualify the car on
Saturday afternoon and her best lap, 1:29.493 / 77.769 mph, placed her 22nd
on the starting grid. The qualifying session was limited to 15 minutes and
then reduced by 5 minutes due to an accident. With only 10 minutes of actual
qualifying time broken up into two 5-minute green flag runs it proved
difficult to score a fast lap time in the top ten - where the car had
consistently run in all the previous practice sessions.
Race day at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca brought an enthusiastic crowd and
beautiful weather to the track for the Road & Track 250. However, the
beautiful day turned overcast for the Howard-Boss Motorsports crew during
morning practice for the race. Duno managed to avoid two Porsches that had
spun on the course, but was rammed in the left side by a Daytona Prototype
that had failed to react and brake in time. The #2 CITGO car received
extensive damage and the Max Crawford led team began their race against the
clock to get the car repaired to start the race. Determination and teamwork
prevailed as the crew worked feverishly for nearly two hours to replace body
panels and repair damage to the car. Their work enabled the #2 CITGO Pontiac
Crawford to start the race in its original qualified position.
The excitement was not over yet for the Howard-Boss Motorsports crew as Duno
radioed the crew early in the race that she had to pit with a tire problem.
Duno made her stop on lap 15 for tires and fuel. The left rear tire was
indeed down and the wheel rim damaged in several places.
Duno fought hard for the next 51 laps to try and recover the lost time due
to the tire problem and resulting green flag pit stop and was able to
advance the car to 20th overall before handing it over to her co-driver Andy
Wallace. Duno was also able to shorten the gap to her competitors ahead and
combined with the team's pit strategy this left Wallace in a good position
Along with receiving four fresh tires and fuel, Andy Wallace climbed aboard
the CITGO Pontiac Crawford and began the final stint of the day.
A determined Wallace began to work his way through race traffic to gain as
many positions and points as possible in the remaining laps. Wallace wisely
took advantage of two restarts during his stint to gain position and
advanced to 13th when the final caution of the race waved on lap 96. The
race would end under the caution with the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford credited
with a 13th-place finish.
"It was just one of those days that you have every now and then in racing,"
Wallace stated after the event. "The car was really good in morning practice
and then the accident occurred. The team did a marvelous job just getting
the car to the grid. I just had a lot of work to do in a short period, and,
with the cautions at the end, simply ran out of time. I think that I could
have gained a couple more spots if we could have finished green."
"The team worked very hard for this race and I can't thank them enough,"
Duno commented. "We didn't have much luck on our side for this race and it
showed in our result. I had a tire go flat in the first half-hour of the
race that required a green-flag pit stop and it proved hard to catch up
after that. As always, my teammate Andy Wallace was amazing - as was the
performance of the crew."
The next race for the #2 CITGO Racing Team will be the 6 Heures du Circuit
Mont-Tremblant at the 2.65-mile, 15 turn Quebec, Canada course on Saturday,
May 21st. The first of two six hour races for the Rolex Sports Car Series in
2005 is set for an 11 a.m. start on the 21st.
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 atwww.pontiac.com/sp .
For additional information on Milka and Andy please visit www.milkaduno.com or www.andywallace.com ,
respectively. For more information on the Rolex
Sports Car Series log on to www.grandamerican.com .