Problems Force Early Exit for CITGO Racing Team in
Crown Royal 250
Motorsports entry rebounds from practice accident at
Watkins Glen, NY (September 24, 2005) . The Watkins Glen International road
course has not been kind to the CITGO Racing Team during the 2005 Grand
American Rolex Sports Car Series season. In the third and final visit to the
historic course this year, steering problems forced an early exit from the
Crown Royal 250 on Saturday afternoon.
The weekend started with practice for the Rolex Series cars on Thursday
afternoon. Midway through the session, the #05 Porsche spun exiting the
inner loop section of the course. The #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford, who was
behind the spin, made hard contact with the Porsche heavily damaging both
vehicles. With the front and left side of the CITGO car requiring major
repairs, the Howard-Boss Motorsports Team began their long and tedious
mission when the car was returned to the garage area.
Working late into the evening and beginning at sunrise on Friday, the CITGO
Racing Team had their Pontiac Crawford repaired in less than eighteen hours
and set for the first Rolex Series practice session of the day. Qualifying
was Friday afternoon with Milka Duno selected as the pilot of the CITGO
Pontiac Crawford. Duno turned a fast lap of 1:54.061 / 90.038 mph to earn
the 20th starting position in the Crown Royal 250 field.
During the early laps of the 250-mile event, Duno was able to advance
several positions before pitting on lap 13 for tires, fuel, and a driver
change. However, a pit road speeding violation entering the pits resulted in
a "stop-and-go" penalty for the CITGO Racing Team. On lap 16, Andy Wallace,
now piloting the CITGO Pontiac Crawford, came to pit road to serve the
penalty and rejoined the race in the 20th position.
Working his way through race traffic, Wallace was able to move solidly into
the top ten when he made an unscheduled pit stop on lap 34. The CITGO crew
began a thorough inspection of the steering system and determined that the
problem was terminal. Completing 34 laps, the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford
would finish 21st in the DP Class in the Crown Royal 250.
"We had high hopes going into our final race at The Glen as we had been
improving with each of the two previous races there," Duno commented.
"During Thursday's practice, a car spun in front of me that I just couldn't
avoid. I tried to avoid the car by looking left and then right, but the car
was right in the middle of the track. I ended up making contact with the
left front of the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototype which caused
tremendous damage. The crew did an absolutely incredible job working through
the night to get the car ready for the next day and many thanks to them!"
"For me, the set-up was just not right and I had trouble delivering a good
qualifying result on Friday," Duno added. "It was just not working for me at
all. Once again the team worked very hard and made changes to the car that
really showed in the final practice on Saturday before the race."
"We started the race with a good feeling and I was able to advance our
position before handing the car off to Andy," Duno concluded. "He was able
to take it as high as 7th overall before steering problems forced an early
retirement. My thanks to the entire team for working so hard and so well for
the entire weekend."
"There was a problem within the steering that put us out today," Wallace
stated. "I was driving and could turn the wheel right and left, but the
CITGO Pontiac Crawford would not turn. Obviously, I couldn't compete with
that problem. The entire team did a marvelous job just getting the CITGO
Pontiac Crawford repaired for us to race. This was an issue that was
undetectable during those repairs and surfaced during the race. It's very
unfortunate for the crew who worked overtime this weekend."
The next race for the CITGO Racing Team will be the VIR 400 at the Virginia
International Raceway on Sunday, October 9th. Practice and qualifying will
be held on Friday and Saturday, October 7-8. The 250-mile race is set for a
1 PM ET start on October 9th. Speed Channel will provide live coverage of
the 13th event on the Rolex Series Sports Car schedule.
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
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 .