SAHLEN'S 200 AT THE GLEN FINAL RACE REPORT
August 16, 2004 - An incident packed race at historic Watkins Glen
International Speedway last Friday, August 13, saw CITGO Racing's two
cars finish 8th and 15th at the Sahlen's 200 at The Glen in upstate
New York. Milka Duno and Jan Lammers' #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford Daytona
Prototype finished the race in 15th, while Andy Wallace and Tony Stewart
finished 8th in the #20 CITGO Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototype.
After Thursday's washout, the start of Friday evening's 2-hour timed
race was dry although heavy clouds had threatened rain all day.
Milka began the race in the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototype
with a safe start that saw her stay out of trouble and quickly get up
to speed and into a rhythm and staying well within the top ten. As the
race approached the half-way point the dark clouds gathered more ominously.
As the team prepared for the inevitable rain, it seemed as if the cards
were falling right for CITGO Racing as "on deck" waiting to
take over driving duties were two wet-weather specialists in Andy Wallace
and Jan "Rain Man" Lammers.
Unfortunately, with Stewart running 5th, he made slight contact with
a lapped car that caused a valve stem to break and a flat tire to result
about 2 laps before the rain arrived - meaning a green flag pit stop
- where Wallace hopped in, followed shortly by a stop to put on rain
tires. These two stops meant that the #20 car was now a lap down.
Misfortune also struck Milka in the #2 car as the severity of the weather
took everyone by surprise. On lap 30, as Milka was making her way to
the pits, the heavens opened and the resulting downpour saw 10 cars
aquaplane off the track on turn 10 just before the pit entrance. Milka
was caught up in this incident but was one of the only cars to restart
and make it back to the pits. After some hectic repairs to the right
rear, the #2 car was back on track 1 lap down with Lammers behind the
When the race eventually went back to green, Lammers showed terrific
determination and awesome wet-weather skills. Amazingly, in what must
have been almost zero visibility, Lammers drove through the field and
in short order passed the leading #54 car to regain a position on the
lead lap and in 8th position overall.
A resulting yellow flag caution period was good news for Lammers as
it meant he could now race around to catch the back of the lead pack
of cars grouped behind the pace car. The yellow came a little too soon
for Wallace in the #20 car who was following closely behind Lammers
in 9th position overall but still 1 lap down.
With the track now drying, and with about 20 minutes to go, the team
told Lammers to pit for (faster but more slippery) slick tires. Only
one other car on the lead lap chose this strategy, the #27 car, with
all others electing to keep track position and try to go the distance
on rain tires. As the race restarted, Lammers quickly picked off back
markers and was making his way back towards the lead group of cars.
However, it was not to be, as twice the #2 car spun out causing damage
that would force the car to retire with 10 minutes remaining. The #27
car went on to win - proving that the team's strategy was the right
one and that despite all the drama, a podium result was up for grabs.
Wallace meanwhile took the checkered flag in 8th position overall.
"I was in 7th when the rain came down all of a sudden and very,
very hard - and then my radio went away," said Milka. "With
the rain coming down so hard and so quickly I knew I needed to pit to
get a set of rain tires. As I approached the last turn before the pits
a car in front of me started to go out of control and as I was trying
to get out of the way the same slick conditions caught me up as well
- there was just too much water - and I headed straight off the course.
I just couldn't stop the car. I was able to get the car restarted and
bring it into the pits. I know how hard Jan drove after that to make
up positions and I couldn't be more proud of my teammate and the team.
It was a difficult race under difficult conditions. I'd like to thank
CITGO again for supporting this two-car effort."
"The car was awesome. I was really happy the way the race was
going for us, but we had bad luck with the flat and then having to come
back in to put 'rains' on a lap later got us a lap down," said
Stewart. "It's just so much fun running this Crawford car knowing
how good it is every time I get in it. With CITGO involved, this whole
program is getting better and better."
"Last week was really, really good and this week it's not,"
said Wallace. "When it's bad conditions like we had today, you
have to do what you can do. Tony (Stewart) was the star of the race
today. He did a fantastic job getting the car where it was. We had the
puncture and that made it tough. That's motor racing and you can't get
down just because of one bad result."
CITGO, based in Tulsa, Okla., 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.
Additional information on drivers Milka Duno and Andy Wallace is available
at www.milkaduno.com and www.andywallace.com, respectively. For more
information on the Grand American Sports Car Series please visit www.grandamerican.com.