DUNO AND WALLACE SCORE ANOTHER PODIUM FOR CITGO
Milka Duno and Andy Wallace Finish Third at Virginia 400
In yet another very close finish that has come to typify the level of competition in this year’s championship Milka and Andy’s #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford Daytona Prototype at the finish line was only 1.036 seconds behind the race winner, and a mere 0.166 seconds behind the 2nd place finisher.
Milka started today’s race and did what she has done all season-long – bring the car to Andy in great condition and on the lead lap. Oil on the track caused Milka to spin on lap16 but as a testimony to her racing skill she controlled the spin and kept the car away from any other cars and on the track. Recovering quickly Milka took the resulting caution period as an opportunity to hand the car to Andy – rather than under green flag conditions. Milka had increased the car’s overall and class positions before stepping out of the cockpit.
Lap 28 saw Andy in 7th and by lap 43 and 1 hour and 26 minutes into the race he had captured the lead. Andy maintained the lead under pressure until the need for a final pit stop for tires and fuel on lap 52. The final – and green flag - pit stop saw Andy return to the track in 3rd and it was an exciting fight all the way from there to the finish. The 400-km/77lap/2-hour 45-minute time limited event ended on laps with the checkered flag waving at 2:51pm EST having run 2 hours and 42 minutes.
“It was a very hard race – a very competitive race,” said Milka. “I started the race and there was some good fighting going on and I was doing good to defend and hold my position. I knew exactly where on the track the car was faster and where on the track I could pass – but at the same time we needed to be careful as we are in the race for the championship and need all the points we can get. I got caught in a spin because of some oil on the track but I was able to recover and stay on the track and on the lead lap. I did what I needed to do which was to just go-go-go! Andy did absolutely great and we got a third place finish which is fantastic. A great job all-around as always by the guys on the team and CITGO Racing,” added Milka.
“Unfortunately the bad part of the race is that we got wounded a bit early in the race,” said Andy. “The flip-up on the tail was hit by another car and so it was up instead of down and we lost some rear down-force – so I was struggling with oversteer for the rest of the race – but I managed to pass a few cars and get into a good position. After the final pit stop I got past the driver that was ahead of me in second place and then he just smashed me clean off the road to get past me again – which I wasn’t that impressed with. But everyone knows that’s just motor racing and that’s how it is. It happens. You’re all fighting together and sometimes these things just happen. Then toward the end of the race it started to rain and it was very, very slippery and the windshield was really very dirty from all the rubber hitting it throughout the race. It was very, very hard to see how much rain there is and how much water is on the track so somehow you just have to judge somehow how fast you can go. The car was sliding all over the place. When we got to the finish line we were almost three-wide. It was really a great race,” added Andy.
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.
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.
Contents ©® 2001/2002 Milka
Duno - All Photographs Courtesy of Octavio Estrada