CITGO Racing Team Ninth in Grand Prix of Miami
Wallace, Duno overcome numerous obstacles to post top-ten finish
Homestead, FL (March 6, 2005) ... The CITGO Racing Team battled their way to
a ninth-place finish in the Grand Prix of Miami at the Homestead-Miami Speedway
on Saturday afternoon. However, the duo of Andy Wallace and Milka Duno had to
overcome several major obstacles to post their top-ten finish.
A total of twenty-two Daytona Prototypes started the Grand Prix of Miami, making
the second race of the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series very competitive
from practice and qualifying through the checkered flag. And, when combined with
the GT Class, a total of 47 cars comprised the starting grid.
Practice on Thursday and Friday saw the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford at the top
or near the top of the time sheets in all sessions.
Qualifying was held on Saturday afternoon with Duno aboard the #2 CITGO Pontiac
Crawford. However, when two DP cars were involved in an accident early in the
session, the time allotted for qualifying expired with many teams only able to
complete a minimal number of laps during the abbreviated session. Duno, with
only the chance at one "Green Flag" flying lap, would earn the 15th starting
position with a qualifying speed of
The high expectations for the race were dampened on lap 1 when Duno radioed the
pits experiencing handling problems in the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford car. The
first ten laps of the 109-lap event saw several incidents of cars making contact
battling for track position. The #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford was one of the many
cars that showed the effects of this close, competitive racing. Duno came to
the pits on lap eight for tires, fuel, and an evaluation of the car by the CITGO
crew. A small fuel leak caused a huge fireball as Duno exited the pits. Fortunately
no-one was injured and the car was undamaged. She would return to the race and
gain five positions in the running order until the CITGO team made their second
pit stop of the race on lap 22.
During this stop, Andy Wallace climbed aboard the Pontiac Crawford and also experiencing
a dramatic fiery exit from the pits, reentered the race in the 38th position
one lap down to the leaders. Within sixteen laps, Wallace moved into the top
twenty and was making a charge through the field. As the race settled into a
long green-flag stretch of laps, Wallace continued to gain positions. On lap
75, Wallace moved into the top ten. The veteran Wallace was running eighth when
he made his final pit stop of the afternoon on lap 99 for fuel only. Wallace
would reenter the race in ninth position and complete the final ten laps to earn
the first top ten finish of the season for the #2 CITGO Racing Team.
"It was a very frustrating race for us," Wallace commented after the Grand Prix
of Miami. "This was a wild race with a very competitive field and lots of contact
between cars throughout. It's certainly not the result we wanted, but we were
able to salvage a ninth. The crew did a great job all weekend."
"I'm a little confused because the car was so good in all the practices," Duno
commented. "But, at the beginning of the race, there was some problem with the
steering. There was a lot of understeer and I had difficulty turning left and
going around the oval. I did get tapped a little by someone early in the race
"We also had a problem with the fueling," Duno added. "I'm not sure of the exact
problem, but some fuel spilled out in the pit. The fuel ignited as I left the
pit, and I'm sure it was scary for a moment. The same problem happened on my
second stop, but fortunately all of our crew is OK."
"We (#2 CITGO Racing Team) were all going for a third straight win and
the team worked very hard to prepare for this race," Duno concluded. "It didn't
happen (third win), but it wasn't because we didn't all work really hard. It
just wasn't in the cards today. My thanks to the crew, to my co-driver Andy (Wallace),
and to CITGO."
The next race for the #2 CITGO Racing Team will be at California Speedway on
Sunday, April 3rd.
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 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 .