Accident Forces Early Exit for CITGO Racing in Porsche 250
Wallace, Duno experience frustrating afternoon
Leeds, AL (July 31, 2005) . The afternoon was cut short for the #2 CITGO Racing Team when an accident forced an early exit from the Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday afternoon. On lap 41, the #67 Krohn Racing entry literally drove into the left front of the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford driven by Andy Wallace as the two were entering one of the many tight turns at the 2.3-mile road course.
The left front suspension and steering damage forced Wallace off the course and resulted in a full-course caution period. After being towed to the garage area, a thorough inspection of the Pontiac Crawford by the CITGO team determined that their afternoon would end prematurely. The #2 CITGO Racing Team would be credited with a 45th-place overall and 20th-place in-class finish in the first race of the second half of the 2005 Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series.
With teammate Wallace spending the early portion of the weekend in Portland , Oregon at an American Le Mans Series event, Milka Duno handled all of the practice sessions and qualifying until Sunday morning for the CITGO Team. Duno qualified 20th with a fast lap of 1:28.400 / 93.665 mph.
At the start of the 250-mile event, Duno maintained her position in challenging traffic until lap 8 when she began making a move up the running order. When Duno brought the CITGO Pontiac Crawford to the pits during the third caution of the race on lap 23 - she was running in the 15th position and handed the car to teammate Wallace on the lead lap - after an excellent performance on a very hot, tight race track.
Wallace climbed aboard the special CITGO/MDA paint schemed #2 car and began his march to the front. During the period from the pit stop and driver change on lap 23 and a restart on lap 40 he advanced the car to 7th position. Shortly after the restart, Wallace made an "inside move" entering the turn to pass the #67 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley. The #67 car suddenly made a sharp turn to the right and slammed into the left front of the CITGO Pontiac Crawford. Wallace would "limp" around the course to attempt to drive back to pit road; however, too much damage was done during the contact and the race would end for the #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford, Andy Wallace, and Milka Duno.
"We had high hopes to do well here," Duno commented. "Unfortunately, another prototype made contact with us when Andy was in the car and it caused severe damage to our left front wheel and suspension. It was the end of the race for us. At the time of the incident, we had advanced to 7th and our pit strategy was working together with the pit strategy of the cars in front of us. Had the contact not occurred it looked as though Andy was on course for a podium finish."
"We were even more hopeful for a good result because the #2 Pontiac Crawford was saluting the Muscular Dystrophy Association with a special paint scheme for the first of three races," Duno continued. "We had the honor of hosting a young girl named Katherine and her family. Katherine is truly a special girl and the MDA is such a wonderful and worthwhile organizations that I know Andy and me, together with the entire team, were doing everything we could to make this an even more special day by delivering a podium finish."
"It's a shame that our race ended this way," Wallace added. "I clearly had the pass made and, all of a sudden, the 67 just came shooting down into me entering the turn. It was a terrible way to take us out of the race. The CITGO Racing Team worked very hard to prepare this car and I feel as though we had good race strategy. We just got taken out - plain and simple."
The next race for the CITGO Racing Team will be at Watkins Glen International on Friday, August 12 th . The 200-mile event is set for a 6 p.m. ET start. Speed Channel will provide same-day tape-delayed coverage of the race beginning at 8 p.m. ET . The #2 CITGO Pontiac Crawford will again race with the special CITGO/MDA paint scheme for this event.
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.
Contents ©® 2001/2002 Milka
Duno - All Photographs Courtesy of Octavio Estrada