CITGO Racing's Miami Qualifying Report
CITGO Racing by SAMAX will start the Rolex Sports Car Series race at Homestead Miami Speedway from 23 rd on the 47-car grid. Milka Duno qualified the No. 11 Pontiac-powered Riley Mk XI in one minute 17.220 seconds on the 2.3-mile infield road course. She has a home in nearby Miami and has won twice at Homestead, so she is looking forward to the Saturday evening race, sharing driving duty with Marino Franchitti. The Rolex Series had less practice time than usual this week, but the CITGO/SAMAX crew made the most of it.
"Stefan Pfeiffer, our engineer, made a very good change and the car is much, much better," Duno said. "We didn't have much practice time, but for the laps we had, the car was very good and the time was also very good. I think could have improved the time, but the tire pressure was too high, so when I tried to go faster, I locked the rear. But we have a good car for the race; that's what we want."
Marino Franchitti is enjoying a family reunion this week, with his father George, brother Dario and sister-in-law Ashley on hand. Dario is competing in the IRL IndyCar Series race on Sunday, but can be found in pit lane during each of Marino's track sessions. Ditto Marino, who hasn't missed any of Dario's laps.
"Every time I'm on track, Dario sticks his head in the car, and he's been in a couple of my debriefs, just seeing what's happening. I'm the same," Marino said. "It's a lot of fun having my family around; I thrive on that. It's nice to be able to share the event with them. Dario and I are best friends; we're not just brothers. It's really cool having the family and being a best friend - it's the best of both worlds. I think I'm very lucky to have that."
The Daytona Prototype class is racing with a new tire compound this weekend, after several Rolex Series teams tested it at Homestead in December, 2005. Mike Kraemer, product manager for Hoosier Racing Tire, expects the compound will perform well.
"The Homestead event is the first race weekend we have brought the DP55 compound to Homestead," he said. "This is the same tire we provided to the teams for the two-day open house testing at Homestead back in December. The results were very good at that test. We expect the same performance and consistency for the race this weekend."
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 .
Contents ©® 2001/2002 Milka
Duno - All Photographs Courtesy of Octavio Estrada