This weekend was a wet and wild one in Miami as the Grand Am Series got underway with its third race of the 2012 season. The competition was soaked so thoroughly that officials had to call an end to the race with 52 minutes still on the clock. This, despite all the cars wearing special wet-weather rubber. It was that bad.
And when officials called the race, it was the SunTrust Corvette Daytona Prototype piloted by Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli that grabbed the checkered flag in this third race of the Grand Am Series.
After an equally-rainy qualifying session, Angelelli started the race at the back of the Daytona Prototype crowd. But just 21 laps later, Angelli had moved all the way up to third place, navigating the course on his Continental rain tires (for which the series is named). Then it was up to Ricky Taylor to stay out of the soup and get his car across the finish line.
Easier said than done. The race was plagued from the start by contact and accidents, and the lead changed several times as contact forced several cars out of the race. Taylor managed to snatch the lead from Richard Westbrook and Enzo Potolicchio, both of whom crashed whilst battling for the lead, forcing a caution flag and restart.
Potolicchio was able to pass Taylor and grab the lead, but not without suffering a drive-through penalty plus five seconds for what officials deemed “avoidable contact”. This put Taylor back in the lead for the last 12 laps under the green flag before officials flew the caution flag for another 13 laps. That kept Taylor in the lead when the race was called off around 3 pm.
It was Taylor and Angelelli’s first victory since last August, and the second victory for a Corvette Daytona Prototype after a victory last month at Barber Motorsports Park for the Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP team. While Taylor was happy with the victory, as a natural competitor he would have no doubt been happier finishing the race on his own terms and under a green flag.
The Action Express Corvette Daytona Prototype also finished on the podium, grabbing third place, behind reigning DP champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas. The top six spots are all within two points of each other though, meaning this season is far from over. Will the Corvette Prototypes rise to the top? They certainly are off to a strong start, with Corvette Prototypes finishing in the top 5 in all 3 races this year, with 2 podium finishes.
That’s not bad at all for a brand new racing program, and the Corvette DP program has a real shot at making a run for the championship. The next race is the Global Barter 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park on May 13th, 2012, which will mark the one-third point of the 12-race season. Can the Corvettes climb to the top… and if they don’t does that mean the end of the Corvette DP program?