HOMESTEAD, Fla.—It didn’t rain steadily throughout the entire Grand Am Rolex Grand Prix of Miami—sometimes it rained very hard. The track was so wet the race had to start under yellow, and soaked when the green flag waved and got wetter with every passing minute. After two hours, the last 37 minutes run under caution, Grand Am officials had to call the race.
The race win went to the series’ odd couple—45-year-old veteran Max Angelelli and 21-year-old rising star Ricky Taylor, driving the #10 SunTrust Dallara-Corvette. Angelelli started ninth and worked his way up to third before handing off to Taylor, who inherited the lead when the second-place car rammed the leader. Taylor dodged the spinning cars and stayed in the lead until the race was stopped.
“Every year we come here, we’re not really looking forward to it because our car doesn’t normally suit this track,” Taylor told the post-race press conference. “Our guys did a great job. Even in the dry we had a winning car.
“I was hoping Max wouldn’t do such a good job so I could get in the car without a lot of pressure and start in the middle of the pack but he did an unbelievable job as always, getting up to third,” Taylor joked. “All I had to do pretty much was avoid the crash in Turn Two and then not crash myself.”
The rain didn’t prevent a full race’s worth of competition. Despite the difficult conditions, the drivers were there to race and they went all out between the frequent caution periods caused by storm cells blowing through.
Enzo Potolicchio in the #8 Starworks Riley Ford started from the pole by dint of having the most championship points, since qualifying was cancelled due to rain. Richard Westbrook in the #90 Spirit of Daytona Coyote Corvette pressed Potolicchio from the green flag, finally pushing past on lap ten.
Potolicchio kept hard after Westbrook, and on lap 28 tried too hard, nudging the SDR Coyote off the track in Turn Two. Ricky Taylor in the #10 SunTrust Dallara-Corvette swept past the two spinning cars to seize the lead. Potoloicchio overtook Taylor on the next lap, but the Starworks driver was handed a stop-and-hold penalty for punting Westbrook. This gave the race lead back to Taylor.
Eight drivers spun off the track in the next ten minutes as the rain intensified and ponds and rivers formed on the course. At 2:23 p.m., after 45 minutes of racing and 30 minutes of caution, the yellow flag waved for the final time.
The field continued to circulate behind the pace car, waiting for the rain to stop, but it got worse instead. At three p.m. the checkered flag waved, giving SunTrust’s Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli their first win of the 2012 season
The final irony? Half an hour after the race ended, the rain stopped and the sun came out for the first time all weekend.
The Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series heads northeast for its next race, the Global Barter 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park on May 13. Tickets are available through the New Jersey Motorsports Park website.