Max Angelelli was bristling after finishing second along with teammates Jordan Taylor and Ryan Hunter-Reay in the Rolex 24 at Daytona. The Italian veteran, whose Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette Daytona Prototype was overtaken by Juan Pablo Montoya's TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing Riley BMW for the lead in the final hour, said he believed that the engine restrictions facing the Chevrolet teams made it "like driving in handcuffs."
"We have something restricted, OK? Just like driving with handcuffs; you can't do it, can't drive," fumed Angelelli.
Told that winning car owner Chip Ganassi had said his team had found speed in development of its Riley's rear wing, Angelelli was dismissive: "We are not rookies. I mean, what else can I do? It's so obvious, so unfair."
Grand-Am had issued new performance balancing parameters for the race under which Chevrolet-powered cars gained 100 rpm but were obliged to run a mandated air restrictor, while the Ford engines lost 300 rpm.
"We were hoping with a strategy to make it to the end and beat them with the fuel [strategy]. So we didn't change tires – I had many, many laps on my tires, and we were hoping just to make it like that with the strategy and get the win," Angelelli added. "But Montoya and the 01 car is another league, is an A class. We are B class."
Race winner Scott Pruett countered that the ongoing performance adjustments in Grand-Am's Rolex Series have proven their value over time.
"I think it's a great thing that Grand-Am continually looks to equalize the cars – as you saw, all the Rileys had to add drag to the cars, and everybody knew that we were in a deficit on the engine side," Pruett said. "We won two races, Chevy won eight races last year, so I think it was pretty clear where the dominance was, and I think what we've seen so far, if it's not right, they'll come back and fix it.
"The NASCAR regime has always been to entertain the fans with close competition, and our series is owned by NASCAR with the same philosophy, and if they feel – I guarantee you, there's probably a chance our car will be impounded and taken back to the NASCAR tech center and they'll have a good close look at it and make any changes needed if they feel like they need to do it." For more of Pruett's views on the subject, click here.
After finishing third in the same Ford-powered Riley of Michael Shank Racing in which he won last year, AJ Allmendinger was more philosophical.
"They had the cars to beat, for sure," he said of the Ganassi squad. "They did their homework, and it's no secret that with the way testing works, everybody is kind of hiding some stuff and trying to keep it in reserve for the race, and last year we were able to capitalize on that, and we got our turn and won the race.
"You know, it was their turn. They did their homework and they played the game the best. When it's your year, you've got to capitalize on it. We did that last year, they did that this year.
"Obviously we knew Juan was going to be tough to beat, so I think he probably took it just a little easy on the restart. I got around him on the outside in [Turn] 1, and at that point I knew I had to go. That was my only chance.
"I got to the outside of the 9 car [Joao Barbosa] there, and I thought we were wheel to wheel and side by side, and he just used me up. That was disappointing. We weren't going to beat the 01 car, so I thought we had a chance to compete for second. Fortunately he got a penalty for that so we could get the podium because it filled the whole radiator up with dirt, so we had to pit.
"Just one of those racing things, with that point with an hour to go, it's go time. No hard feelings there, it was a fun battle"