Rojas, Pruett On Pole At Glen’s Short Course
Memo Rojas averaged 134.718 mph around the Watkins Glen short course to win the pole for the Grand-Am’s 200-mile race on Saturday. Driving the Riley-BMW of Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, Rojas clinched the pole when an incident halted qualifying nine minutes early.
“It’s great to win the pole,” said Rojas, who shares a 19-point lead with co-driver Scott Pruett over Ryan Dalziel in the Daytona Prototype class standings (267-248). “It’s been a great season so far. We focus on doing the best we can, and I’m really overwhelmed by the number of wins we have so far this year. Now this pole position is in a good way to start the weekend.”
Mark Wilkins was second with a lap of 134.645 mph, just 0.172 seconds behind in the session halted early due to an incident when Mark Patterson spun in the Inner Loop and was collected by Buddy Rice. Both drivers’ cars are expected to be repaired for the race.
“It was a tough session because of the incident, and it would have been interesting to see how it would have worked when everyone got their tires up to speed,” Rojas said. “I think we were on the right page.”
Rojas and Pruett are seeking their seventh victory of the season, which would tie the single-season record set in 2007 by Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty. The Ganassi duo won the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in June, their third consecutive victory in the event on the Watkins Glen International 3.4-mile long circuit. It was the third pole position of the season for Rojas, breaking a tie with Sun Trust Racing’s Ricky Taylor in that category.
Pruett did double-duty on Friday. In addition to practicing the DP car, he took a few laps in the No. 24 DuPont Chevrolet in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice. Pruett is on standby in case regular driver Jeff Gordon’s wife goes into labor this weekend.
Taylor qualified third with a lap of 134.067 mph, the only other driver to clock below 1:06. He will be joined on the second row by Fogarty in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Riley-Chevrolet he drove to victory with Gurney in the series’ previous race at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Sylvain Tremblay drove an average lap speed of 122.906 mph to capture the GT class pole in the No. 70 Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8, erasing Cort Wagner’s mark set in 2003 in a Ferrari 360GT.
“The car was good from the first session, and we just kept tweaking and tweaking it,” said Tremblay, who is eight points (262-254) behind SpeedSource teammates Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato in the class championship chase. “The team is firing on all rotors — not cylinders — right now. After the history we had at New Jersey (SpeedSource swept the GT podium), we’re proving that wasn’t a fluke. We’re here for real, and we’re out to chase this championship.”
Andrew Davis qualified second with a lap of 122.866 mph in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro, followed by motorcycle legend Scott Russell aboard the Banner Racing Corvette.No Comment