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Garcia, Spirit Of Daytona On Grand-Am Pole

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, April 8 2011

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Antonio Garcia ran a lap of 101.368 mph (1:21.682) in the Spirit of Daytona Racing entry in Friday’s qualifying at Barber Motorsports Park to capture the pole for Saturday’s Porsche 250.

It was the first career pole in the Rolex Grand-Am Racing Series for Garcia, Spirit of Daytona Racing and the Coyote chassis.

“This is my fourth year with the Coyote chassis and we’ve been developing the car a lot,” said Garcia, whose lone Rolex Series victory was in the 2009 Rolex 24 At Daytona for Brumos Racing. “We’ve been very close to having the pole position twice. Now I’m very happy for Coyote and Spirit of Daytona for this first pole.”

Jon Fogarty will start second, running a lap of 100.756 mph (1:22.178) in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley co-driven by Alex Gurney.

“To convert this into a win, we’re going to have to be extremely smart during the race to convert this into a victory relative to pacing ourselves and conserving the car and the tires,” Fogarty said. “We have some ideas that should help us in the race. Our goal is to have a consistent car, not necessarily maximizing our speed.”

Ricky Taylor, co-driver of the SunTrust Racing machine with veteran Italian Max Angelelli, turned a fast lap of 1 minute, 22.193 mph (100.738 mph). It placed Taylor third on the starting grid among 27 car-and-driver combinations entered for Saturday’s 2-hour, 45-minute race. Despite the solid starting position, Taylor, who earned his first career Rolex Series pole here last year, was somewhat disappointed after today’s 15-minute qualifying session.

“It wasn’t anything to do with the car,” said the 21-year-old Taylor, who is a mechanical engineering major at the University of Central Florida. “It’s just that I didn’t put two laps together well enough and just made too many mistakes. I think we had a car that could’ve been on the pole or second – definitely second, but maybe even pole. I just think I didn’t get everything from it. It’s just a matter of saving your tires for the race.

“Speed isn’t going to mean as much as it should. Having more tires for the race than everyone else is going to make the difference tomorrow. It’s hard to tell just how good the car is because the balance changed so much from old to new tires. On new tires, like I had for qualifying, the car feels really good, but it was a 180-degree turnaround from when I got out of the car after this morning’s practice, which was on old tires. The one really good thing for tomorrow is that I’m on the inside at the start.”

GT qualifying also featured first-time poles for both the driver and car owner.

Dane Cameron was quickest in the No. 41 Dempsey Racing/Team Seattle Mazda RX-8, running a lap of 90.883 mph (1:31.106).

“Last year Dempsey Racing won its first race, so I’m proud to have giving the team its first pole,” said Cameron, who co-drives with James Gue. “If everything goes well tomorrow, maybe we can get win number two in the column for Dempsey Racing.”

“Dane has done phenomenally well all year,” said Patrick Dempsey, who earned his first pole as a car owner. He will start eighth in the team’s No. 40 Visit Florida Mazda RX-8. “I’m really happy with the team. Everyone’s gelling nicely, and all their hard work is a testament to how our cars are doing so well here.

Robin Liddell will start second in GT, after running a lap of 90.630 mph (1:31.360) in the No. 57 Stevenson Automotive Group Camaro co-driven by Jan Magnussen.

The top-five in qualifying were the following teams:

1. Spirit of Daytona Racing (No. 90 Chevrolet Coyote) with Paul Edwards and Antonio Garcia (1:21.682 at 101.368 mph)

2. Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing (No. 99 Chevrolet Riley) with Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney (1:22.178 at 100.756 mph)

3. SunTrust Racing (No. 10 Chevrolet Dallara) with Ricky Taylor and Max Angelelli (1:22.293 at 100.738 mph)

4. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (No. 01 BMW Riley) with Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett (1:22.374 at 100.517 mph)

5. Doran Racing (No. 77 Ford Dallara) with Brian Frisselle and Henri Richard (1:22.741 at 100.071 mph)

Info Manager | , RacinToday.com Friday, April 8 2011
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