SunTrust Boys Stay Hot At Road America Qualifying
Ricky Taylor captured his third consecutive Daytona Prototype pole Friday in GRAND-AM’s return to Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., and will lead the field to the green flag for Saturday’s Rolex Sports Car Series 250 Driven by VisitFlorida.com.
Taylor and Max Angelelli will be seeking their third consecutive victory in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Chevrolet/Dallara when the two-hour race starts at 11 a.m. CT Saturday.
“Of our three poles this season, this is the most satisfying,” said Taylor, who ran a lapof 2:01.050 (120.387 mph) on the 4.048-mile circuit. “We lost an engine in Wednesday’s testing so we started the weekend a day behind. Then we missed most of Thursday’s practicewhen it rained most of the day. So today we took a swing at it, and our car felt really goodagain. When I saw the lap time on my dash, I was really shocked.”
Team owner Wayne Taylor was equally happy with the pole.
“As Brian (Pillar), our engineer, said, this is the most impressive pole he’s seen, given that we’ve had virtually no practice because we had an engine issue during the test day Wednesday, then it rained on Thursday, and I think Max and Ricky, together, did a maximum of 14 laps of testing and practice,” Wayne Taylor said.
“So, going into qualifying, it was a real unknown. We really didn’t have any idea where we would end up. I don’t know how Ricky’s doing this. He’s obviously doing something right. He has a lot of confidence. He has a lot of support from the team. Brian, engineering this car, has been absolutely faultless. When our drivers have a car they can feel confident about, they can do more with it.
“And I’ll just say that Brian has methodically gone through this car since the beginning of the season and just kept making it better and better and better. If you think, in past years, we would be good at one track and not good at another. Now, we basically have a car that is good everywhere, which is the way we feel it should have been a few years ago. So, I’m very happy – so very happy.”
Jon Fogarty, who shares the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley withAlex Gurney, will start second after running a lap of 2:01.204 (120.234 mph).
“This is the best our car has felt in 2011, and Road America is one of my favoritetracks,” Fogarty said. “I’m very pleased. We just missed the pole by a little bit, but Ricky did a great job. I’m pleased that we have two Chevrolet teams occupying the front row.”
In GT qualifying, Wayne Nonnamaker gave Team Sahlen its first Rolex Series pole,with a lap of 2:14.678 (77.097 mph) in the No. 42 TheRaceSite.com Mazda RX-8 he shareswith new co-driver John Edwards.
It was his second career pole in the series, as Nonnamakertook the SGS pole at the Brumos Porsche 250 at Daytona International Speedway in 2004.
“I knew we had a good car before qualifying, but I’m really surprised where we ended up,” said the 33-year-old driver from North Canton, Ohio. “This is such a fun track and abeautiful facility. It’s been 10 years since we last raced here, and it took awhile to get re-accustomed to the track. I’m very happy that GRAND-AM was able to come back here.”
Jan Magnussen will start second in the No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro co-driven by Robin Liddell, running a lap of 2:15.273 (107.729 mph) in a bid to win his third pole of the season.
“This is a real driver’s circuit,” said Magnussen, an eight-time winner in Rolex Series competition, who has competed here since 1996. “You get a good feeling here of going fast, and you know that if you mess up, it’s a big penalty. That, to me, makes a good race track.”
Saturday opens with a 30-minute practice session, beginning at 9:15 a.m. CNo Comment