Fogarty Ends Taylor Pole Streak
By John Sturbin | Senior Writer
Jon Fogarty extended two pole records and defended another during qualifying for the Montreal 200 Friday afternoon at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Quebec, ending rival Ricky Taylor’s streak of consecutive pole positions at six.
Fogarty drove the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet Riley to its second pole of the 2011 GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series season, and a series-leading fourth in five races at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. A total of 25 car-and-driver combinations will take the green flag for Saturday morning’s two-hour race, a prelude to the afternoon’s NASCAR Nationwide Series NAPA 200.
Fogarty, who will co-drive with GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing teammate Alex Gurney, grabbed the pole early in the 15-minute session on his second flying lap and improved his speed twice more to lock down the top spot at 1 minute, 32.999-seconds and 104.866 mph. The pole was his third consecutive at Montreal and fourth overall after also qualifying first in the debut GRAND-AM race at CGV in 2007.
Fogarty also extended to 18 his Daytona Prototype career-leading pole record, while preventing SunTrust Racing’s Taylor from matching his record of seven consecutive poles set in 2007. Fogarty earned GAINSCO’s first pole of 2011 in March at the Grand Prix of Miami.
“Getting the pole in and of itself is the best thing about today,” Fogarty said. “The record is nice and everything, but it’s not what we come out here to do; we come out here to be the fastest in each and every session and ultimately in the race. This is one of the steps in getting there, and having a fast car in qualifying bodes well for the race setup.”
Fogarty did admit to feeling some pressure over trying to keep his in-season consecutive pole record from being equaled. His seven consecutive poles were part of GAINSCO’s record 10 during 2007’s championship season.
“I won’t disregard the fact that I did feel maybe a little bit of extra pressure,” Fogarty said. “Ricky has been doing an awesome job all year, and they have been really tough to beat in qualifying. We actually think we learned something from them over the last couple of races that we tried in this qualifying session. It seemed to work out well for us. We didn’t roll into it so quickly. We didn’t try to set the time right off the bat, we let the tires come to us and that served us well.”
Taylor, driver of the No. 10 Chevrolet Dallara fielded by Wayne Taylor Racing, settled for the outside of the front row after his session on the 2.709-mile, 15-turn Formula One circuit.
Taylor’s best qualifying lap of 1 minute, 33.681-seconds and 104.102 mph was almost 0.7 of a second off Fogarty’s pole-setting effort. Still, it put the 22-year-old Taylor on the front row for the seventh consecutive race and the SunTrust car there for the eighth time in 11 events this season.
“Our car was good in qualifying, once again,” said Taylor, who finished third at Montreal with teammate Max Angelelli last season. “Part of the reason we’re not on pole, I think, is a little bit down to me. I don’t think I got quite as much as I could out of the tires when they were at their best early in the session. I did my fastest lap the last lap of the session, so I don’t think I got the most out of it.
“Jon did a good job. That’s four out of five poles for him at Montreal. Of course, I’m disappointed. It’s nice to have something to look back on. I’m just really happy I had that run of six (consecutive poles). It was pretty special and I’m really fortunate to have such a good team behind me. One pole is really satisfying for me. I’m disappointed, but I’m also fortunate. I’m definitely looking forward to the race. I think we have a good race car.”
Only this race and the season-ending EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course next month remain on the schedule.
Rounding out the top five in DP qualifying were the Action Express Racing No. 5 Porsche Riley with David Donohue and Darren Law (1:34.082 at 103.659 mph); the Spirit of Daytona Racing No. 90 Chevrolet Coyote with Paul Edwards and Antonio Garcia (1:34.407 at 103.302 mph) and the Starworks Motorsport No. 2 Ford Riley with Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow (1:34.435 at 103.271 mph).
In Grand Touring (GT), Australian newcomer Owen Kelly put the No. 31 Marsh Racing Corvette on pole with a lap of 1:42:217 and 95.409 mph. Ronnie Bremer grabbed the third GT starting position behind the wheel of the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R.
GRAND-AM race time is 11 a.m., EDT, with same-day-delayed television provided by SPEED at 7 p.m. Live radio will be provided by Motor Racing Network and Sirius Channel 94 beginning with pre-race activities at 10:45 a.m. Live timing and scoring during all on-track sessions can be found at www.grand-am.com, and on mobile devices at m.grand-am.com.No Comment