Westbrook On Tudor Pole At Belle Isle
The No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP driven by Richard Westbrook captured the Total Pole Award for Saturday’s Tudor United SportsCar Championship race at Belle Isle in Detroit.
Westbrook posted a time of 1 minute, 25.011 seconds/99.517 mph. He’ll co-drive in the one-hour, 40-minute race (12:10 p.m. ET start; 1:30 p.m. on FOX Sports 1) with Michael Valiante.
“There was just so much chatter on the radio, you’re P1, now P2, now P1, now P2,” Westbrook said after the chaotic qualifying session that featured numerous lead changes. “I think I did a 21-1 (1:21.10 lap) with three laps to go and I thought that was it, I’m done now. I did a cool- down lap and fortunately they came [back] on the radio and said ‘You’re going to need to do a 25-0 (1:25.0 lap).’
“I just threw all caution to the wind … sometimes on a street circuit you get rewarded or sometimes, it can bite you.”
Memo Rojas, in the No. 01 Telcel Ford EcoBoost/Riley, was the session’s initial leader and stayed atop the chart until midway through the session when he was bumped by Christian Fittipaldi, driver of the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP. Jordan Taylor briefly led the session in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP before a Westbrook-Fittipaldi-Westbrook exchange sequence.
In the session’s final minute, Ryan Dalziel blazed to the top spot, in the No. 1 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b/Honda of Extreme Speed Motorsports, only to have Westbrook pull off his last-gasp, pole-winning lap.
Dalziel, who will co-drive with Scott Sharp, ended up second-fastest at 1:25.029/99.495 mph. Fittipaldi, who will co-drive with Joao Barbosa, qualified third at 1:25.139/99.367 mph.
Spencer Pumpelly drove the No. 45 Venezuela/eSilicon Audi R8 LMS to the pole for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic presented by Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers (12:10 p.m. ET start, 1:30 p.m. on FOX Sports 1) in the closing minutes of the 15-minute qualifying session with a time of 1 minute, 32.914 seconds/91.052 mph.
“We had high hopes this weekend, coming here: doing well, getting the pole, winning the race,” said Pumpelly, who co-drives with Nelson Canache Jr. “We just have to get that chip off our shoulder tomorrow and finally come through with, not an almost, but a ‘did.’”
It was the second consecutive pole for Pumpelly and the ninth of his career.
The pole changed hands 10 times throughout the session, including five times over the final five minutes. Leh Keen briefly held the top spot in the No. 22 WeatherTech Porsche 911 GT America of Alex Job Racing with five minutes remaining, but quickly lost the position to the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia of Alessandro Balzan.
Lap times continued to drop as the session went on with Pumpelly and TRG-AMR’s James Davison swapping the pole before Pumpelly took it for good with just two minutes left.
Jeroen Bleekemolen made a run at the top spot at the session ended, but fell a mere 0.278 seconds short in the No. 33 ViperExchange.com SRT Viper GT3-R with a lap of 1:33.192/90.780 mph. Kevin Estre – who held the pole briefly in the middle part of the session – qualified third at 1:33.246/90.728 mph in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America.
The Motor Racing Network will carry live radio coverage of the Chevrolet Sports Car Classic beginning at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday. The broadcast will be available on Sirius Channel 117, IMSA.com and MRN.com.No Comment