Pruett Rips Up The Glen In Qualifying
Scott Pruett bettered the Watkins Glen International track record by two seconds Friday, winning his 12th career pole position for Saturday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
The event, Round 5 of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16, takes the green flag at 2:15 p.m. Saturday. The race will be televised live on SPEED from 2-4 p.m. and resuming from 6-8:30 p.m.
Pruett ran a lap of 1:40.744 (121.496 mph) in the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley he co-drives with Memo Rojas. It was the team’s third pole of the season, with Rojas leading qualifying at Virginia International Raceway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Pruett and Rojas won six races en route to capturing the Daytona Prototype title in 2008, but are winless this season.
“Hopefully, we can start turning poles into victories,” Pruett said. “I’ve always liked this track, and the Ganassi guys have done well here. It’s nice to have the TELMEX car up front. But six hours is a long race.”
Pruett will be joined on the front row by Alex Gurney, who ran a lap of 1:41.442 (120.660 mph) in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley co-driven by Jon Fogarty. The pair enter Saturday’s race with an eight-point lead (119-111) in the Daytona Prototype point standings over David Donohue and Darren Law.
“The No. 01 got in a really good lap,” Gurney said. “They put a good car out there, and Scott did a real good job. It’s nice for us to be on the front row. It’s going to be a long, tough day tomorrow. Hopefully, we can keep it clean.”
The top 11 drivers broke Max Angelelli’s existing track record, set in qualifying for last year’s race. Angelelli qualified third in the No. 10 SunTrust Ford Dallara, running a lap of 1:41.488 (120.605 mph), after the team missed most of Friday’s practice due to a broken oil line.
“I felt I had to do it for the guys,” Angelelli said. “There was no other option. I had to deliver – that’s it.”
Rounding out the top five in qualifying were the two Michael Shank Racing Ford Rileys. Michael Valiante was fourth in the No. 6, 1:41.520 (120.567 mph), followed by Ozz Negri in the No. 60, 1:41.587 (120.488 mph).
Timo Bernhard in the No. 12 Penske Racing Verizon Porsche Riley, Mark Wilkins in the No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley, Ricardo Zonta in the No. 76 Krohn Racing Ford Riley, Ricky Taylor in the No. 13 Beyer Racing Pontiac Riley and Christophe Bouchut in the No. 55 Supercar Life Racing BMW Riley completed the top 10 qualifiers. Also under the track record was Law in the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley.
Pruett’s pole extended his record in the Daytona Prototypes, and pulled to within one of all-time Rolex Series leader James Weaver, who recorded 13 overall poles.
Farnbacher Loles Racing Sweeps GT Front Row
Dirk Werner captured his first career Rolex Series Acxiom GT pole position to lead a front row sweep for Farnbacher Loles Racing.
Werner led qualifying with a lap of 1:51.007 (110.263 mph) in the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 co-driven by Eric Lux. Teammate Wolf Henzler took second after running a lap of 1:51.019 (110.251 mph) in the No. 86 co-driven by Eric Lux.
“I found that my car was really, really good on my first lap out of the pits,” said Werner, the 2007 Rolex Series GT champion. “On my first timed lap, my tire pressures and temperatures were perfect. The car handled really well, and I put in a good lap. Our setups were very good, allowing us to take the front row. Now, we want to stay out of trouble for the first part of the race. We had an issue here last year, so we worked on getting a good qualifying time and it worked out perfectly.”
It was Porsche’s first GT pole of the season, and 75th in Rolex Series GT history.
Pontiacs swept the second row. Robin Liddell was third fastest in the No. 57 BryanMark Financial/Stevenson Automotive Pontiac GXP.R, 1:51.466 (109.809 mph) co-driven by Andrew Davis. Fourth was Paul Edwards in the No. 07 Pontiac/LRPG Pontiac GXP.R co-driven by Kelly Collins, 51.498 (109.778 mph).
Mazdas took the next three positions. Defending Sahlen’s Six Hour winner Jeff Segal was fifth in the No. 69 SpeedSource FXDD Mazda RX-8 co-driven by Emil Assentato and Nick Longhi. Dane Cameron will start fourth, joined by Bryce Miller and Peter Ludwig in the No. 30 Marquis Jet/IPC Mazda RX-8, 1:52.173 (109.117 mph). Seventh was Sylvain Tremblay in the No. 70 SpeedSource Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8, 1:52.593 (108.710 mph). His co-drivers are Nick Ham and David Haskell.
The Rolex 24 At Daytona-winning No. 67 TRG Porsche GT3 of Andy Lally, Justin Marks and RJ Valentine missed qualifying when Valentine spun and was hit by a Daytona Prototype in Friday morning practice. Team owner Kevin Buckler said the team plans to repair the car in time for Saturday’s race.
Saturday’s schedule opens with final practice from 8:30 – 8:50 a.m. The race will be preceded by the Tioga Downs Casino 125 for the NASCAR Camping World East Series.No Comment