Road Atlanta: Highcroft Racing qualifying report

Dayton Qualifies Seventh in Top Class For Tomorrow's Petit Le Mans At Road Atlanta Friday BRASELTON, Ga., Sept. 29 - Duncan Dayton of Danbury, Conn., put the Highcroft Racing Lola EX257 AER No. 9 solidly on the grid for tomorrow's Petit Le ...

Dayton Qualifies Seventh in Top Class For Tomorrow's Petit Le Mans At Road Atlanta Friday

BRASELTON, Ga., Sept. 29 - Duncan Dayton of Danbury, Conn., put the Highcroft Racing Lola EX257 AER No. 9 solidly on the grid for tomorrow's Petit Le Mans American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race at Road Atlanta Motor Sports Center Friday afternoon, qualifying seventh in the top class, LMP1, and ninth overall in the 28-car field.

Joining Dayton behind the wheel in the 1,000-mile, 10-hour race that will be televised live on SPEED starting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday will be Indy Racing League IndyCar star Vitor Meira of Brasilia, Brazil and Indianapolis, Ind., and the Grand American Rolex Series' Memo Gidley of Novato, Calif. and Sherrills Ford, N.C.

Dayton's best lap in Friday's qualifying session was timed in 1:12.316, which works out to an average speed of 126.445 miles per hour for the 2.540-mile, 12-turn road course. His fastest lap came on his sixth of eight laps in the qualifying session.

The pole for the 1,000-mile, 10-hour race went to Nicolas Minassian in the Creation Autosportif Creation CA06/H-01 Judd No. 88 with a 1:10.829 (129.100 mph).

"We lost a little front aero balance, about 3 percent, which made it push in Turn One and Turn Six," Dayton said after qualifying.

The 25-minute session for the LMP1 and LMP2 cars was interrupted at one point when Butch Leitzinger spun, hit the wall and brought out the red flag. He wasn't hurt and his car was only slightly damaged.

"The red flag hurt us, because we didn't get the run we wanted," Dayton said. "We had been building up our speed and our Dunlop tires were just coming in. When the tires were going to be at their peak window, we had to slow down.

"But I'm really pleased with the job the team is doing," Dayton emphasized. "The set-up is very good, and I'm thrilled to be racing with Memo and Vitor."

Gidley is celebrating his birthday today. In honor of that occasion, the Highcroft crew threw a cream pie in his face during the lunch break. Luckily he took it well.

-credit: highcroft racing

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Series ALMS
Drivers Duncan Dayton , Butch Leitzinger , Memo Gidley , Nicolas Minassian , Vitor Meira