Maia holds on to Road America pole. (Elkhart Lake, WI) August 17-Leo Maia held onto the provisional pole in final qualifying for Sundays Barber Dodge Pro Series race as the field was unable to improve on his Friday lap time of 2:13.855 seconds...
Maia holds on to Road America pole.
(Elkhart Lake, WI) August 17-Leo Maia held onto the provisional pole in final qualifying for Sundays Barber Dodge Pro Series race as the field was unable to improve on his Friday lap time of 2:13.855 seconds at scenic Road America. Dan Di Leo, who had suspension problems which prevented him from posting a time in Friday's session, will start alongside Maia on the front row after setting the fastest time in the second session with a lap of 2:14.120 seconds around the 4.048-mile permanent road course. Mexico City, Mexico's Memo Rojas will start third after being demoted one spot by Di Leo from the provisional second spot his Friday effort of 2:14.190 seconds had earned him. Maia, Di Leo, and Rojas are all looking for their first win in Barber Dodge competition and are all looking to make it happen on Sunday.
Laguna Seca round winner Rafael Sperafico will start from the fourth position alongside Rojas, with Langley, B.C.'s Josh Beaulieu starting alongside Rhonda Trammell in row three. Mid-Ohio round winner Marc Breuers will start next to German Quiroga, who improved both his time and position in the second session to move into eighth on the grid. Cleveland round winner Davy Cook will line up next to Barber Dodge Champion-elect A.J. Allmendinger to make up the fifth row. Allmendinger was one of the few drivers to improve his time in the second session, but not enough so to move him up from the tenth place spot he secured on Friday.
Morning rains and a pair of red flags prevented most of the field from improving on the times set on Friday. The polesitter had no complaints about the track conditions or the session, though.
"This is my first time starting from the top five, and its great to have a clear track ahead of me come race time," said the 2002 Skip Barber Big Scholarship winner. "I am looking forward to tomorrows race, since I have a really good race car."
When asked what made the difference this weekend in getting his strongest qualifying effort of the season, Maia did not have any explanation for his improvement.
"I wouldn't say I am doing anything differently at all," said Maia. "It's just a matter of being comfortable with the car and getting the most out of it and out of myself. I really like driving this track and it suits my style, and that might be part of it, but for the most part, I am doing the same thing inside the car I have been doing every session this season. This series is so competitive that you have to have everything go exactly right to get the pole, and fortunately that's what's happened this weekend. I just want to convert this into a win."
The qualifying bonus point is Di Leo's first of the season, and was exactly what Di Leo was hoping for out of the second qualifying session after starting the morning with no time on the board, and seemingly with little opportunity to make a move after rains in the morning looked to hold on heading into the qualifying session, only to clear up and allow the track to dry just as the field took to the track.
"I am really happy with this session, of course. It's a complete turn around from where I was this morning. I got up early to get to the track to prepare for qualifying, but it was raining and I was pretty sure that we would be running in the rain, which would have meant that I would not have been able to get anywhere close to yesterdays times, but fortunately it cleared up in time for us to get some dry track. "
When asked for his thoughts about making his first start from the front row in the Barber Dodge Pro Series alongside Maia, who is also having his first front row start, Di Leo said that if he had to pick someone to start next to, it would be Maia.
"We raced together in the Skip Barber National Race Series, so I have a lot of respect for him on the track, and he does for me, so there should be no problems at the start. The fact that the first corner is relatively fast should also help avoid any problems after the green."
Memo Rojas will start in third for Sunday's race, and was largely unconcerned with losing the one spot on the grid in today's qualifying session.
"My car is really consistent, so I have a lot of confidence heading into tomorrow. I have raced here before, and once I started in seventh, and ended the first lap in second, so passing shouldn't be a problem here."
The field is now set for tomorrow's 40-minute race, which begins at 8:00 A.M. EST. Full results and story will be posted at www.barberdodge.com.
The Barber Dodge Pro Series is the Official Entry Level Professional Series of CART. The drivers utilize identically prepared single seat open wheel Reynard-Dodge racecars. Barber Dodge Pro Series provides a level playing field where driving talent, not financial resources, play the decisive role. This state-of-the-art platform, with its carbon composite construction, raised nose and 6-speed sequential gearbox, takes full advantage of the 265hp all aluminum Dodge V6 Intrepid motor that is exclusive to this series. Additionally, all of the Barber Dodges compete on identical Michelin Pilot racing slicks.
To ensure absolute equality for all competitors, the Barber Dodge Pro Series owns, maintains, prepares and transports all the cars and equipment. This serves to control costs while allowing the drivers to concentrate solely on developing their driving skills. The Barber Dodge Pro Series rewards those with dedication and skill with true financial incentive - an incredible $55,100 in prize money is available for each Barber Dodge Pro Series event with $13,000 going to the race winner. The overall Series Champion receives a $100,000 scholarship towards entry in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, and the series Rookie of the Year receives $185,000 in career enhancement funding. In total, the Barber Dodge Pro Series pays out over $1 million annually in prize money, contingencies and scholarships.