Allmendinger takes Mid-Ohio provisional pole. (Lexington, Ohio) August 9- A.J. Allmendinger is determined to wrap up the Barber Dodge Pro Series championship as soon as possible, and moved one step closer to doing so today by taking one point...
Allmendinger takes Mid-Ohio provisional pole.
(Lexington, Ohio) August 9- A.J. Allmendinger is determined to wrap up the Barber Dodge Pro Series championship as soon as possible, and moved one step closer to doing so today by taking one point for the provisional pole at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course on the 2.258-mile permanent road course in Lexington, Ohio for the CART Grand Prix of Mid Ohio. Behind Allmendinger qualified Julio Campos, the 2001 Formula Dodge National Champion, with the 2001 Barber Dodge Pro Series Rookie of the Year Rafael Sperafico carding the third-fastest time in the first qualifying session.
Marc Breuers, who runs second in the championship battle to Allmendinger, qualified behind Sperafico, with Leo Maia showing his speed in the Quaker State-liveried machine with his first top-five qualifying effort of the season. Christian Szymczak qualified sixth, with Cleveland round winner Davy Cook in seventh. Josh Rehm made the most of the session to qualify eighth, his best qualifying effort in the Barber Dodge Pro Series to date, as Memo Rojas and Dan Di Leo rounded out the top ten on the provisional grid.
The provisional pole point is Allmendinger's sixth of the season and with his lead is now extended to 53 points over Breuers, he can clinch the championship with a second place finish in Sunday's race, but finishing second is the last thing on the Hollister, California resident's mind.
"I prepared for this weekend the same way I have for the seven races before, with only one goal in mind, and that's to win the race. Its good to know that this effort today gets me one more point ahead of Marc, but really, my goal is to win the race and if I do that, I know that the championship will come with it."
The session was red-flagged early when an oil line burst on the front stretch, leaving the CART Simple Green Safety team to clean the track. As a result, the half-hour session was truncated to just over 15 minutes of qualifying time. The session ran unstopped for the final half of the session as every competitor scurried back on track to set their best time with the short time remaining.
Allmendinger ended the session on top, but it was championship contender Breuers in his Sunoco machine who was atop the sheets for the majority of the session. The shortened session meant that the timing sheets were changing every lap. With 10 minutes remaining in the session, Marc Breuers was atop the sheets with a 1:26.002 second lap with Julio Campos in second, Dan Di Leo third, Memo Rojas fourth, and Christian Szymczak in fifth. As the times dropped with the rising temperatures increasing the grip of the Michelins, the order was soon shuffled with Szymczak moving into third and Josh Rehm moving into the sixth spot, which was hotly contested as Danica Patrick moved into sixth only to have Davy Cook take the spot on the next lap and Rojas taking it shortly thereafter.
With three minutes remaining in the session, Allmendinger had cleared himself of traffic and was able to get some fast laps in, knocking Breuers off the top of the sheets. Leo Maia was the next to make a jump up with a 1:24.950 lap moving him into the fifth spot just as Rafael Sperafico knocked Allmendinger off the pole with a lap of 1:24.922. Allmendinger was quick to respond in the next few seconds to take the top spot for good with a 1:24.811, a time he was able to improve on to get to the final provisional pole time of 1:24.646 as Sperafico came up just .033 of a second short in his bid for the pole as the checkered flag flew.
Final qualifying will take place tomorrow morning at 9:10 A.M. with the race scheduled to take place on Sunday at 10:15 A.M. 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.