AIM Autosport wins, then loses pole at Sears Point

Brian Frisselle and Michael Valiante traded fast laps Friday during Rolex Sports Car Series qualifying at Sears Point, with Frisselle finally claiming the pole for Saturday's Armed Forces Grand-Am 250. The winner of the last two Rolex Series...

Brian Frisselle and Michael Valiante traded fast laps Friday during Rolex Sports Car Series qualifying at Sears Point, with Frisselle finally claiming the pole for Saturday's Armed Forces Grand-Am 250. The winner of the last two Rolex Series races, Frisselle, driving the AIM Autosport Ford Riley, lapped the 12-turn, 2.52-mile road course in 1:25.659. Frisselle's pole winning lap came one lap after Valiante had turned the fastest lap of the 15-minute qualifying session. *[See note at end of story]

"Honestly, after I heard (Valiante's) time, I didn't know if I was going to beat it," admitted Frisselle after his second consecutive pole. "It was a really good time, 1:25.9. I didn't think we would be in the 25 (second range) in qualifying. So I cooled down my tires and got a gap as I caught the (Michael Shank Racing) car. I was looking for a clear, solid lap to see if I could get a good time. And I saw the predicted time and said, 'Oh man this is good.'

"It was definitely hairy out there. I was borderline being out of control. But I was able to finish the lap. And by the time I was able to get that lap I had pretty much toasted my tires and I knew I couldn't top that and that I had gotten the most out of the car. I am really pleased for the team. It's good to reward them at the end here with some results."

Still looking for his first win of the season, Valiante ended up second in the SunTrust Racing Pontiac Dallara, just under three tenths of a second behind Frisselle.

"The track had a lot more grip due to the IRL cars running," said Valiante, referring to the fact that the Rolex Series is sharing the track this weekend with the Indy Car Series. "So it was a bit of an adjustment to get used to the track because of how much more grip it had. The car was really good and we were able to consistently quick lap times and we pulled some fast laps early on. But Brian did an impressive job. My lap wasn't perfect, but it was a pretty good lap and they went quite quick."

David Donohue qualified third in the No. 58 Brumos Porsche Riley, followed by Nic Jonsson, Jon Fogarty, and Bill Auberlen. The championship leading Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley will start sixth in the hands of Memo Rojas. With six wins in 11 races, Rojas and teammate Scott Pruett currently have a 49-point lead over Fogarty and Alex Gurney in the Daytona Prototype drivers' championship.

Rounding out the top-10 were Ricky Taylor, John Pew, and Brad Jaeger. Cheever Racing did not participate in qualifying due to an intake shaft issue and will start from the back of the 17-car Rolex Series grid.

The Rolex Series GT cars are not racing this weekend.

Saturday's race will begin at 3:15 p.m. Pacific Time.

*Editor's Note: The No. 61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley failed post-qualifying technical inspection. Their times set in qualifying are now disallowed due to wing infractions, moving them to the back of the grid for tomorrow's race. Also disqualified for the same infraction was the No. 76 Krohn Racing team's Pontiac Lola.

SunTrust Racing has inherited the pole position to lead the field to the green flag on Saturday.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Krohn Racing , Michael Shank Racing