Three weeks after a fire destroyed his team's transporter and most of its contents during the return trip from the Rolex Sports Car Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, SunTrust Racing's Max Angelelli captured the pole for Saturday's Sahlen's...
Three weeks after a fire destroyed his team's transporter and most of its contents during the return trip from the Rolex Sports Car Series race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, SunTrust Racing's Max Angelelli captured the pole for Saturday's Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen. Driving a Pontiac Riley that last raced at Daytona in February and was for sale prior to the fire, Angelelli lapped the 3.4-mile, 11-turn Watkins Glen International road course in 1:42.888 en route to his first pole of the season. The Italian was just over a tenth of a second quicker than the next fastest driver - Brian Frisselle.
"We were all screaming (in the pits)," said Angelelli, describing his team's jubilation at winning the pole after putting in so much work to prepare their old car to race again. "We were so happy - the entire SunTrust team. I believe we have the best guys in the paddock.
"I didn't really do much. All the guys did everything. We lost everything (in the fire). Look at what they did (in such a short period of time). They put everything together. It's just amazing and this is what they deserve. But I want to give them a good race tomorrow."
Angelelli was fast in both of Friday's practice sessions, but he and the rest of the teams that opted to make qualifying runs early in the schedule 15-minute qualifying session benefited from Ricardo Zonta's excursion into the gravel trap outside of Turn 6, which brought qualifying to an end after only two laps due to the effort necessary to extract Zonta's Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola from the gravel.
"I can't thank Max and everybody on the team and Ganassi and everybody who helped us," said SunTrust Racing team owner Wayne Taylor, referring to all of the other Rolex Series teams and suppliers who helped his team prepare for tomorrow's race. "To turn everything around and come here on the pole is pretty incredible. Tomorrow is more important than today, but we will leave with the pole today and come back tomorrow."
Frisselle's AIM Autosport Ford Riley qualified second. "It was a good decent lap," said Frisselle. "I am happy to be starting from the front row. We've been very competitive all year. We're the only DP that hasn't qualified outside of the top-five this year and we kept that streak going and that's nice. Hopefully, it will be a great race tomorrow."
Memo Gidley, behind the wheel of the Doran Racing Ford Dallara, was third fastest, followed by David Donohue in the first of the two Brumos Racing Porsche Rileys and Ian James in the Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley.
Ganassi Racing's Scott Pruett, who currently leads the Rolex Series drivers' championship, will start 17th after his team decided not to make an early qualifying run. Joining him in the back of the 19-car Daytona Prototype field will be Alex Gurney, who ended up 16th.
SpeedSource's Jeff Segal claimed the GT class pole in the No. 69 Mazda RX- 8, recording a lap of 1:52.329 around the Watkins Glen road course. "We were strong here last year and we've been strong the last few races," said Segal. "We've had some problems in the races but we're looking to close that out tomorrow in the race and follow through with it."
Despite having to carry 100 extra pounds due to a Rolex Series rules change, the No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R of Paul Edwards was second fastest - a little more than half a second behind Segal. Wolf Henzler, driving the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Porsche, rounded out the top-three in GT
"We weren't really happy with the car in practice," said Edwards. "We were struggling with rear grip and it wasn't to our liking. We actually made a rear spring change, shock change, and a wing change all together just before qualifying, which is not a normal practice for us. But it all worked out and the car was super-good. I was able to push as hard as I could. I couldn't have gone any faster and I'm really happy to be on the front row.
Saturday's race will take the green flag at 11 a.m. EDT.