Braun scores and loses first career pole at Mid-Ohio

Evidently missing a race didn't slow down Grand-Am's fastest teenager. Colin Braun ran his fastest lap in the closing moments of qualifying to capture the pole for Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Braun's fastest...

Evidently missing a race didn't slow down Grand-Am's fastest teenager. Colin Braun ran his fastest lap in the closing moments of qualifying to capture the pole for Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. Braun's fastest lap of 1:20.202 edged Luis Diaz in his COMPUSA Lexus Riley by .123 of a second.

This race was the first for the Daytona Prototypes with normal qualifying since Long Beach in April. Qualifying was canceled the last event in Watkins Glen over Braun's participation in the race with the field set by owner points. Prior to that, for three races, the series tried qualifying races unsuccessfully.

Braun was held out of the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen due to age restrictions as a result of running in conjunction with the IRL IndyCar Series. The IRL has tobacco sponsorship and drivers under 18 (Braun is 17) were not allowed to compete. He encountered the same difficulty at Homestead-Miami earlier this season. As small consolation, Braun's car scored its first victory of the year with Jorg Bergmeister and fill-in driver Boris Said.

Diaz's co-driver Scott Pruett will have a busy weekend. Pruett will run in Sunday's NASCAR Nextel Cup event in Sonoma as well as tomorrow's Rolex Series race here. The duo lie 2nd in points, four behind Bergmeister.

Third on the grid is the Fernandez Racing entry piloted by Mario Haberfeld, ahead of two-time winner this year Patrick Long and two-time Atlantic champion Jon Fogarty. Twenty-six DPs will take the start for the race.

In GT, Joey Hand scored a surprising pole position. He has mostly sat on the sidelines this season but took a drive in the Matt Connolly Motorsports BMW M3 for this race. Hand, as Said did in a Pontiac at Phoenix, has put a team that has struggled this season on point with a chance to take down the class leaders. Two Tafel Racing Porsches, the No. 72 of Wolf Henzler and the No. 73 of Andrew Davis, line up behind Hand.

The Racer's Group Pontiacs are only 5th and 6th on the grid, their worst starting spots of the year. The Henzler/Robin Liddell Porsche has the upper hand for this race as they chase down points leaders Andy Lally and Marc Bunting. They won the last race in Watkins Glen following two straight triumphs for the TRG Pontiacs on the short tracks at Phoenix and Lime Rock.

Editor's Note: Grand American Rolex Series released a statement that the three top qualifiers failed post-qualifying tech inspection

Per GARRA:
Patrick Long will start from the pole position for Saturday night's Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank (SPEED, 3:00 p.m. ET, June 25) as the original top-three qualifiers all failed post-qualifying technical inspection at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

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Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mario Haberfeld , Boris Said , Jon Fogarty , Scott Pruett , Colin Braun , Robin Liddell , Joey Hand , Luis Diaz , Andy Lally , Jörg Bergmeister , Patrick Long , Andrew Davis , Marc Bunting , Matt Connolly , Wolf Henzler