California: Qualifying report

Rolex 24 winner grabs inaugural Grand American 400 Pole with dominant run FONTANA, Calif. (March 22, 2002) -- Belgian Didier Theys captured his third-straight pole of the Rolex Sports Car Series season during qualifying for Saturday's Grand ...

Rolex 24 winner grabs inaugural Grand American 400 Pole with dominant run

FONTANA, Calif. (March 22, 2002) -- Belgian Didier Theys captured his third-straight pole of the Rolex Sports Car Series season during qualifying for Saturday's Grand American 400 on California Speedway's new road course. Theys piloted the #27 Doran Lista Racing Judd-powered Dallara to a blistering 1:29.151 lap at 113.874 mph, shaving more than two seconds off his best practice time. Englishman James Weaver will start the inaugural Grand American 400 in the outside pole position with his 1:31.811 lap (110.575 mph) in the Dyson Racing Team #16 Thetford/Norcold Judd-engined Crawford.

Terry Borcheller celebrated his 36th birthday by earning Rand Racing its third-straight SportsRacing Prototype II pole, while recording the third-fastest time during qualifying. The #8 Nissan Lola will start on the second row after posting a 1:32.827 lap time at 109.365 mph. "I wanted to get the best lap of the weekend. I could have bettered it by a few tenths (of a second), but it was a good lap. I was happy with it," admitted Borcheller.

Local favorite K&N Filters Racing will see its #12 Ultima GTR start at the front of the GTS class and in the fourth position overall. Riverside native R.K. Smith clocked a 1:37.316 lap at 104.320 mph during the qualifying session. "I was held up by a car on my qualifying lap. I had to make a pass to get by someone every lap," Smith commented. "I was very pleased with my lap, and look forward to more track time at California Speedway."

Craig Conway beat out his teammate on the final qualifying lap to capture the American GT pole. Conway's 1:38.306 lap (103.269 mph) in the #09 Flis Motorsports Corvette edged out Paul Menard in Flis' second Corvette. "I am very happy about winning the pole. I just beat my teammate by a few hundredths of a second," remarked Conway. "We got more rubber on the track today than Thursday and things are starting to stick. This is a very demanding course. It is very busy, and you do not have time to relax. You have to have a high level of concentration.

"It is very tricky and tight in turns one and two. It may be the fastest corners that I have ever raced, and it was the most G-load in my neck. We were going 165-170 mph. It separates the men from the boys."

For the second race this season, Joao Barbosa will start the Perspective Motorsports #24 ParisHotels.com Mosler MT900 R at the front of the GT field. "I felt very good. The car was perfect, and I am very happy with the lap I did," remarked Barbosa who clocked a 1:38.357 lap (103.269 mph). "I like the course. I like the oval, and the last section is very technical and challenging. It is always good to start on the pole, and to have a clear track in front of you."

The green flag will fall on the inaugural Grand American 400 on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Tickets are currently available online for the event at www.californiaspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at 800-944-RACE (7223). Saturday's Grand American 400 will also be broadcast live on SPEED Channel at 3:30 p.m. ET (12:30 p.m. PT).

Additional information about the Rolex Sports Car Series is available online at www.grand-am.com.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers James Weaver , Didier Theys , Craig Conway , Terry Borcheller , Joao Barbosa , Paul Menard
Teams Dyson Racing