Daytona 24: GM Racing Thursday report

Pontiac Power on Pole for Rolex 24 at Daytona Gainsco to Start from Point DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Jan. 25, 2007 - Pontiac powered Daytona Prototypes (DP) will fill the first three places on the grid for the 45th running of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports...

Pontiac Power on Pole for Rolex 24 at Daytona
Gainsco to Start from Point

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. Jan. 25, 2007 - Pontiac powered Daytona Prototypes (DP) will fill the first three places on the grid for the 45th running of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve season opening Rolex 24 at Daytona Jan. 27-28.

Alex Gurney drove his #99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Riley Pontiac to the pole position for this weekend's Rolex 24-hour. Gurney posted a time of 1:43.475 that will see him lead the 58-car field to the green flag for the 1:30 p.m. start on Saturday.

"We knew we had a chance and everything just fell into place to get the pole," Gurney commented. "We have bragging rights for a day and then Saturday we have to try and back it up. The team is really on a high, we did well during the test early in the month and now we have the car on the pole. The car is fast and capable, we will need to keep it clean in the race and out of the pits."

Gurney will share the Gainsco entry with Jon Fogarty and Jimmy Vasser.

Max Angelelli drove his Pontiac powered SunTrust Riley to a second place qualifying effort by putting up a time of 1:43.480. The third position on the grid was filled by Lowe's DP driver Marc Goosens with a 1:43.516 lap time. Angelelli teams with Wayne Taylor, Jan Magnussen and four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon.

"There were some damp patches in turn one, so I was a little cautious to start and then had to go for it with very little time left," relayed Goosens. "I was able to find another two-tenths, which I credit the crew. We made some changes before qualifying and the car was really good. The guys did a nice job to bring us a lot closer to the front from where we were this morning."

In GT, Pontiac GXP.R driver Johnny O'Connell was able to get a NASCAR style tow around the Daytona high-banks to qualify his #06 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R in fifth position with a time of 1:52.427.

"The car was a lot better in qualifying than in the morning," O'Connell said. "I was able to time my exit from the Bus Stop turn to get a tow from a faster car. I took it deep into one and that brought me from tenth up to fifth. Every time we go out the car gets better. The Banner and Pratt & Miller guys are really working hard on the car to make the small improvements which means tenths on the track." O'Connell teams up with Leighton Reese and Tim Lewis Jr. for the endurance classic.

Teammate Paul Edwards in the #07 GXP.R didn't quite have the drafting help that O'Connell received. Edwards will go away from the line from the seventh row with a time of 1:52.986.

"I kept catching people in all of the wrong places and that cost me time," Edwards said of his qualifying effort. "I have a couple of more tenths improvement and the car is a lot better than when we tested here earlier in the month. The tires seems to be holding up a lot better under the car and I was able to put together a few consistent fast laps, which will be important for the race. We still have some work to do tomorrow as there is a push in the car, but we will focus on race set up and be ready for Saturday."

Edwards, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim will share the wheel of the #07 GXP.R.

Thirteen Pontiac powered teams comprised of 10 Daytona Prototype competitors and three brand new Pontiac GXP.Rs will take to the famed high-banks of Daytona International Speedway for the 24-hour race.

-credit: gm racing

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Alex Gurney , Paul Edwards , Jan Magnussen , Jimmy Vasser , Jon Fogarty , Johnny O'Connell , Andy Pilgrim , Wayne Taylor , Kelly Collins , Leighton Reese , Max Angelelli , Tim Lewis , Bob Stallings