Daytona II: Doran-Lista qualifying notes

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., July 2 - Didier Theys of Scottsdale, Ariz. and the Doran-Lista Racing Dallara Judd ...

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., July 2 - Didier Theys of Scottsdale, Ariz. and the Doran-Lista Racing Dallara Judd #27 team of Lebanon, Ohio earned their fourth pole position of the season Tuesday night during qualifying for Thursday's Jani-King Paul Revere 250 Grand Am Rolex Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

In his eighth and final lap of the 15-minute twilight qualifying session, Theys was clocked in 1:41.421 for an average speed of 126.384 mph around the 3.56-mile infield road course.

That was 0.209 of a second faster than Butch Leitzinger ran for second place in the 30-car starting line-up.

Theys' fourth lap during qualifying was run in 1:41.528 and put him on top of the scoring pylon until he bettered it on his last lap.

The 70-lap race will begin on the Fourth of July at approximately 11:15 p.m. and will be televised from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time on July 6 on Speed Channel.

Theys' co-driver for this race is Fredy Lienhard Sr. of Erlen, Switzerland.

There was no sign of the electrical problems that the team encountered at the race in Watkins Glen, N.Y., a few weeks ago, which turned out to be a problem with the mapping system.

"That seems to be solved, I hope," team manager Kevin Doran said.

"Our car is very good here," said Theys, who along with Mauro Baldi, Lienhard Sr. and Max Papis won the prestigious Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona here earlier this year. The team, which leads the point standings, used a four-liter Judd engine for the 24-hour race but switched to a five-liter Judd at the Glen, which they will use for the remainder of the season.

"It started to get loose towards the end of the qualifying session. I tried to go fast but still conserve our Goodyear tires, since you must start on the same set of tires you qualify with," Theys added. "I knew I had a small cushion, so I played it safe.

"The engine has been great so far," he continued. "We have a long travel on our brakes, which we'll work on. In tonight's practice session we'll also try to find some more mechanical grip."

Earlier in the day during practice the track was very slippery and Lienhard spun in the hairpin. He regrouped and got back to the pits with no damage to the car. Theys also experienced a freak fire in the car's battery compartment which was quickly extinguished and remedied.

The two practice sessions before qualifying were held in the heat and humidity of a Florida summer day. Still, the team topped the first practice session with a lap in 1:43.009 (124.416 mph) and was third in the second afternoon practice session with a circuit in 1:43.349 (124.007 mph).

Tomorrow the only thing on the Grand Am Rolex Series cars' schedule is a one-and-a-half-hour practice session beginning at 6 p.m.

The race will start on Thursday night after NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying for the Pepsi 400 is completed.

-dlr/lm-

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Series GRANDAM