Ricky Taylor Wins Third Consecutive Pole; Chevy Power Sweeps Front Row at Road America
Ricky Taylor didn’t let an engine change and a practice day of rain affect him at all. For the third consecutive race, Taylor put the No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet/Dallara Daytona Prototype (DP) on the pole after getting around the 4.048-mile Road America in 2:01.050 (120.387 mph) to edge Jon Fogarty and No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Chevrolet/Riley by 0.154 seconds.
It’ll be a great start to the race for Chevrolet.
“I think out of the three poles this season, this is the most satisfying, mainly because Wednesday we had to change an engine,” said Taylor who will start first in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series 250 Driven by Visit Florida on Saturday. “We lost pretty much the entire test day, so we started the weekend a day behind. Then yesterday it rained all day.”
Fogarty was the only other driver to eclipse 120 mph (120.234) during qualifying.
“I was really pleased with the car,” Fogarty said. “It’s probably the best it’s felt so far in 2011. I’m pleased for the team, and also for Chevrolet, to be occupying the front row.”
“It’ll be a great start to the race for Chevrolet, said Jim Lutz, GRAND-AM program manager-GM Racing. “In spite of the rain we’ve had the past couple of days, the teams have been able to dial their cars in pretty good. That’s a tribute to the team engineers, who know their cars really well, and the professional drivers who can communicate to the engineers and give them guidance on optimizing the set-up, and the talent shone through.”
Jan Magnussen qualified his No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R second in class with a fast lap of 107.729 mph.
“I’m happy to be on the front row,” said Magnussen. “It was a good lap; we had a clear lap, no traffic. The car was a lot better than it had been in practice.”
Gunther Schaldach, in the No. 07 Banner Racing Camaro GT.R qualified sixth in class.
For Friday evening’s Continental Tires Series Road America 250, Mitchum Motorsports qualified both of its Camaro GS.R’s in the top five for the second consecutive race. Robert Stout qualified second in the No. 6 Mitchum Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro GS.R, 0.361 seconds off the pace. Joey Atterbury, driving the No. 62 Mitchum Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro GS.R, qualified fourth. “Anytime you qualify in the top five you know your team has done a good job,” said Chris Mitchum. “Of course we would like to be on pole but we’ll take second and fourth any day. The way we got to the front, by having all four drivers work together on setups, and then qualifying within .051 of each other is a testament to the teamwork we have here. Obviously the drivers are ultra competitive but know that by working together everyone will be faster.” This weekend marks GRAND-AM Road Racing’s first visit to Road America since 2001.
“This place is incredible,” Fogarty said. “Definitely one of the best tracks I’ve ever been to. I love being here.”
Magnussen, too, was happy to be back.
“I love this track,” Magnussen said. “I think many drivers regard this track as their favorite. It’s a real driver’s circuit. You get a good feeling of going fast, and if you mess up there’s a big penalty. So, that, to me, makes a real race track.”
Other Team Chevy qualifiers:
In DP: Paul Edwards, No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Chevrolet Coyote, eighth.
In GT: Bill Lester, No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Camaro GT.R, 13th in class.