Homestead: Orbit Racing qualifying report

top three Orbit Racing will start Saturday's Rolex Sports Car Series race from third on the GT grid. Jay Policastro qualified the No. 44 Classic Industries Porsche 911 GT3 RS in one minute 19.652 seconds on the 2.3-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway...

top three

Orbit Racing will start Saturday's Rolex Sports Car Series race from third on the GT grid. Jay Policastro qualified the No. 44 Classic Industries Porsche 911 GT3 RS in one minute 19.652 seconds on the 2.3-mile Homestead-Miami Speedway infield road course. He will start the two-hour 45-minute race, followed by Joe Policastro and Mike Fitzgerald.

It was a pretty good qualifying run," Jay Policastro said. "The car was just hooked up great. We had a little cloud cover, which kept it cool. I was able to get through NASCAR [turns] three and four like I wanted, and it was the best lap time I've had all weekend. I think we had a little bit more, but we have to start on the tires we qualified on, so I figured it was a good lap - don't get greedy! - and kept the car in one piece. We'll be good for the race."

home challenge

Orbit Racing, based in Jupiter, Fla., is hoping for a strong finish at its home track. The team won the GT class and finished second overall in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona, surviving a tough, rain-drenched race. Joe Policastro, who spends the early race season in West Palm Beach, expects the Homestead race will be a challenge, too.

"The biggest noticeable change is the banking, which is a definite improvement to the track. It gives you more of a comfort factor than the slightly banked track before," he said. "I think this is going to be an exciting race. Depending on the weather, it's going to be physically demanding as well as mentally, to make sure we stay focused on the job at hand."

spring training

Mike Fitzgerald is in training for two sports - his year-round sport of professional racing and his summer sport of recreational baseball.  His father, Dick, was a professional baseball player, pitching for the Baltimore Orioles. The father and son now enjoy playing together in an amateur league, Dick on the pitcher's mound and Mike at shortstop or center field. Mike sees a parallel with Orbit drivers Joe and Jay Policastro, who share a passion for racing.

"It's kind of fun for me to be driving with Jay and Joe, because I spend some time in the summer playing baseball with my dad; I can relate to what they're doing," Mike Fitzgerald said. "My dad is an almost-69-year-old left-handed pitcher. He still throws about 80 miles an hour! He's a terrific pitcher and it's a lot of fun. It's nice that Joe and Jay are really good drivers and my dad and I are pretty good baseball players. I see some similarities there."

-or/sp-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Jay Policastro