Homestead: Thursday practice report

Johansson Leads First Rolex Series Practice at Grand Prix of Miami HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 3, 2005) -- Stefan Johansson clocked a best lap of 1:14.750 (110.769 mph) in the No. 02 New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley to lead a ...

Johansson Leads First Rolex Series Practice at Grand Prix of Miami

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 3, 2005) -- Stefan Johansson clocked a best lap of 1:14.750 (110.769 mph) in the No. 02 New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley to lead a 46-car field in the opening day of practice for Saturday's Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway (SPEED Channel, 3 p.m. ET). The top 11 cars in the session turned laps within 0.57 seconds.

While this was Johansson's first Homestead appearance with the Ganassi team, the Swede did run a Daytona Prototype in the Hoosier Tire Introduction Test last December at the 2.3-mile South Florida road circuit. However, today's run was in an entirely different car, and was more impressive given the fact that he ran a limited number of laps in the session.

"We only did two runs," Johansson said. "The first run was to get dialed-in, and the natural progression is that on the second run, you go in a little bit deeper everywhere and run a little bit harder. The car's pretty good at the moment. I think we'll be in pretty good shape (in qualifying). I'm sure (co-driver) Cort (Wagner) will do a good job. The car is nice to drive at the moment. If the conditions don't change dramatically, I think we should be in pretty good shape."

Second-quickest was Butch Leitzinger in the No. 4 The Boss Snowplow Pontiac Crawford for Howard-Boss Motorsports following a best lap of 1:14.896 (110.553 mph). Johansson's teammate, defending Rolex Series Daytona Prototype co-champion Scott Pruett ran the third-fastest lap of the session at 1:14.903 (110.543 mph), followed by two-time defending Miami champion Andy Wallace in the No. 2 CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports Pontiac Crawford at 1:14.906 (110.539 mph). Guy Smith rounded out the top five in the No. 39 Orbit Racing Pontiac Riley at 1:15.033 (110.351 mph).

SELLERS QUICKEST IN FIRST GT PRACTICE RUN

Participating in his first-ever Rolex Series race weekend, open-wheel standout Bryan Sellers clocked the quickest lap of the opening GT practice session. Sellers--who shares the No. 61 TRG East Porsche GT3 Cup with another Rolex Series first-timer in Scottish driver Ryan Dalziel--logged a best lap of 1:21.482 (101.618 mph). Sellers was three-thousandths of a second quicker than Andy Lally in the No. 65 TRG Porsche GT3 Cup.

"First of all, I've got to say thanks to everyone at TRG East, especially (team owner) Peter (Baron)," Sellers said. "He did a lot to get me in this weekend. He's actually a lot of the reason we went quick this session. He did a really good job of working with me and having me try stuff throughout the session. He did a pretty decent job of knowing what I would be doing wrong and then telling me how to improve it. All in all, it's just really good. They're great guys to work with. We went fast. Whether or not it's fast enough for tomorrow is a different story. I mean, I'm sure there's a lot of guys that didn't go out and go as fast as they possibly could, but it's a good start and we'll take it. Anytime you can be on top of the charts, it's a good thing."

Lally was second-quickest in class at 1:21.485 (101.614 mph), followed by Spencer Pumpelly in the No. 37 TPC Racing Porsche GT3 Cup at 1:21.829 (101.187 mph). While Porsche swept the top-three positions, Bill Auberlen logged the fourth-quickest lap of the session at 1:21.953 (101.034 mph) in the No. 21 BMW Team PTG M3. Andrew Davis rounded out the top five with a best lap of 1:22.014 (100.958 mph) in the No. 73 Baldwin-Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Wallace , Stefan Johansson , Guy Smith , Butch Leitzinger , Scott Pruett , Bill Auberlen , Andy Lally , Spencer Pumpelly , Andrew Davis , Chip Ganassi , Bryan Sellers