WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Thanks to a little advice from long-time teammate James Weaver, Dyson Racing's Butch Leitzinger grabbed the pole for tomorrow's 6 Hours of the Glen behind the wheel of the team's aging Ford-powered Riley Scott MKIII. "James...
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. -- Thanks to a little advice from long-time teammate James Weaver, Dyson Racing's Butch Leitzinger grabbed the pole for tomorrow's 6 Hours of the Glen behind the wheel of the team's aging Ford-powered Riley Scott MKIII. "James really helped us out a lot with our setup," Leitzinger said minutes after lapping the 3.4-mile 15-turn road course in 1:39.507, obliterating the track record in the process. "The changes he suggested made the car perfect. I've been driving here in this car since 1995 and this is the best it's ever been." In fact, the changes worked so well that Leitzinger obliterated the old track record by nearly four seconds.
Thanks in part to his willingness to share information with his teammate, Weaver qualified second, less than half a second behind the No. 20 Dyson Racing entry of Leitzinger, Elliot Forbes-Robinson, and team owner Rob Dyson. "Butch's time was exceptionally good," Weaver added. "It was really a mega lap."
The Doran Racing Dallara Judd of Didier Theys, which qualified third, will undoubtedly present the only real challenge to the Dyson duo tomorrow afternoon seeing as how the two teams have won every race at the Glen since the inception of the open-top WSC formula in 1994.
"I frankly was a little surprised," Rob Dyson explained after his two cars claimed both front row starting positions. "Kevin [Doran] and his guys do a great job of preparing that car [the Dallara Judd] and they've got a new engine with more torque that enables them to get out of the corners a little quicker. But it's a long race, and Kevin and his crew and Didier, Mauro [Baldi] and Freddy [Lienhard] are good drivers and it's a long race. And we won qualifying, but there's a lot of competition left."
The fifth spot on the grid went to Terry Borcheller in the No. 8 Rand Racing/Risi Competizione Nissan Lola, the fastest SRPII qualifier.
Chris Bingham qualified ninth overall and will lead a lackluster trio of GTS machines to the green flag in his Saleen S7R. "Our goal was to be the fastest GT car and we knew the time we had to beat when I went out for qualifying," the 2001 GTS champion explained. "The car felt good right out of the box this weekend. We're just going to have to keep an eye on a spark plug that keeps fouling in the sixth cylinder. We have to keep changing it throughout the race."
Rob Morgan captured the American GT pole in the Morgan Dollar Motorsports Corvette. "This is basically a brand new car," Morgan stated. "It's the same chassis that my dad [Charles Morgan] actually designed, but we've made it lighter and added bigger wheels and tires to it. We're just a little a worried about our reliability in the race because I accidentally over-revved the motor yesterday during practice."
The Mosler MT900R of Joao Barbosa smashed the GT class qualifying record by almost three seconds. "The car ran really well," Barbosa admitted. "This track suits this car really, really well. It was just perfect today. We had some grip problems this morning, but we should be okay if we can stay out of trouble. We think we can finish as good as we start."
All five fastest qualifiers set new track records today despite unseasonably warm weather that enveloped the Glen's long course.
The Champion Racing Porsche Lola should make its first on-track appearance since the Rolex 24 at Daytona this weekend if Oliver Kuttner's Pegasus Racing squad can sort the car out in time for tomorrow morning's 11 a.m. start. Kuttner, who last raced in 1997, hopes to contest the rest of this year's Grand Am races as well as a hand full of American Le Mans Series events behind the wheel of the Porsche-powered Lola. And he would like to return to full-time competition in either Grand Am or the ALMS next season, if he can arrange the funding. For the time being, however, Kuttner simply hopes his small team will have the car ready to race by tomorrow -- no small feat considering the car ran its first laps in anger since Daytona less than a week ago at a Porsche Club event here at the Glen.
This weekend's race features several drivers who competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend, GT winner Kevin Buckler. "I am humbled and honored to have won, but we were prepared," Buckler related. "My crew saved us. We made 23 stops and our stops were between one and two seconds faster than the Freisinger team's, and we beat them by less than a minute. The car was perfect, it didn't miss a beat. We double stinted our Michelins all night. It was very special."