Mid-Ohio: Banner Racing qualifying report

Collins qualifies Drinkin' Mate Pontiac GXP.R 4th for Mid-Ohio Grand-Am Race Lexington Ohio (June 19, 2009): Kelly Collins qualified the ...

Collins qualifies Drinkin' Mate Pontiac GXP.R 4th for Mid-Ohio Grand-Am Race

Lexington Ohio (June 19, 2009): Kelly Collins qualified the #07 Drinkin' Mate Pontiac GXP.R in the 4th position for Saturday's EMCO Gears Classic presented by KeyBank at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a best lap of 1:26.712 on his second lap.

The qualifying session was a wind-blown affair as heavy weather descended from the north-west as the GT cars prepared for their half of the qualifying session. Fortunately the heavy rains came close but brushed past the Mid-Ohio track with no appreciable rains. The threatening weather did prompt the competitors to give it everything they had early on.

"It was absolutely a crazy qualifying session out there," said Collins. "The wind was blowing leaved sideways across the track and it got so dark I had to lift my visor to see where I was going."

Actually traffic was more of an issue that was the weather for Collins as he got balked by a slower car on what should have been his fastest lap.

"On my first timed lap I was feeling the car out and finding the limits and the second lap I was on it and I caught another car and I had to abort," said Collins. "By then the sky was looking crazy. I found another gap and went for it again but when I came around the 43 car was in the kitty litter and the course went black. We went out again and it was drizzling slightly and the track just wasn't quite as fast as it had been earlier. The best I could do was 4 tenths slower."

Although none of the heavy precipitation found its way on the Mid-Ohio track the high winds played havoc with the crew in the pits. It also had a noticeable effect on the Drinkin' Mate Pontiac on the track.

"It was definitely noticeable," said Collins. "Normally I would carry 4th gear up to the Keyhole but today I had to shift into 5th. But then coming down the back straight I was hitting gigantic bursts of wind coming at you head on and it would literally lurch the car and slow it down."

-credit: br

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kelly Collins