LARRY OBERTO (No. 22 SRII Archangel Motorsports Services Nissan Lola) – It feels really good. The team has been fantastic, all the guys at Archangel. We’ve done no testing, other than the limited sessions we get during race weekends. Every time, they keep making positive developments, and the car keeps getting better all the time. We’re having a little trouble with the alternator belt – it keeps flying off – so we’re running on total battery power. Maybe we can put solar panels on it! We stayed here late last night fixing the problem, and ended up having it again today. So it looks like another long one tonight.
SATURDAY MORNING PRACTICE
BOBBY BROWN (No. 2 Mac Tools/North Coast Seal Ferrari 333SP) – It’s running great! Late last night we found that a part actually broke in the front end, and that’s what caused the car to snap around. It made me feel a lot better (Brown was involved in a practice incident on Friday). Everybody pitched in, Kevin Doran helped us out, Risi helped us out, everybody pitched in and now it’s running really, really good. Everything’s fine now. (Brown was allowed to take two laps in hardship practice Saturday morning following Motorola Cup qualifying.)
KEVIN DORAN (Team Manager, No. 27 Doran Special) – We did a precautionary motor change this morning. We saw some data that looked a little bit iffy on the life of the motor. I don’t think there was any performance doubt about the motor, just the reliability was in question. We had actually run the motor hard in qualifying before it got up to temperature. The new motor’s not going to make us any quicker, but there’s a lot to be gained with our setup. We were quite slow yesterday, and hopefully today will be better.
MOTOROLA CUP POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES
SUPER GRAND SPORT CLASS
JOHN HEINRICY (#37 Phoenix American Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette C5 – 9th career Motorola Cup pole) – “The crew was here until 11 last night replacing suspension components on all four corners and aligning the wheels. We qualified with our race set-up; I don’t rely on a qualifying set-up – everything we do from the first practice on is geared toward getting ready for the race. In qualifying, I waited to go out until the track was clear, warmed up the tires for a lap, then got the pole on my first hot lap. Late in the session, Richard Spenard (#19 Porsche) put on new tires and went out again, and so did I with about seven minutes to go. Richard came close to taking the pole on his warmup lap, but the next time around on what should have been his best lap, he had to pass a Mustang on the inside of Turn One and I knew he’d blown that lap.”
GRAND SPORT CLASS
CHARLES ESPENLAUB (#97 Kent Racing Pontiac Firebird Formula – 3rd career Motorola Cup pole) – “My hands are still shaking. That was very much a ‘hang on’ lap. We did some tricks to the wheel alignment for a qualifying setup, then I just pinched my cheeks and hung on.”
ANDY LALLY (#49 Competition Preparation BMW 328is – 6th career Motorola Cup pole) – “Mid-Ohio takes a different car setup than the flat tracks we’ve been running on since March, like Sebring, Phoenix and Miami, and we adapted to that change with our setup. Not all the teams did and I think qualifying showed that. We had a really good battle with Joe Moser (#63 Acura) and were only a couple of thousands of a second apart, but I kept cooling my tires so the car would be ready to go faster if he beat our time, and he didn’t. Having three poles in three different races here at Mid-Ohio is really a great experience, now I’d like to go out and win all three races. That would be some kind of record!”
WAYNE NONNAMAKER (#41 Planet Earth Acura Integra GSR – 1 ½ career Motorola Cup poles) “The competition is so close in this class and there are so many manufacturers represented and that’s a real tribute to the Motorola Cup series. My brother, Will, and I have yet to win a Motorola Cup race with our new Acuras, and since Mid-Ohio is our home track, we’d really like to do that Sunday morning, but I know for a fact the Hondas, Hyundais, Mazdas and Oldsmobile aren’t just going to roll over for us.”
DIDIER THEYS (No. 27 SRII Doran Lista Special) – Today, it’s much better. We had a lot of problems yesterday. We had to work on a few things on the car and missed half of yesterday’s qualifying. We were fighting the setup yesterday, but right now the car is a lot better. I’m pretty confident for the race, except we’re going to start 21st because we had to change the engine yesterday. It’s a 14-place difference, but there’s a lot of cars. We’re running with the GT cars, so there may be some yellows, and hopefully, that will help us a little bit. We ran with the same tires today that we used yesterday. I could have gone faster, but we were pleased with our time, and that’s enough for today. We’ll probably need two pit stops tomorrow, at least.
The No. 29 Intersport Riley & Scott Ford of Joe Field blew an engine early in final practice, with the No. 00 Orion Mustang of Bruce Nesbitt spinning in the oil.
SCOTT SCHUBOT (No. 8 Creighton Motorsports Ford Lola) – Hopefully, Andy (Wallace) can get out in front of James (Weaver), and we’ll have a nice-looking car at the end, and a good, clean race for the spectators. We’ve got a good, competitive car. Traffic will play a part in the race, but that will be the same for everyone. Andy has been very, very quick in the car, and we’re looking forward to good results.
GEORGE ROBINSON (No. 74 Informix/74 Ranch Resort Riley & Scott Judd) – The weather’s going to be wonderful, although we’d like it to be a little warmer, which would help our tires. It’s going to be a real shootout. There are a lot of good cars, and it should be good until the end. We’ve got a great combination, and we’re getting closer and closer to having the hot ticket.
BUTCH LEITZINGER (No. 16 Dyson Racing Riley & Scott Ford) – It’s going to be very close. The top five cars are within seven-tenths of a second, and it’s going to be a very fiercely-fought race. Having Andy Wallace and Oliver Gavin in new cars is going to make it even more interesting. James (Weaver) will start and finish, and I’ll run the middle stint.
TERRY BORCHELLER (No. 5 GTO Saleen Allen Speedlab Saleen SR) – We’re looking forward to a fight. We’ve been looking forward to some good competition. The final qualifying puts us on the inside, one row behind the Viper. I think being on the inside’s going to be an advantage on the start. The plan is for me to start and finish, depending on the yellows. We’ll have to see what happens.
CRAIG CONWAY (No. 09 AGT Spirit of Daytona Camaro) -- We just got beat for the pole by three-hundredths. I’d rather be beaten by more than that! We’ve been working on the handling all weekend. I think we’ve got a good race strategy, and we’re hoping to do what we did at Lime Rock.