Phoenix: Bell Motorsports qualifying report

Barber Makes Big Gains at PIR Friday; Will Start 12th in Food City 250 Saturday PHOENIX, April 9 -Forest Barber of Fort Worth picked up 3 seconds from his lap times yesterday at Phoenix International Raceway to qualify 14th overall and in class...

Barber Makes Big Gains at PIR Friday; Will Start 12th in Food City 250 Saturday

PHOENIX, April 9 -Forest Barber of Fort Worth picked up 3 seconds from his lap times yesterday at Phoenix International Raceway to qualify 14th overall and in class Friday afternoon for tomorrow night's Food City 250 Rolex series race.

He'll actually start 12th, however, because two teams that qualified faster were sent to the rear for infractions. One of them downloaded data during the qualifying session and one didn't declare its qualifying driver by the deadline, which caused their penalties.

Behind the wheel of Bell Motorsports' Kodak EasyShare DORAN JE4 Pontiac #54, Barber's best lap in the 15-minute qualifying session for Daytona Prototype cars occurred on his 11th lap, which was clocked in 59.846 seconds for an average speed of 90.833 mph.

Max Papis won the pole with a new track record of 56.005 (97.063 mph).

"We made a lot of progress with the Kodak EasyShare car today," Barber said immediately after the qualifying session concluded. "My confidence in it is much greater than it was yesterday because I improved my lap times about 3 seconds today. That's a lot to pick up.

"The improvements came in two areas: getting the car to have more front grip, and talking with Terry [Borcheller, his co-driver] and Brian Sakata [data acquisition and coach] helped me improve my lines," he said.

Earlier in the day the team was fifth-fastest overall in practice when Borcheller ran a 58.618 (92.736 mph).

"I think the car will be very good for the race," Barber added. "Terry was running in the top three in practice. I'll start the race tomorrow and my goal is to try to stay out of trouble and give him a good car for the second half of the race. We need to stay out of trouble and see if we can finish in a good spot."

There is a chance that it might rain tomorrow night, but Barber doesn't even want to think about that possibility.

"If that happens, we'll all be on a very slick track," he said.

Tomorrow's race will be broadcast live on SPEED beginning at 9 p.m. Eastern time.

For more information, see the brand-new Web site at www.feedstheneedracing.com and www.kodak.com.

-bm/lm-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Max Papis , Forest Barber