Pilgrim second fastest, but claims VIR pole

Pilgrim second fastest, but claims VIR pole

The Chevrolet-powered Bell Motorsports Doran of Andy Pilgrim qualified second this afternoon at Virginia International Raceway, but it will start from the pole on Sunday in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series VIR 400 after the fastest ...

The Chevrolet-powered Bell Motorsports Doran of Andy Pilgrim qualified second this afternoon at Virginia International Raceway, but it will start from the pole on Sunday in the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series VIR 400 after the fastest qualifier, Toyota-powered Doran of Didier Theys, failed post-qualifying technical inspection due to an illegal wicker bill. As a result, Theys and co-driver Bill Auberlen will start 18th.

#54 Bell Motorsports Chevrolet Doran: Terry Borcheller, Forest Barber, Andy Pilgrim.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
Pilgrim, a late addition to the Bell Motorsports driver lineup, lapped the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course in 1:47.418, averaging 109.591 mph.

"It was only about 10 minutes before qualifying that they said I was going to drive, so I didn't have much time to prepare," Pilgrim said. "I'm pretty happy with the way in went, though. It was just a matter of getting changed, getting in the car, and going for it. And that's what I did."

With Bell Motorsports trailing Brumos Racing by eight points in the team championship, car owner Forest Barber brought in Pilgrim this weekend to enhance the team's shot at the championship. Pilgrim will share the driving duties with Barber's regular co-driver, Terry Borcheller. Whether Barber, who celebrated his 51st birthday today, will drive tomorrow depends on how the race unfolds.

The Porsche-powered Brumos Fabcar of Mike Borkowski and David Donohue qualified second, followed by Darren Law and Patrick Huisman in the BMW-powered Picchio.

"We ended up where we thought," Borkowski said. "The two Doran cars have really been the measure of this weekend." Borkowski and Donohue lead Borcheller by eights points in the drivers' championship.

Simon Gregg and Kenny Wilden qualified fourth overall and first in GTS in the Deerhag Motorsports Corvette. Gregg's father, the late Peter Gregg, teamed with Hurley Haywood to win the first-ever IMSA Camel GT race, which, coincidentally was held in 1971 at VIR.

"It really feels good to do well at VIR, especially given my dad's history here," Gregg said. "I took a few races off because I was unhappy with my results early in the year, but now I'm much happier."

The Ferrari of Cort Wagner and Brent Martini claimed the GT class pole. "The car's really running great," Wagner said. "I think there's a little more in the car. I missed a little in the lower esses, but it wasn't worth trying to find it, because we had the pole by an incredible amount." Wagner has a 13-point lead over Martini in the GT drivers' championship.

The VIR 400 will take the green flag on Sunday at 12:30.

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