SCC: Daytona: Qualifying notes

Pilla Second-Quickest in Qualifying; Awarded Pole After Post-Session Inspection Sends BGB Porsche to Rear DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 26, 2006) -- Fans who left Daytona International Speedway just after qualifying for tomorrow's Grand-Am Cup...

Pilla Second-Quickest in Qualifying; Awarded Pole After Post-Session Inspection Sends BGB Porsche to Rear

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 26, 2006) -- Fans who left Daytona International Speedway just after qualifying for tomorrow's Grand-Am Cup 200 will return tomorrow to see a shake-up in the starting grid, as post-race technical inspection sent the fastest car--the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche 996--to the back of the field, awarding the pole position to Ryan Pilla in the No. 55 Hyper Sport Mustang GT.

Mark Plummer set the fastest time of the session in the No. 38 Porsche with a 2:01.224 (105.722 mph), but the post-qualifying inspection revealed moved suspension components, sending the car he will co-drive with defending Rolex Series GT class winner Craig Stanton, to the back of the grid. Pilla's lap time of 2:02.371 (104.731 mph) was second-quick, but he will now lead the field into tomorrow's Grand-Am Cup 200, Round 1 of the 11-race 2006 schedule. Pilla will share the No. 55 machine with Joe Foster in the race.

Starting on the outside of Row 1 will be the No. 44 Team Sahlen Porsche 996, qualified by 17-year-old Eric Lux with a lap time of 2:02.626 (104.513 mph). Lux will co-drive the No. 44 Porsche with Charles Espenlaub. Starting third will be the No. 90 Automatic Racing BMW M3, as Jeff Segal posted a 2:02.652 (104.491 mph) around the 3.56-mile, 14-turn circuit. Segal will co-drive with David Russell.

The defending race winners, Ian James and Tom Nastasi, will start ninth, as Nastasi posted a 2:03.532 (103.746 mph) in the No. 5 Blackforest Motorsports Mustang GT. The No. 83 Simplenet.com Porsche 996 for BGB Motorsports--which qualified fifth--was also sent to the back of the field after post-qualifying inspection revealed a similar infraction to the No. 38 machine.

STREET TUNER CLASS ALSO SEES FASTEST QUALIFIERS SENT TO THE REAR

The No. 75 Kensai Racing Acura RSX-S and the No. 74 Thornley Racing Acura TSX, which qualified first and second, respectively, will be sent to the back of the Street Tuner (ST) grid after post-qualifying technical inspection revealed an illegal fuel system in the No. 75 machine and an illegal ride height by the No. 74 machine.

Hugh Plumb posted a 2:09.723 (98.795 mph) in the No. 27 Acura RSX-S for Bill Fenton Motorsports, and will lead the ST class into tomorrow's Grand-Am Cup 200. Plumb will share the car with his brother, Matt. Hugh Plumb made three Grand-Am Cup ST class starts in 2005, finishing a season-best third at Barber. His best career finish at Daytona was a ninth-place GSI class finish for TPC Racing in the 2003 season finale.

Eric Curran posted a 2:09.895 (98.664 mph) in the No. 01 Chevrolet Cobalt for Georgian Bay Motorsports, and will be on the outside of Row 1. Curran will share the No. 01 Cobalt with Jamie Holtom, a two-time Grand-Am Cup race winner a year ago.

Starting third will be Will Turner in the No. 95 BMW 330i for Turner Motorsport, after a qualifying lap of 2:09.954 (98.620 mph). Turner and teammate Don Salama--who finished tied for third in the final 2005 Grand-Am Cup ST class driver standings--logged eight top-five finishes and five podiums a year ago.

Reigning Street Tuner champion David Haskell--who again will co-drive with Sylvain Tremblay--will start sixth in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8, after a lap time of 2:10.703 (98.054 mph). The duo combined for five class victories in 2005, en route to the second consecutive team title for SpeedSource.

HYPER SPORT AND CITI FINANCIAL ANNOUNCE SEASON SPONSORSHIP

Patrick Dempsey, star of the ABC hit television series Grey's Anatomy and co-driver of the No. 54 Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT announced today a sponsorship from Citi Financial for the 2006 Grand-Am Cup Series. Dempsey will co-drive the Mustang with team principal Rick Skelton.

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"I'm having a blast here," said Dempsey. "With Citi Financial, we're here to help support the series, and we'll be doing stuff with them throughout the year. It's a real thrill to be here. I have always been a huge racing fan. Growing up, I watched races at Daytona International Speedway. It was my first time on the track a couple weeks ago during testing. It's a very emotional place to be. Working with (team principal) Joe (Foster) and Rick, it's allowed me to live my dreams I had as a kid. I'm having a great time."

Team principal Joe Foster, is impressed with Patrick's progress in the No. 54 machine, and admired the driver's courage to turn laps on limited sleep.

"We're proud of Patrick," said Foster. "He's on two hours of sleep at the moment, and he did a fantastic job in the car today. I'm grateful to be part of the Citi Financial Racing Team. We've been working on it for quite a while. It's a great opportunity to bring a name sponsor to road racing and to Grand-Am Cup. We wanted to bring a big name sponsor into the series, and we want to continue to expand the program in the future."

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Ian James , David Haskell , Tom Nastasi , Sylvain Tremblay , Eric Curran , Will Turner , Don Salama , Hugh Plumb , Craig Stanton , Rick Skelton , Mark Plummer , Jeff Segal , Ryan Pilla , Eric Lux , Joe Foster , Patrick Dempsey , David Russell
Teams Team Sahlen , Automatic Racing , SpeedSource