SALAMA SCORES GRAND-AM KONI CHALLENGE GRAND SPORT POLE Don Salama--who co-drove to the 2006 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Street Tuner (ST) championship with Will Turner--is now enjoying success at the front of the Grand Sport (GS) class as ...
SALAMA SCORES GRAND-AM KONI CHALLENGE GRAND SPORT POLE
Don Salama--who co-drove to the 2006 Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Street Tuner (ST) championship with Will Turner--is now enjoying success at the front of the Grand Sport (GS) class as evidenced by his pole-winning run in qualifying for Sunday's Monterey 200 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Salama turned a best lap of 1:36.485 (83.503 mph) in the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 for the fifth class pole of his KONI Challenge Series career, but his first GS class pole position. Salama will once again share the ride with Turner, and the longtime teammates look to improve upon the season-best result of eighth they achieved last month at Iowa Speedway.
"The Turner Motorsport BMW was actually pretty good all weekend," Salama said. "We were sort of just fine-tuning handling. We knew on a cool morning like this that new tires were going to push a little bit and we were going to have to bring them. I knew I wouldn't do fast lap early on, so I needed to really work at it. Luckily, we didn't get a black flag during the qualifying session, so I ended up doing my fast lap on Lap 6 or 7, when I knew I got a half second off getting better grip, frankly, on a very cool morning like today."
Tom Long made it two front-row results in two races by placing the No. 99 Fresh From Florida/Automatic Racing BMW M3 second on the grid at 1:36.621 (83.386 mph). Long's co-driver, David Russell, started the No. 99 machine from the pole position in last month's GS race at Iowa Speedway, and the teammates head into Sunday's race looking for their third straight top-seven result.
"I'm really proud of the Fresh From Florida/Automatic Racing team," said Long. "Yesterday in the test day, we wee struggling to find the setup, but now we've found it. It's really great to be on the front row for the second time in a row. I think it's going to be really important to be up front because the beautiful fruits and vegetables on the hood of the Fresh From Florida car will look nice on the front row. It's also good to be up front racing with the guys you always race against. The traffic situation is so much better when you're racing up front."
After Dean Martin's third-best qualifying time in the No. 52 Rehagen Racing Ford Mustang GT was disallowed due to a technical infraction, Joe Foster moved to third on the starting grid with a lap at 1:37.151 (82.931 mph) in the No. 55 Supercuts/Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT. Foster--who is currently second in the GS driver standings--is sharing the ride with Scott Maxwell.
Tommy Constantine put the No. 33 Playboy/Vonage/Palms Nissan 350Z fourth on the grid with a lap at 1:37.218 (82.874 mph). Constantine's entered co-drivers are Mike Borkowski and David Murry. Jep Thornton filled out the top five with a lap at 1:37.247 (82.849 mph) in the No. 09 Fresh From Florida/Automatic Racing BMW M3 he is sharing with Jeff Segal.