SCC: VIRginia Int'l Raceway Saturday summary

Spencer Pumpelly Makes It Two-For-Two In Practice, Qualifying At VIR DANVILLE, VA. -- Arlington, Va. native Spencer Pumpelly set the fastest time in practice and then continued his lead-role performance by winning the pole for Sunday's...

Spencer Pumpelly Makes It Two-For-Two In Practice, Qualifying At VIR

DANVILLE, VA. -- Arlington, Va. native Spencer Pumpelly set the fastest time in practice and then continued his lead-role performance by winning the pole for Sunday's six-hour season-ending race in the Grand Sport class of the KONI Challenge series.

Pumpelly steered his Porsche 997 to a lap time of 2:04.453 at 94.590 mph to beat out Jep Thornton's BMW M3 by just .331 second. Thornton's time barely topped Ross Smith's effort in a Porsche, with a difference of only five thousandths of a second. Thornton and his teammate, Jeff Segal, have the points lead going into the final race of the season. The pair lead Joe Foster by 25 points. If Thornton and Segal have a bad day Sunday and fail to finish higher than 22nd, and Foster should share the win, Foster could capture the season crown by one point, adding even more drama to the final race in the season.

Competing in the Grand Sport division for late model sports cars, Pumpelly, listed as living in Mason Neck, Va., is nineteenth in points for the year, with a trio of top three finishes, including a win at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, a second at Lime Rock Park and a third at Barber Motorsports Park, plus another top ten to open the season at Daytona.

"The guys at Marcus Motorsports did an excellent job getting the car set up," said Pumpelly after qualifying. "We struggled a little bit in the beginning but I'm really happy with the car now."

Stamford, Conn. Resident Tom Nastasi put the top qualifying Mustang fourth in the field, just .012 second behind Smith. Only another .021 second back of Nastasi, Sweden's Nic Jonsson qualified the No. 79 Said Head Performance BMW in fifth. Raleigh, N.C.'s Tom Long qualified the No. 99 BMW from Automatic Racing in sixth place. The top twelve qualifiers are all within less than a second of each other over VIR's twisting 3.27 mile natural terrain road course.

Sunday's race begins at noon and runs for a full six hours, closing out the season for the Grand American Road Racing Association's KONI Challenge Series. The championship is still not decided, with several drivers mathematically capable of winning.

More than just the Grand-Am racing is on the schedule for Sunday, as a wide variety of stunt motorcycle competition, drifting and "track attack" events will fill every minute of the day with action for guests to enjoy. Tickets are available at the gate and fans are invited to stroll the paddock to get a close-up view of the cars and stars.

-credit: vir

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Series GRANDAM