SunTrust Racing speeds to Rolex Series pole at Watkins Glen

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Joe Jennings, Grand-Am Correspondent

Boris Said on GT pole in Marsh Racing Corvette

Watkins Glen, N. Y. – Ricky Taylor continued to flash his speed at Watkins Glen International, grabbing the pole for Saturday evening’s Continental Tire 200 presented by Dunn Tire with a speed of 133.557 miles per hour. Driving the SunTrust Racing Corvette DP, the second-generation driver earned his third career pole at The Glen and the 10th of his Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series career.

A year ago, Taylor scored two poles on the Glen’s short and long courses and along with co-driver Max Angelelli, they won both events. Saturday’s two-hour event will be held on the 2.45-mile short course.

Every single year I feel like we have a winning car.

Ricky Taylor

Asked why he does so well at the legendary track, Taylor said, “It is because we have such good cars in qualifying. Every single year I feel like we have a winning car. Also, we are coming off a recent tire test that set us up to unload well. And this one is more important as we didn’t have any practice in the dry. (The Rolex Series practiced in the rain earlier in the day.)”

Discussing the upcoming race, Taylor stated, “There will be a lot of rubber on the track, and we don’t know how the configuration of this car will be. The race will only be for two hours long and since it is tough to pass, I hope we can hold them off. The way the races go on the short track, it is like a bull-ring. You catch the GT cars so fast, and you can’t waste time getting around them. There’s a lot of risk taking, which is my biggest challenge. You have to make the hole and be the first car through the mayhem.”

Antonio Garcia grabbed the outside pole with a speed of 133.249 mph in the Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP.

Said the Spaniard, “Qualifying was difficult as we didn’t run on dry tires (until now). Basically, I tried to get a quick feel as to how the car was doing. It was more difficult for me as most of the guys, including my teammate (Richard Westbrook), were here testing (recently) but I was not, so I had to remember the track from last year. Even though the car felt good, it is a shame to be second again. We are being consistent but need to be on the pole.”

Second row qualifiers were the Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley entries of Alex Popow and Sebastien Bourdais along with Ryan Dalziel and Lucas Luhr. Their respective speeds were 133.026 and 132.737 mph.

Making up the third row will be the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, and the Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Darren Law and Joao Barbosa.

Jordan Taylor, making his Daytona Prototype debut in a second Action Express Racing entry, qualified seventh fastest.

#31 Marsh Racing Corvette: Boris Said, Eric Curran
#31 Marsh Racing Corvette: Boris Said, Eric Curran

Photo by: Michael C. Johnson

Timing fastest in the 16-car GT field was Boris Said in the Marsh Racing Corvette. His speed was 121.364 mph. Eric Curran co-drives with Said.

“It feels good to get the pole and hopefully I can get a top-15 spot in my Sprint Cup car,” he said. “These cars are a blast to drive. This is my 25th year in racing, and I feel like a little kid out there. Getting out of my Sprint Cup car and getting into the Corvette seemed easy to me.”

Second fastest in GT was the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R of John Edwards and Robin Liddell. Third quickest was the Horton Autosport Porsche GT3 Cup entry of Patrick Lindsay and Eric Foss.

The 10th race of the Rolex Sports Car Series season takes the green flag at 6 p.m. Saturday, and SPEED will telecast the event live.

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Series GRANDAM
Article type Qualifying reports
Tags angelelli, corvette, featured, garcia, jennings, said, spirit of daytona, taylor