Team Chevy Birmingham qualifying report

Team Chevy Racing press release

Chevrolet in Command of Grand-Am Qualifying at Barber Motorsports Park
Bowtie Drivers Collect Number One Starting Spots in Daytona Prototype, Grand Touring and Grand Sport

LEEDS, Ala. (March 30, 2012) - Chevrolet drivers made a strong statement in qualifying today at Barber Motorsports Park by winning the pole in three of the four Grand-Am Road Racing classes set to race on Saturday.

DP pole winner Richard Westbrook and GT pole winner Paul Edwards
DP pole winner Richard Westbrook and GT pole winner Paul Edwards

Photo by: Grand-Am

It is a an all-Corvette DP front row and a top-three sweep for Chevrolet in the Daytona Prototype (DP) class of the Rolex Sports Car Series

Richard Westbrook won the pole piloting the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP. Westbrook bested fellow Corvette DP driver Jon Fogarty by seven hundredths of a second to claim the top starting position. Closely behind the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Corvette DP of Fogarty to score the third spot on the grid was David Donohue, No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP.

In the Grand Touring (GT) class of the Rolex Sports Car Series, Paul Edwards set the pace behind the wheel of the No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Camaro GT.R. Ronnie Bremer qualified the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R in third to give Chevrolet two of the top-three starting positions in class.

Rounding out the pole-winning efforts for Chevrolet was Lawson Aschenbach, No. 01 CKS Autosport Camaro GS.R, who will lead the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Grand Sport (GS) field to the green flag tomorrow.

CHEVROLET DRIVER QUOTES:

RICHARD WESTBROOK, NO. 90 SPIRIT OF DAYTONA CORVETTE DP, POLE WINNER IN ROLEX DP: ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT: “The red flag didn’t seem to hurt us at all because we hadn’t done a lap at that point. We just got the hammer down. The car felt good. It’s felt good all week. The Spirit of Daytona always puts a good car out at Barber (Motorsports Park). We’re particularly strong in race trim. We weren’t sure if we had the outright pace for pole. It just felt great out there. I just enjoyed every second of being in the car. It is just great to give this Corvette its first pole.”

TALK ABOUT THE TRACK: “I love the track. It has a lovely flow to it. I think it could be one of the best in the States. It is a joy to race here. I wish we had something like this in Europe. It is pretty low grip, but it is what it is. And, it is the same for everyone else. The actual undulations and the flow of the track is really unique and it is a challenge.”

THIS IS THE SECOND CONSECUTIVE YEAR YOUR TEAM HAS HAD THE POLE HERE, TALK ABOUT TODAY’S POLE FROM THE TEAM PERSPECTIVE: “Last year they had a different car to everyone else. This year we’ve got competition from people in the same car. I think the team has stepped up, full stop. I think the idea is we have to be strong everywhere; we’re not just a one-trick pony and we just aren’t good here; we’re hopefully strong everywhere. There is massive momentum all the way through the team; a lot of ambition; a lot of hunger. We want to do something special in this Corvette.”

WHERE DOES THIS CORVETTE DP STACK UP TO OTHER RACE CARS YOU HAVE DRIVEN? “It is an absolute joy to drive. I really enjoy it. The aero on the car is unbelievable. It is really good. It is still a very, very new car and it is only going to get better.

“It is going to race pretty good I think. Our race trim, I felt, was stronger than our qualifying trim. The competition here is very, very strong. There is a lot of quality. I’m new to this format and I have a lot to learn out there. But a good place to start, for sure.”

JON FOGARTY, NO. 99 GAINSCO/BOB STALLINGS RACING CORVETTE DP, QUALIFIED 2ND IN ROLEX DP: ON THE FRONT ROW, TALK ABOUT HOW IMPORTANT IT IS TO START UP FRONT HERE: “It’s always important to start up front. I always get the opportunity to qualify and want to improve upon my record for pole positions. We just missed it by a bit today. But really happy with the progress we made relative to the No. 90 (Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP, pole winner) car from last year to this year. I think we have a much more competitive race car. To be starting up front here, it’s not an easy place to overtake so that is always a good thing.”

HOW MUCH IMPROVED IS THE CORVETTE DP VERSUS THE PREVIOUS VERSIONS OF THE DP CAR? “From what we have had in the past, it is a huge improvement. This car is making good downforce. The balance is my nicer. It should be easier on the tires. I saw a good performance from all of the Corvettes throughout the weekend so far. So, definitely this suits us. The GAINSCO car, I think, is right up there at the pointy edge of the Corvette field, so I am happy to be in one for sure.

“Tomorrow we are going to have to execute; make no mistakes. Manage our tire wear. Kind of all the standard stuff. It will be a tough race for sure. I expect a lot of competition. It isn’t a huge field, but everybody is pretty quality, so we’re just going to run and try not to burn the tires off of it. Execute our pit stops. It is a little bit different this year with the smaller fuel cell; we’re going to possibly have an extra stop. The strategy is going to be new to us. We’ll work through it. We’ll just keep our heads down and not make any mistakes. That should be the key.”

DAVID DONOHUE, NO. 5 ACTION EXPRESS RACING CORVETTE DP, QUALIFIED 3RD IN ROLEX DP: ON QUALIFYING EFFORT: “We’ve been making a lot of improvements to the Action Express Corvette since Daytona. It is proving dividends. It is good that Corvette is on pole, it is just the wrong Corvette as far as I am concerned. (LAUGHS). I think we have a good race car. We will work on it some more and see what we have for tomorrow.

“I thinking starting near the front is important because it can be such a melee going through turns one and two in the beginning, and even in the hairpin I think you will see a lot of misjudgments shall we say? It’s hard because it is so slick here, and turn one is so close to where the green flag drops and then followed immediately by turn two. So, no one really gets a chance to get their car under them before they are jamming on the brakes and cornering and doing all kinds of stuff. It can lead to a mixed bag; you never know.”

PAUL EDWARDS, NO. 88 AUTOHAUS MOTORSPORTS CAMARO GT.R, POLE WINNER IN ROLEX GT: TALK ABOUT YOUR QUALIFYING EFFORT: “I just had to be tidy. The Camaro GT.R is running very well here. Really strong. It seems like the Chevy has some grunt off the line and we are able to put the traction down with the balance of the car. It is still going to be a management race with the tire. But me and Jordan (Taylor, co-driver) have found some good improvement over the last two days for a more balanced, more manageable easy car to drive, and less hard on the rear tire. We showed that the Camaro has got everything for the other manufacturers out here, so we just have to wrap it up tomorrow.”

HOW DOES IT SPEAK TO THE EFFORT CHEVROLET IS PUTTING FORTH WINNING THREE POLES TODAY? “It is really cool to be part of it all. They are really putting the effort in. Saw Mark Kent (Director, Chevrolet Racing) here today; just cool that he has come out to support us. It is important. Chevy has a lot of momentum right now; through their whole production car scene to the racing scene so it is really cool to be part of it.”

HOW MUCH OF A BOOST IS THIS FOR YOUR TEAM? “There is just a really good feel at Autohaus right now. It is really a nice group and a good package. They are doing everything they can to win this championship. Jordon is definitely going to have a good finish tomorrow. He is an amazing driver.”

RONNIE BREMER, NO. 57 STEVENSON MOTORSPORTS CAMARO GT.R, QUALIFIED 3RD IN ROLEX GT: ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT: “It is not too bad. That was my quickest lap so far this weekend. I must say I have been struggling a little bit on this track to get everything right. I need a bit more time on the track I think. Pretty happy with P3.

“It is definitely important to be in the front. It seems like the tires go off after 10-15 laps, so it is very important to stay up in the front so you don’t lose too much time. It is important to be up there.

“The Camaro is pretty good. We have a handle on the grip. Without saying anything bad about the tires, I just think the track is just using the tires a lot. It is the same for everyone. The track is so abrasive so it is killing the tires quite quickly.”

LAWSON ASCHENBACH, NO. 01 CKS AUTOSPORT CAMARO GS.R, POLE WINNER: ON HIS QUALIFYING EFFORT: “We knew qualifying was going to be important. We have a great Chevrolet Camaro GS.R. Everyone at CKS Autosport gave me a flawless car all weekend. We knew we had a shot. We just had to get a clean lap. Track position is everything here (at Barber Motorsports Park). Too many cars; it is a short track, and keeping the nose clean is going to be everything. Having that clean air up front is going to help everything.”

WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING IN TOMORROW’S RACE? “To be honest with you, a lot of people are expecting yellows, but over the past couple of years that I have seen the track sometimes thing can go long, green runs. You have to be ready for both cases; both scenarios and I think we are prepared for both. I think the biggest thing is going to be track position. You are just going to have to stay up front. Strategy is going to be very key tomorrow. We’ll just take it from there and see what happens.”

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Series GRANDAM
Tags autohaus, barber motorsports park, camaro, corvette, edwards, spirit of daytona, westbrook

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