DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 1, 2001) - James Weaver and Jack Baldwin locked in the front row starting spots today for the Rolex 24 At Daytona during qualifying. Rainy weather forced race officials to enforce wet track qualifying procedures, ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (February 1, 2001) - James Weaver and Jack Baldwin locked in the front row starting spots today for the Rolex 24 At Daytona during qualifying. Rainy weather forced race officials to enforce wet track qualifying procedures, allowing only the front row of cars to be set today. The remainder of the 80-car field will be locked in on Friday, using their best time between Thursday and Friday's qualifying sessions
All five classes ran together in a 45-minute qualifying session as part of the wet track procedure. In good conditions, cars are divided by classes (SRP, SRPII; GTS, AGT; and GT) to run in three separate 15-minute qualifying sessions.
Weaver's speed of 119.351 mph secured him his fourth-consecutive Rolex 24 At Daytona pole. His lap time of 1:47.351 was nearly two seconds faster than second-place Baldwin.
"(Being on the pole for the fourth-consecutive year) really says a lot for the car and the team. The thrill of being on the pole never goes away," said Weaver, who pilots the #16 Dyson Racing Team Ford Riley & Scott. "Sadly, perhaps, it often has nothing to do with the outcome of the race. It makes you feel great today, but won't have any bearing on what happens Sunday afternoon."
Baldwin's best lap time of 1:49.201 came late in the qualifying session, as he struggled with his car and tires throughout most of the laps.
"It was just one of those deals where I couldn't get the heat in the tires," said Baldwin, the 1984 Rolex 24 At Daytona GTU champion. "I just kept messing with it, working on the tire and looking for the lap, looking for the lap. I knew I needed the lap - one clear lap. Right at the end, she kind of opened up. The next one would have been better, but the motor lost a valve."
Both Weaver and Baldwin agreed that the heavy traffic coupled with the wet conditions made posting a clean qualifying lap difficult, but are relieved that their work on the track is done until Saturday. Their teams plan to focus on preparing the cars for Saturday's green flag, which Baldwin said will include a new engine for the Robinson Racing #74 Judd Riley & Scott.
The second round of qualifying will begin on Friday at 2:45 p.m. for the SportsRacing Prototype and SportsRacing Prototype II divisions. The GTS and American GT classes are scheduled to take to the track at 3:05 p.m. and the GT class at 3:25 p.m. If wet track conditions continue at the speedway, the second round of qualifying will also be combined into a single 45-minute session for all classes beginning at 2:45 p.m.
More information on the Grand-Am and the Rolex 24 At Daytona is available online at www.grand-am.com.