Chevrolets swept Grand-Am Rolex Series qualifying Saturday at Lime Rock Park, with Richard Westbrook setting the fastest time in the headlining Daytona Prototype class and Jonathan Edwards turning the fastest lap in the production-based GT class.
Driving the Spirit of Daytona Corvette DP, Westbrook lapped the 1.5-mile road course in 49.901. That time was less than a tenth of a second faster than Scott Pruett in the Ganassi BMW Riley and Jon Fogarty’s Gainsco Corvette DP. Max Angelelli and Alex Popow rounded out the top-five in the Daytona Prototype class.
“It was a messy run I have to day, but I’m delighted I got the pole,” said Westbrook after his third pole of the season. “We were at the top of the charts for the first few minutes and I felt like there was a lot more in (the car). So immediately I felt confident. Then we ran into some traffic, which is normal around here. At the midpoint of qualifying, the tires started to come in and everyone else started improving and we found ourselves in third. But we found some space and put in a good lap.”
With three wins this year, Westbrook should be in the thick of the Daytona Prototype drivers’ championship. But two DNFs have eliminated him from contention for the title.
“I think we’ve been strong everywhere,” he said. “We have just run out of luck in certain places. A lot of that was brought on ourselves.
“I like to fight for championships rather than just fight for wins. If you get one DNF in Grand-Am, you might as well not show up for the rest of the races. And that’s what happened to us twice. We're the only team with a DNF and I think the penalty is too hard for a DNF. If you come last, you get 25 points on the road. If you get a DNF, you get zero. So you're out of the hunt if you have a DNF. So all we can do is fight for the win. And I have to say that that’s pretty depressing.”
But while the Brit may be depressed about the championship situation, ending the season with a win would improve his mood heading into the off season.
“We’ve found our form again and it’s come at a good time. It would be nice to go into the winter with a strong finish. We’re out of the points now, so we’re not worried about what happens in the race so much. We want to be competitive and fight for the win and I think we’re in a good place to do that here.”
Pruett and teammate Memo Rojas can clinch the Daytona Prototype drivers’ championship by each driving 30 minutes and finishing at least ninth in the 10-car Daytona Prototype field.
Edwards recorded a lap of 53.983 in the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro, besting Andrew Davis in the Brumos Porsche and Johannes van Overbeek in the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458.
Jeff Segal and Emil Assentato have already clinched the drivers’ and team titles in the GT Class for the AIM Autosport Ferrari team.
Saturday’s race will begin at 3 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on Speed.
Story by: Pat Jennings