Mike LaMarra qualified 14th and Greg Strolzoff qualified in 26th position
A positive qualifying result in the IMSA Continental Tire Challenge Series for Burton Racing this afternoon proved to be both the product and evidence of the hard work of the championship squad and left the team with a positive attitude for the Friday’s Sebring 200.
Mike LaMarra scored a positive top-15 result, driving the No. 23 BMW Automotive Chemicals/Excelda BMW 128i to a 14th place starting position with a quick lap time of 2:26.460-seconds. Greg Strolzoff qualified the sister No. 22 Gold Eagle BMW 128i in 26th position.
“The car spun out right in front of me in the last turn on that first lap and I had to make a quick decision on where to go,” said LaMarra of the qualifying session. “But I made it through and then it ended up working out pretty well for me actually because I was able to catch a draft off the car in front of me and drive clean and fast the rest of the time. I actually got my fastest lap time on the last lap! The car felt really great and now I’m just looking forward to the race.”
Unfortunately Strolzoff was more negatively impacted by the spin and slower traffic proved to be more of an issue in his section of the field.
“The car felt great during qualifying today,” said Strolzoff. “But traffic made our ultimate qualifying result a bit unfortunate. But I am definitely planning on moving up in the race tomorrow. I can’t wait to get back in the car. The crew did a really great job of getting everything ready and set up to go. We will definitely be moving forward tomorrow.”
In fact, the crew took Tuesday night after their arrival in Sebring to entirely change out the engine of the No. 22 and get it race-ready and in stellar condition for what promises to be a challenging race.
“The race tomorrow is definitely going to be a race of attrition,” noted Team Manager, Keith Burton. “Maintaining equipment and people being mentally and physically prepared are both going to be really important. It is a technical track, there are a lot of different types of corners and changing track conditions with all of the different cars. So it will reward a team and driver that can make good decisions for two and a half hours. Obviously it is one of the bumpiest tracks anybody ever goes to and so keeping the equipment together and making sure the drivers take care of the equipment the whole time is key. The people that can minimize mistakes and put all that together will be up front.”
The race will go green tomorrow at 1:00 PM (ET) and will run for a total of 2.5 hours. Mike LaMarra and Terry Borcheller will again share the driving duties of the No. 23 machine while Greg Strolzoff will pass the wheel off to Connor Bloum.