SHEARS' MOMENTUM CONTINUES IN LITES 1 QUALIFYING, WEISBERG TAKES LITES 2 POLE
BRASELTON, GEORGIA (September 30, 2010) The remnants of Tropical Storm Nicole made for a tricky qualifying session in slowly drying conditions, so it's no surprise that two drivers with a good deal of wet track experience sit on the Lites 1 and Lites 2 poles for Round 14 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship at Road America.
Charlie Shears, driving the #21 CORE autosport/US Builders Elan DP02 wasn't interested in backing off after clinching the Lites 1 championship at Mosport, as he and teammate Gary Gibson (#13 CORE autosport/Perfect Pedal) traded the top spot, with Shears coming out on top.
"Down in Texas, we run a lot in the rain," said Shears. "I felt comfortable and knew where all the problems were you have to be a little more gentle, but it adds to the excitement out there. And I wasn't about to sit on the sidelines and watch these guys have all the fun!"
"I needed one more lap," sighed Gibson. "The checkered came out five second too early for me. The track was getting better every lap and I got my fast lap early. I knew I could get another half second if I could get a clean lap. There wasn't really a dry line but it was definitely getting gripier - all the fast laps came at the end, I just didn't get the last one."
Anthony Nicolosi (#8 Performance Tech/Medical Connections), who held the pole for one lap, only to lost his time when he spun off in turn eight, will start third.
John Weisberg, driving the #75 BERG Motorsports/REDCOM/Solar Stik West WR1000 sits five points behind Lites 2 championship leader Lee Alexander (#23 Factory 48 Motorsports/APE Raceparts) so going after the pole position was a must, despite the conditions. Alexander gave a thought to not risking the car and sitting out qualifying, but with the championship on the line, decided to take the chance.
"It was pretty treacherous," said Weisberg. "You had to be at least 200 yards behind the car in front of you to be able to see, water was just hanging in the air behind each car. It was just a leap of faith - going down over the top of the hill and into turn 10, you couldn't see the turn at all."
"We decided late to go ahead and come out, so we hurried to put a wet setup on the car," said Alexander. "I don't have a lot of rain experience, but it wasn't too bad. There were a couple of slick corners, but in the last few laps, I knew I was a little off John's pace, so I had to try to make it up. So I just have to stay close to John, and we've done that in qualifying."
The Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Championship features racing between two sports racer prototype classes, Lites 1 and Lites 2, presenting a dimension of competition as drivers must be aware of classes with distinctly different speeds as they navigate the race track. This is the same challenge faced by the drivers of the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patron.
Follow along on the race weekend at www.litestiming.com, on Facebook and Twitter and visit www.prototypelites.com for the latest schedule and updates.