GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Aug. 28) - Sepp Koster of Hemskeerk, Netherlands has found a home away from home. The 24-year-old also learned that the winding maze of streets in downtown Grand Rapids mesh well with his driving style. Koster has turned in a dominant three-for-three in timed Barber Dodge Pro Series sessions, the last of which insured his second career pole Saturday afternoon on the 1.58-mile, 13-turn Scott Brayton Memorial Street Circuit.
It helped to speak the local language, be it English or Dutch.
"I've seen some people coming over and talking Dutch to me, it's pretty nice," Koster said. "A lot of people have been to Holland, so I'm sharing experiences at the moment."
Koster recorded the fast lap of the day in the first morning qualifying session with a lap of 1:15.428 averaging 75.410 mph despite a hairy sideways slide through turn 13, then watched as repeated attempts to match the time in the slower afternoon session fell short.
The Dutch driver also had the fastest time in the final qualifying session with a 1:16.106. Todd Snyder of Sheffield, Mass. ended up closest to Koster with a 1:15.740 at 75.099 mph from the morning session.
"My car was very good this morning. I really felt it immediately when I was running the lap that it was a good one," Koster said. "This afternoon I just went out to cruise, figure out how the track was and see if there was any potential for Todd to improve on my time. I pretty much figured that if I was not able to come close to my lap time, which I couldn't, then no one else was going to be able to."
Snyder entered the weekend with a two-race winning streak, including a victory on the Belle Isle street circuit in Detroit. He pronounced himself satisfied with the outside spot on the front row, having won both races from the same grid position.
"Second's been working for me the last couple of races, so I'll take it," Snyder said. "The black flag in the second session (to extract the car of Alex Sperafico from a tire wall) definitely screwed me up. I was just starting to work it pretty good and had to stop and try it again."
Jon Fogarty of Portola Valley, Calif. ((1:15.816/75.024 mph) secured third for his best slot of the season, while rookie points leader Michael Valiante of Vancouver, B.C. (1:16.118/74.726 mph) will start fourth.
"All I had to do was go out there and get some clean laps, which is not that easy to do around here," Fogarty said. "My qualifying lap was really pretty uneventful, there were no big slides. It was just comfortable."
Jamie Menninga of Pella, Iowa (1:16.257/74.590 mph) starts sixth, just in front of series points leader Jeff Simmons of East Granby, Conn. (1:16.289/74.559 mph). Brazil's Sperafico (1:16.442/74.409 mph), Brian Pelke of Lansing, Ill. (1:16.689/74.170 mph) and Peter Boss of Narragansett, R.I. (1:16.699/74.160 mph) completed the top 10, which was separated by less than 1.3 seconds.
Koster, who broke a 20-race pole drought, was ready to spend some additional time at his newly adopted home track.
"I know there's supposed to be a nice beach in Holland (Mich.) and the girls are very pretty, so I'm waiting for an invitation," Koster said.
Any road trips will have to wait until after Sunday's 40-minute race, scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m.
#GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - Barber Dodge Pro Series combined qualifying results Saturday from the West Michigan Grand Prix on the 1.58-mile, 13-turn Scott Brayton Memorial Street Circuit for Sunday's 40-minute race. Drivers are classified by position, car number, name/hometown and time/speed.<
1 (7) Sepp Koster/The Netherlands 1:15.428/75.410 mph 2 (11) Todd Snyder/Sheffield, Mass. 1:15.740/75.099 3 (52) Jon Fogarty/Portola Valley, Calif. 1:15.816/75.024 4 (95) Michael Valiante/Vancouver,Canada 1:16.118/74.726 5 (31) Iradj Alexander/Giubiasco,Switzerland 1:16.196/74.650 6 (2) Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa 1:16.257/74.590 7 (1) Jeff Simmons/East Granby, Conn. 1:16.289/74.559 8 (16) Alexandre Sperafico/ToledoParana, Brazil 1:16.442/74.409 9 (85) Brian Pelke/Lansing, Ill. 1:16.689/74.170 10 (6) Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I. 1:16.699/74.160 11 (8) Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif. 1:16.780/74.082 12 (17) Matt Plumb/Unionville, Pa. 1:16.943/73.925 13 (36) Nilton Rossoni/Curitiba, Brazil 1:16.945/73.923 14 (25) Townsend Bell/Costa Mesa, Calif. 1:16.968/73.901 15 (12) Vanderlan Junior/Goiania, Brazil 1:17.178/73.700 16 (4) Brent Sherman/ Northbrook, Ill. 1:17.503/73.391 17 (13) R. B. Stiewing/Lime Rock, Conn. 1:18.016/72.908 18 (3) Kip Gulseth/Manitowac, Wisc. 1:18.528/72.433 19 (77) Scott Mayer/Franklin, Wis. 1:19.515/71.534