SBRS: Homestead Friday Qualifying

SIMMONS WELCOMES EARLY SHOWER IN HOMESTEAD HEAT HOMESTEAD, Fla. (October 16) - Jeff Simmons got a little wet in the first qualifying session Friday for Round 11 of the Barber Dodge Pro Series. But unlike most drivers piloting the open cockpit ...

SIMMONS WELCOMES EARLY SHOWER IN HOMESTEAD HEAT

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (October 16) - Jeff Simmons got a little wet in the first qualifying session Friday for Round 11 of the Barber Dodge Pro Series. But unlike most drivers piloting the open cockpit Barber Dodge cars, the rain shower did not seem to dampen his spirits.

In fact, Simmons found the rain to be downright refreshing. The sudden appearance of a dark cloud on the back part of the track allowed Simmons, of East Granby, Conn., to stake an early claim on the provisional pole position for Saturday's Barber Dodge Pro Series race. It also gave Simmons, who recorded a best lap of 1:25.264 at 93.310 mph, a head start on the crucial bonus point in the season standings that comes with the pole position.

"We started to get a couple of sprinkles, then it went away, and then it started coming down," Simmons said. "Once that happened, I knew that nobody was going to beat it."

Simmons laid down his lap about five minutes before the 30-minute session was black-flagged by the obtrusive rain cloud, which descended on the back straight of the 2.21-mile, 14-turn Homestead road course circuit. The early end to the qualifying came with approximately four minutes left on the session clock, which is normally the time frame in which the fastest laps are turned due the lighter fuel load in the cars.

It put Simmons, who leads the Barber Dodge Pro Series' adjusted points standings, in position to put another point between himself and second-place Todd Snyder of Sheffield, Mass. before the race even begins. Simmons leads Snyder 126-121 in the adjusted points battle, which reflects the dropping of the drivers' two lowest-scoring outings of the year per the Pro Series rules.

Nilton Rossoni of Curitiba, Brazil was right on Simmons' trail and settled into the second spot with a lap of 1:25.284 at 93.288 mph. It was the first race for the 18-year old Brazilian since winning Round 8 at Road America in August. Alex Gurney of Newport Beach, Calif. logged the third-fastest lap with a 1:25.354 at 93.212 mph. Giovanni Anapoli of Italy (1:25.472/93.083 mph) and John McCaig of Canada (1:25.529/93.021 mph) complete the top five.

Snyder found himself in the eighth provisional grid position after trying unsuccessfully to sneak one last quick lap in before the skies opened up.

"It certainly didn't help with the black flag all," Snyder admitted. "I was trying to get one more going in there, but the rain hit turn nine, which is a bad corner, and finished off the whole track."

Simmons knows he might have to up the ante in the final qualifying session Saturday morning, but must keep the car in shape for the 40-minute timed Barber Dodge Pro Series race later in the afternoon.

"I know that I have a little bit left because I made some mistakes on that lap, and I am sure that everybody else has some left, too," Simmons stated cautiously. "I don't think that pole time is safe by any means."

Starting order for Saturday's Barber Dodge Pro Series race at the FIA GT Race at the Homestead Motorsports Complex in Homestead, Fla. Qualifying position, car number, driver, hometown or country, lap time and average miles per hour around the 2.21-mile, 14-turn road course. All cars are identical Reynard Dodge V-6, open-wheel, single-seat race cars on Michelin racing tires.

1        21        Jeff Simmons/East Granby, Conn.                01:25.264        93.310
2        36        Nilton Rossoni/Cuitiba, Brazil                01:25.284        93.288
3        27        Alex Gurney/Newport Beach, Calif.        01:25.354        93.212
4        18        Giovanni Anapoli/Montecchio, Italy        01:25.472        93.083
5        55        John McCaig/Victoria, B.C., Canada        01:25.529        93.021
6        32        Sepp Koster/The Netherlands                01:25.551        92.997
7        31        Iradj Alexander-David/Switzerland        01:25.627        92.915
8        11        Todd Snyder/Sheffield, Mass.                01:25.685        92.852
9        17        Matt Plumb/Unionville, Pa.                01:25.745        92.787
10        76        Will Langhorne/Warrenton, Va.                01:25.857        92.666
11        4        Thomas Schie/Oslo, Norway                01:25.925        92.592
12        25        Townsend Bell/Los Altos Hills, Calif.        01:25.935        92.582
13        2        Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa                01:26.017        92.493
14        22        Eric Tresslar/Denver, Colo.                01:26.118        92.385
15        52        Jon Fogarty/Portola Valley, Calif.        01:26.133        92.369
16        6        Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I.                01:26.393        92.091
17        40        Tom Woods/Rancho Cordova, Calif.        01:26.436        92.045
18        28        Ryan Hunter-Reay/Boca Raton, Fla.        01:26.558        91.915
19        85        Brian Pelke/Lansing, Ill.                01:26.642        91.826
20        1        Charles Willis/Germantown, Tenn.        01:26.650        91.818
21        23        Jon Vannini/Hillsborough, Calif.        01:27.661        90.759
22        37        Josh Rehm/Plymouth, Mass.                01:27.674        90.745
23        29        Jens Tjarnlund/Stockholm, Sweden        01:28.221        90.183
24        9        Brent Sherman/Northbrook, Ill.                01:28.307        90.095
25        44        Michael Morris/Dallas, Texas                01:28.525        89.873
26        16        Salvatore Lombardo/Brooklyn, New York        01:29.883        88.515

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