SBRS: Laguna Seca Saturday qualifying report

SIMMONS WINS THIRD POLE OF SEASON AT LAGUNA SECA MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 11) - Jeff Simmons of East Granby, Conn. retained the pole position in final qualifying for the Barber Dodge Pro Series race at the Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca...

SIMMONS WINS THIRD POLE OF SEASON AT LAGUNA SECA MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 11) - Jeff Simmons of East Granby, Conn. retained the pole position in final qualifying for the Barber Dodge Pro Series race at the Grand Prix of Monterey at Laguna Seca Raceway Saturday afternoon.

The day was marred by the tragic death of CART Champ Car rookie driver Gonzalo Rodriguez of Marlboro Team Penske in the morning warm-up session. The accident at the top of the famous Corkscrew turn closed the track for several hours and cast a somber note over the proceedings.

Simmons, the current championship points leader, earned a crucial pole bonus point with his best lap of 1:26.259 that averaged 93.402 mph on the 11-turn, 2.24-mile road course. Todd Snyder of Sheffield, Mass., who entered the weekend 10 points behind Simmons in the points battle, moved up from his sixth spot in provisional qualifying to second on the final grid with a 1:26.542 at 93.097 mph.

"Every point right now is crucial. The car was pretty good and I was able to get up to speed quickly," Simmons said. "It's really important to get a good start tomorrow. If you do it right the guy next to you has trouble staying even going into the first turn. Even half a car length can make a huge difference here."

Snyder was able to outgun Iradj Alexander of Switzerland (1:26.773/92.849 mph) and Sepp Koster of the Netherlands (1:26.780/92.842 mph) for the outside spot on the front row. The second position did not phase Snyder, as he has won the last three Barber Dodge races from an identical gridslot.

"That's certainly what we needed, to stay up close and next to Simmons where we can put some pressure on him," Snyder said. "Second's been working pretty good for the last three races. We need to not do anything stupid, have a clean race and make sure we collect the points."

Jon Fogarty of Portola Valley, Calif. (1:26.783/92.838 mph) claimed fifth on his home track, just in front of fellow Californian Townsend Bell of Costa Mesa (1:26.983/92.625 mph). Rookies took the next two positions with Roger Yasukawa of Santa Monica, Calif. (1:27.042/92.562 mph) edging out Michael Valiante of Vancouver, B.C. (1:27.083/92.519 mph) for seventh.

Just five-thousandths of a second behind Valiante was Nilton Rossoni of Curitiba, Brazil (1:27.088/92.513 mph). Peter Boss of Narragansett, R.I. completed the Top 10. Boss clocked in at 1:27.258 at 92.333 mph, less than a second behind Simmons.

Round 10 of the 12-race Barber Dodge Pro Series championship is scheduled to begin at 4:15 p.m. PST Sunday. The race is a 40-minute timed sprint.

For complete qualifying results and photos, visit the Skip Barber Racing School website: www.skipbarber.com

#MONTEREY, Calif. - Barber Dodge Pro Series final qualifying results Saturday from the Honda Grand Prix of Monterey on the 2.24-mile, 11-turn Laguna Seca Raceway for Sunday's 40-minute race. Drivers are classified by position, car number, name/hometown and time/speed.

1     (1)   Jeff Simmons/East Granby, Conn.           1:26.259/93.402 mph
2     (11)  Todd Snyder/Sheffield, Mass.              1:26.542/93.097
3     (31)  Iradj Alexander/Giubiasco,Switzerland     1:26.773/92.849
4     (7)   Sepp Koster/The Netherlands               1:26.780/92.842
5     (52)  Jon Fogarty/Portola Valley, Calif.        1:26.783/92.838
6     (25)  Townsend Bell/Costa Mesa, Calif.          1:26.983/92.625
7     (8)   Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif.       1:27.042/92.562
8     (95)  Michael Valiante/Vancouver,Canada         1:27.083/92.519
9     (36)  Nilton Rossoni/Curitiba, Brazil           1:27.088/92.513
10    (6)   Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I.             1:27.258/92.333
11    (17)  Matt Plumb/Unionville, Pa.                1:27.285/92.305
12    (2)   Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa                1:27.616/91.956
13    (85)  Brian Pelke/Lansing, Ill.                 1:27.706/91.861
14    (16)  Alexandre Sperafico/Brazil                1:27.916/91.642
15    (4)   Brent Sherman/ Northbrook, Ill.           1:27.934/91.623
16    (26)  Rhonda Trammell/Pittsboro, Ind.           1:28.701/90.831
17    (66)  Tom Fogarty/Copco Lake, Calif.            1:29.243/90.279
18    (19)  Jason LaPoint/Woodburn, Oregon            1:29.328/90.193
19    (13)  R. B. Stiewing/Lime Rock, Conn.           1:29.339/90.182
20    (3)   Kip Gulseth/Manitowac, Wisc.              1:29.648/89.871
21    (38)  David Francis, Jr./Cypress, Calif.        1:30.026/89.494
22    (77)  Scott Mayer/Franklin, Wis.                1:30.434/89.090
23    (23)  Jon Vannini/Hillsborough, Calif.          1:30.551/88.975
24    (5)   Keith Dusko/Red Bank, New Jersey          1:34.557/85.206

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Peter Boss , Jon Fogarty , Michael Valiante , Townsend Bell , Brent Sherman , Tom Fogarty , Roger Yasukawa , Jon Vannini , Nilton Rossoni , Sepp Koster , Skip Barber , Rhonda Trammell , Scott Mayer , Jeff Simmons , Todd Snyder , Matt Plumb , Alexander Iradj , Gonzalo Rodriguez
Teams Team Penske