(Lakeville, Conn.) May 26, 2001 - Rookie Davy Cook captured his first ever Barber Dodge Pro Series pole for Round 4 action to earn the West Side Parking Pole position award this afternoon at Lime Rock Park. The pole means one point towards the Pro Series tally and a contingency award of $500 cash presented by West Side Parking of East Granby, Connecticut.
Final qualifying was quite unusual. Torrential rains fell after the first qualifying session and suggested the unlikelihood for improved times. Brazilian Alex Sperafico, fastest this morning, seemed like a lock to maintain his provisional pole. Qualifying was red-flagged midway through the 20-minute session when Jon Vannini and a track vehicle went off in two unrelated incidents. Cleanup ate about six minutes of track time and only four minutes remained when cars were released to finish the session.
2000 Barber-CART Rookie of the year Ryan Hunter-Reay was the first to better the established provisional pole time at the 18-minute mark with a time of 1:09.358 sec. Then Sepp Koster, on the pole for round 3 action, lowered the mark to 1:09.047 sec. and looked unbeatable with less than a minute to go in the time trial. But it was rookie Davy Cook who turned in a flawless lap to set the new benchmark of 1: 08.796 sec. For the Tallahassee, Florida native, the new time was over 1.2 seconds quicker than his earlier lap time set on a considerably drier track.
For Cook, the effort exceeded the challenge of his Barber Dodge coaches.
"I certainly didn't think anybody would improve on times. It was raining really hard. My guys on the radio were telling me to go faster, that some of the other cars were faster, so I knew I had to step it up. I'm just glad I was able to."
The first year racer seems to be getting more comfortable as the season progresses, his hard work reflected in his track times.
"I think I'm calmer now that I'm approaching my third race. I keep getting better. I know this track real well and the CODI car did great," said Cook.
Koster did everything right and was a victim of time running out on him.
"I was hoping no one would take advantage of the improved conditions late in the session," said a disappointed Koster. "It's unfortunate but I'm still starting on the front row. I just have to get through the start clean and stay out of traffic."
Under less than ideal conditions, Hunter-Reay wasn't even thinking about setting best lap at the restart.
"The mentality was just to go out and get a read on the car for set-up," said the current Barber-CART Rookie of the Year. "It ended up that I ran strong and set pole but the last lap I got stuck in traffic. I didn't expect to be quicker than the first qualifying session but I'm happy to be here again."