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Laguna Seca: Dodge Motorsports qualifying report

MCCANN TO LEAD THE CHARGE FOR DODGE AND THE MANUFACTURERS' CHAMPIONSHIP IN SCCA SEASON FINALE MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 21, 2006) -- Mike McCann lead the charge for Dodge in qualifying for the season-ending event at Laguna Seca Raceway. Mike McCann...

MCCANN TO LEAD THE CHARGE FOR DODGE AND THE MANUFACTURERS' CHAMPIONSHIP IN SCCA SEASON FINALE

MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 21, 2006) -- Mike McCann lead the charge for Dodge in qualifying for the season-ending event at Laguna Seca Raceway. Mike McCann was the highest qualifying Dodge in the Speed World Challenge GT series, qualifying in the seventh position and taking the lead for Dodge Motorsports in the charge to wrap up the Manufacturer's Championship and take home the big prize. McCann, who posted a win at Sebring earlier this season, was happy to be the highest qualifying Dodge Viper.

"That's always the first goal, although I'd rather be in the top-three and be the highest qualifying Viper," McCann said after his qualifying run. "But we're pretty good. I just drove really hard that lap - I drove it as hard as I could. I didn't worry about what the car was doing, I just drove it. Once I put the throttle down I wasn't lifting. Fortunately for us it was a pretty decent time and it puts us right in the middle of it. I think we're far enough up [front] that we can battle and hopefully bring this manufacturer's championship home."

Tommy Archer qualified right behind him in eighth, fighting a car that just wouldn't turn.

"I figured that maybe we could run a lap in the low 29s (seconds), but we just couldn't do it," said Archer after qualifying. "The car just wouldn't turn. So we've just got to make some adjustments and see if we can make it better."

Archer also talked about his run and how it plays into whether Dodge Motorsports winning the manufacturer's championship.

"You've got to look at the big picture. The big picture is not whether we win [the race]. That doesn't matter," Archer continued. "With Corvette getting the pole, we [Dodge] now can finish two positions behind a Cadillac or Porsche instead of one and wrap up the manufacturer's championship. We've just got to go out and try to get the car working. Beyond that, what's going to happen is going to happen."

Bob Woodhouse, who has started in the top-10 six times this season, qualified his No. 13 Woodhouse Auto Family/Kicker/Dodge Viper in the 11th position.

"Being 11th that's cool, we're okay with that.," Woodhouse said after qualifying. "It's pretty tight competition out there. Tommy (Archer) is our bell-cow. He's the guy that we always depend on to be the highest possible Viper. When he puts it in eighth, you know that the competition is pretty close. We're within three-tenths of each other so that'll make it interesting. "

In the Touring Car series, Woodhouse's driver Brian Smith was the leading SRT4. He posted the eighth quickest time, running a lap of 1:36.769 seconds. Smith has had good runs at Road America and Road Atlanta but mechanical issues kept him from finishing where the car was truly capable. He was happy with his car after qualifying and hopes that there are no mechanical issues this weekend.

"We had a pretty good day. We threw a set-up at it and it worked. It actually worked better than we anticipated," Smith said after his qualifying run. "We probably could have been a little bit quicker. But we're pretty good and with the set-up we've got under the car it looks like we're going to be able to run at that pace pretty much throughout the whole race, which is great."

3R Racing teammates Dan Aweida and Robb Holland qualified ninth and 12th respectively, with Aweida posting his second-career top-10 qualifying run. He was excited to be able to start the race with his headlights on, like he did for the first time at Road Atlanta.

"The time I ran today (1:36.887) would have been on pole here last year in qualifying. I saw my time and I thought I might be in the top-three. Then I saw that I was in ninth, and I was happy to be in the top-10," Aweida said after his run. "I'm excited. I get to run with my headlights on, I've got Chip Herr right behind me and a Woodhouse Dodge in front of me so it's a good crowd to be in and hopefully I'll get a good start."

Holland overcame an electrical issue that kept him out of the final practice session yesterday to post a 12th place qualifying effort. He ran the qualifying session on a different setup than originally expected, since they weren't able to get on track in the final session to make all the adjustments. They were not too dissatisfied with the 12th place run since they only had a short amount of practice time.

"We only had about 11 laps of practice to get a feel for this thing but my knowledge of the track really helped me out in qualifying. So to be only a couple tenths off from (teammate) Dan (Aweida), I can't complain at all," Holland said. "I know how to race this track so I think a top-10, even a top-five is easily possible. "

Touring Cars take the green flag for their final race of the season Sunday at 10:30a.m. McCann will lead the Vipers toward wrapping up the manufacturer's championship after the green flag waves at 2pm the same day.

Banquet festivities will follow the event for both the Speed World Challenge series at the Monterey Marriott later that evening in Monterey, Calif.

-credit: dodge motorsports

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Series PWC
Drivers Tommy Archer , Brian Smith , Chip Herr , Bob Woodhouse , Robb Holland , Dan Aweida