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Portland: Touring Car qualifying notes

POBST NABS FOURTH AIR FORCE RESERVE POLE OF SEASON IN PORTLAND SPEED TC PORTLAND, Ore. (July 30, 2005) -- Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., captured his second-straight and fourth Air Force Reserve Pole Position of the 2005 SPEED World ...

POBST NABS FOURTH AIR FORCE RESERVE POLE OF SEASON IN PORTLAND SPEED TC

PORTLAND, Ore. (July 30, 2005) -- Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., captured his second-straight and fourth Air Force Reserve Pole Position of the 2005 SPEED World Challenge Touring Car season today, and will lead the field at the standing start of today's Round Eight race at Portland International Raceway, part of the Portland Grand Prix. Teammate Dino Crescentini, of Malibu, Calif., will start second.

Driving the No. 73 Mazdaspeed/TriPoint Motorsports Mazda 6, Pobst cut a blistering lap of 1:21.649 (86.595 mph) around the 12-turn, 1.964-mile circuit. Coupled with his efforts at St. Petersburg, Mid-Ohio and two weeks ago at Infineon Raceway, Pobst now has a season-high four Air Force Reserve Poles in eight races. His 15th career pole moves him to fifth on the all time list.

"This [Mazda] is a chassis that works," Pobst said of his car at Portland. "Portland is a track that changes a lot from morning to afternoon. We race in the afternoon, so we've been working really hard on a race setup for a hot and slick track. In the morning, it's a completely different track, and we used a completely different setup.

"In the long turn four sweeper, I got in there and the tail came out and, for an instant, I thought I was going to get into trouble. But it just stayed and I just had this beautiful four-wheel drift going. I wish I had a video.

"It was one of those runs where there's some serendipity and some good setup and the pieces just fell into place."

Pobst has had some trouble this season in the early stages of races, jumping the start at Mid-Ohio from the pole and hooking a cone at Cleveland on the first lap that damaged his car and necessitating an early pit stop. For that reason, Pobst has decided to focus 100 percent of his efforts on SPEED Touring Car, bowing out of his American Le Mans Series GT2 ride with Alex Job Racing.

"I needed to pull back and focus on my commitment to Mazda and [ALMS team owner] Alex Job understood that. It was a gift to drive both cars this year, and my first commitment was to Mazda, and it's a factory-backed team and I felt that the time and focus required to do both on the same weekend was just too much."

Coming off of a career-best third place finish at Infineon, Crescentini piloted his No. 74 Mazdaspeed/Centric Parts/TriPoint Motorsports Mazda 6 to a lap of 1:22.066 (86.155 mph), meaning he will start on the front row for the first time in his career.

Charles Espenlaub was third in his No. 97 Sparco/Oakley/Tindol Motorsports Mazda 6 with a fastest lap of 1:22.416 (85.789 mph). Matt Richmond was the first non-Mazda in fourth, turning a fast lap of 1:22.580 (85.619 mph). Jeff Altenburg was fifth in his Mazda 6, putting all three TriPoint Motorsports cars in the top five.

Today's race is set to make its standing start at 1 p.m. (PDT). It will be broadcast Sunday on SPEED Channel at 12 p.m. (PDT), 3 p.m. Eastern.

To follow live timing and scoring, please visit www.world-challenge.com.

-scca pro racing-

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Series PWC
Drivers Randy Pobst , Charles Espenlaub , Jeff Altenburg , Dino Crescentini , Alex Job
Teams Alex Job Racing