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Sears Point: GT practice one report

Archer Aces First SCCA SPEED GT Practice at Infineon SONOMA, Calif. (June 23, 2006) -- Banking on experience from previous excursions on the shortened Infineon Raceway, SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT driver Tommy Archer, of Duluth,...

Archer Aces First SCCA SPEED GT Practice at Infineon

SONOMA, Calif. (June 23, 2006) -- Banking on experience from previous excursions on the shortened Infineon Raceway, SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT driver Tommy Archer, of Duluth, Minn., cruised to a quick practice time of 1:19.175 (90.483 mph) in his No. 5 c3controls/Dodge Motorsport Dodge Viper SRT to lead the SPEED GT field in advance of Saturday's Round Five Race, part of the Dodge/Save Mart 350 weekend. Mike McCann, of North Canton, Ohio, was second behind Archer with a 1:19.425 (90.198 mph), and Cadillac's Johnny O'Connell, of Flowery Branch, Ga., was third with a 1:19.678 (89.911 mph).

Archer wasted little time assuming the lead position, leaping to the front early on in the 20-minute session with a 1:19.986. While other spots shuffled periodically behind him, Archer maintained his position, eventually improving his top time to the fast mark.

Afterward, Archer said memory served him well in his pursuit of a fast practice time.

"Yes," Archer said when asked if he had run the 10-turn, 1.99-mile configuration in the past. "It was in NASCAR trucks, and it has been a few years, but elephants don't usually have bad memories."

Pachyderm similarities aside, Archer said that his Viper seemed to do well despite his thought that smaller cars were better-suited to Infineon Raceway.

"We've been coming here the past two years with the Viper," Archer said. "And even though I've always considered this a small-car track, I think that it is also a difficult track. And what I've noticed over the years is that on a difficult track, the more difficult it is, the better I do.

"There are some corners here that scare people. There are a lot of guys here who don't have a lot of experience on this track. This is my 25th year coming here. I'm very comfortable at this venue. The new [track] layout is a little bit different for this car, but I only had to learn one turn, everything else I knew pretty well."

Where Archer was up front early, McCann came on late, first moving into fifth before jumping up to second in his No. 82 McCann Plastics/K&N Filters Dodge Viper just before the session closed.

McCann passed up the No. 16 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/On Star Cadillac CTS-V driven by O'Connell, who held the second spot for much of the session.

O'Connell's Cadillac teammate, Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., was fourth in the No. 1 Cadillac CTS-V with a 1:19.857 (89.710 mph), and Ricardo Imery, of Caracas, Venezuela, was fifth (1:20.039 -- 89.506 mph) in his No. 64 AXA Financial/Cavenas Elevators Porsche 911 GT3.

The second and final SPEED GT practice session is set for 2:10 p.m. (EDT) this afternoon.

To follow practice, qualifying and race action live via live timing, visit www.world-challenge.com, select the Infineon event homepage and click on the SCCA Pit Board Presented by SRT, which provides real-time lap notes and timing information.

For other information, visit www.world-challenge.com.

-scca pro racing-

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Series PWC
Drivers Andy Pilgrim , Tommy Archer , Ricardo Imery