Road America: Series qualifying report

Ave Takes Road America Trans-Am Pole, Fifth of Season ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 20, 2009) -- Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C., captured his fifth Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Series pole position of 2009 this morning and will lead the 24-car field to the...

Ave Takes Road America Trans-Am Pole, Fifth of Season

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Sept. 20, 2009) -- Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C., captured his fifth Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Series pole position of 2009 this morning and will lead the 24-car field to the green at the season finale at Elkhart Lake's Road America this afternoon. Jorge Diaz Jr., of San Juan, Puerto Rico, will complete the front row.

Driving the No. 10 McMahon Group/Pro-Motor Chevrolet Corvette, Ave turned a record-breaking 2:05.981 (115.675 mph) on his third lap before a pair of red flags truncated the session and slowed the reminder of the field's efforts. The previous qualifying mark was a 2:08.143 (113.823 mph) by Johnny Miller IV in 2003.

"I think the pole would have been a low five of some sort, but nobody had a chance to do that," Ave said. "We were on a really good one and then the red came out. Jorge [Diaz Jr.] is really fast. I think he's going to be pretty tough. I think he might be a little bit quicker but we just lucked out and got a lap when he didn't."

"I love racing here," Ave added of racing close to his hometown of Hurley, Wis. "I'm glad the series is here and that the Runoffs are here. It's a great track to race on, but at the same time, I probably should have done some more testing. These other guys are pretty good. I grew up here but it doesn't really give me much of an advantage this weekend."

While Ave has recorded five of the seven series poles in 2009, he still seeks his first career win.

"At Portland, we weren't very good, but at Watkins Glen, we had the car that was just way faster than everyone else, but broke," Ave said. "We've been so busy, with everything else going on, that the car has just been sitting on jack stands until we came up here and Kurt [Roerhig] tested it during the week. We probably should have spent a little more time testing because everyone else has caught up a bit. We'll work on it a little bit and see how it is this afternoon."

Diaz Jr., who won at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course but skipped the subsequent two Rounds leading up to the finale, was fastest in practice Saturday, but couldn't quite match that pace in qualifying. His 2:06.113 (115.535 mph) in the No. 2 JD Racing Jaguar XKR was good enough for second best.

Series Champion Tomy Drissi, of Los Angeles, will start third in the No. 5 James Cameron's Avatar Jaguar XKR after turning a lap of 2:06.647 (115.066 mph) on his final lap. Drissi was third as a red flag for teammate Daniel Ramoutarsingh's trip into the Turn 14 tire wall looked to end the session. However, after a quick cleanup, Drissi was able to manage one flying lap at the end and improve, but not enough to jump to the front row.

R.J. Lopez, of the Dominican Republic, will start fourth in his No. 06 WabashPower.com/Mobil 1/Goodyear Chevrolet Corvette with a best lap time of 2:06.942 (114.799 mph). He edged out local driver Cliff Ebben, of Appleton, Wis., who turned a 2:07.166 (114.597 mph) in his No. 36 Lamers Racing/McMahon Group Ford Mustang.

Amy Ruman (Chevrolet Corvette), Ramoutarsingh (Jaguar XKR), Edison Lluch Sr. (Chevrolet Corvette), Jordan Bupp (Chevrolet Corvette) and Simon Gregg (Chevrolet Corvette) completed the top 10. Ramoutarsingh's Rocketsports Racing team is attempting to repair the car in time for the 1 p.m. race, as he holds a nine-point lead over Glen Jung and a 12-point lead over Lluch for Rookie of the Year honors.

This afternoon's race will take the green flag at 1 p.m. (CDT). Follow live timing and scoring at www.livetiming.net/scca/trans-am/livetiming.asp.

For more Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Series information, please visit www.sccatrans-am.com.

-credit: scca pro racing

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Series Trans-Am
Drivers Tony Ave , Tomy Drissi , Johnny Miller , Jorge Diaz Jr. , Glen Jung , Cliff Ebben , Edison Lluch , Amy Ruman , R.J. Lopez , Daniel Ramoutarsingh , Jordan Bupp
Teams HART