Last-lap dash barely beat out Ryan Dalziel's Extreme Speed Honda
Racing in the shadow of the world headquarters of Chevrolet, the IMSA TUDOR United SportsCar Championship qualifying session produced a nail-biting qualifying session on Friday afternoon.
Richard Westbrook delivered big on the very last lap of the run to score Spirit of Daytona Racing’s and VISIT FLORIDA’s first pole of the season at Chevrolet’s home track in front of thousands of Chevrolet supporters.
The fast lap of 1:25.011-seconds around the 2.35-mile temporary street circuit that came on Westbrook’s 10th and final qualifying lap sees the No. 90 VISITFLORIDA.com Corvette DP open tomorrow’s race from the prime starting spot for the 100-minute Chevrolet Sports Car Classic. Westbrook’s co-driver Michael Valiante will start the race before turning the car over to Westbrook to take to the finish.
“I thought I had given it my all with two to three laps to go,” said Westbrook, who battled lap after lap among the top-three for the top spot. “I think I did a 1:25.1-second lap and I thought ‘that’s it. I can’t do any more than that’. I did a cool down lap and just settled down. Just on the start of the final lap, the team told me I needed to do a 1:25.0-second lap. I just threw caution to the wind and sometimes when you’re on a street circuit like this, you get rewarded by taking a few risks as long as you don’t make contact with anything so I just gave it everything on that lap. I’m just delighted to be starting from the pole in tomorrow’s race in Detroit. The team deserves it, we’ve come a long way. We’ve had some bad luck in the past couple of races and it’s good that we’re fighting at the front now. The top-three finishes will come, we know that and it’s just great that we have our pace back.”
The pole position is all the more special for the Spirit of Daytona Racing squad who brings the VISIT FLORIDA colors to Chevrolet’s home town crowd in Detroit.
“It’s great to get the pole position in Chevrolet’s back yard,” said Team Owner Troy Flis. “This team deserves it. The P2 cars could be quick on the long run, so we just have to do as best as we can do and try as hard as we can try. It’s great to see Richard (Westbrook) pull out a lap like that and it’s great to see these guys pull together. We’re excited for the race. Just can’t wait to just race. It’s amazing to see what these guys do when they put their heads down and get after it.”
The Chevrolet Sports Car Classic goes green at 12:10 PM ET Saturday and will be televised on FOX Sports 1 beginning at 1:30 PM ET. MRN Radio will carry live coverage and scoring.imsa.com will provide live timing and scoring.
Spirit of Daytona