Road Atlanta II: Gleason qualifying report

Johnstown, Pa.'s Chris Gleason qualifies ninth in GT class for tomorrow's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. BRASELTON, Ga., Oct. 17 - Chris Gleason turned 60 on Monday but that didn't stop him from out-qualifying a lot of younger drivers Friday ...

Johnstown, Pa.'s Chris Gleason qualifies ninth in GT class for tomorrow's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

BRASELTON, Ga., Oct. 17 - Chris Gleason turned 60 on Monday but that didn't stop him from out-qualifying a lot of younger drivers Friday afternoon as the starting grid was set for Saturday's Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta Motor Sports Park, the season finale for the American Le Mans Series (ALMS).

The native of Johnstown, Pa. will start ninth in the GT field, which consists of 19 cars, when the 10-hour, 10,000-mile race gets the green flag Saturday at 11:30 a.m. His co-drivers in the Racer's Group Porsche 911 GT3 RS #68 are Marc Bunting of Monkton, Md. and Pierre Ehret of Tengessee, Germany.

Gleason's best lap in qualifying was the tenth of 11 he ran in the session. He was clocked in 1:35.595 for the 2.54-mile, 12-turn road course, which computes to an average speed of 95.654 mph.

"Marc [Bunting] and I have an agreement that whoever is faster in practice will qualify the car," Gleason said. "He was about a tenth of a second faster than me, but he asked me to qualify today anyway, which was very nice of him. I have family here and everything, so it was really nice.

"Right before qualifying it started to rain.  So, we put on rain tires and
away I went," he continued.  "I love to drive in the rain.

"The car was great; it was sliding really nice. We just kept getting faster and faster. I ended up qualifying ninth and I out-qualified both of our team cars, the #66 and the #67, which caused quite a stir, as you can imagine. It turned out great. I'm excited, and I'm really looking forward to the race tomorrow."

Gleason will start 27th overall on the grid, with his Racer's Group team cars in 29th and 30th.

The event will be covered live and extensively on the SPEED Channel. Pre-race coverage starts at 11 a.m. and the start of the race will be covered from 11:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. The broadcasters take a break and then come back on from 3 p.m. until 6 p.m., and then cover the finish from 7 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.

During the pauses in the live TV coverage fans can follow the event online at www.americanlemans.com, as the American Le Mans Series Radio Web will cover all the action non-stop. Practice results and pit notes will be posted on that site as quickly as possible too.

Highlights of the event will be covered overseas on Eurosport at 20:00 Central European Time on Oct. 26.

-cg/lm-

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Series ALMS
Drivers Pierre Ehret , Chris Gleason , Marc Bunting