Dalziel Maintains Top Spot in Cleveland Qualifying; Earns Sixth Career Pole CLEVELAND, Ohio. (July 2, 2004) -- It's hard to imagine not being happy as a race car driver after leading every single session over a two-day period, but Ryan Dalziel (...
Dalziel Maintains Top Spot in Cleveland Qualifying; Earns Sixth Career Pole
CLEVELAND, Ohio. (July 2, 2004) -- It's hard to imagine not being happy as a race car driver after leading every single session over a two-day period, but Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks) wasn't satisfied with his qualifying effort on Friday. Despite producing the top time of 1:06.447 (114.100 mph) to lead the second round of qualifying, winning his sixth career pole for tomorrow's Argent Mortgage Presents The Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel, Sunday, June 11 -- 1 p.m. ET), Dalziel wasn't exactly pleased with the effort.
"I think we were actually a little disappointed in the way the session went," said Dalziel, the 2003 Toyota Atlantic Championship series runner up. "We honestly think we can get more out of the car." The 22-year-old Dalziel led all four Atlantic sessions over the first two days of action at the 2.106-mile Burke Lakefront Airport road circuit this weekend. He earned a championship point on Thursday for leading the first round of qualifying and he scored another marker with his effort today. The Sierra Sierra Enterprises driver now trails series points leader Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports) by just 13 points heading into Saturday's Round 6 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship. Dalziel knows that he has the car this weekend to close the gap even further on Fogarty and that's why he's setting the bar so high.
"We've got to just focus on making the car even better and hopefully have a good race tomorrow," added Dalziel.
The first step to a good race is getting cleanly through the legendary tight and treacherous Turn 1 in Cleveland. Dalziel hopes the start will go smoothly and he'll have his teammate starting next to him as rookie Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) tied his top Atlantic career qualifying effort of second place with a time of 1:06.615 (113.812 mph).
Another driver racing at Cleveland for the first time this season, Ronnie Bremer (#4 Healthcare Privileges.com/PaySystems) will start third as he continued to excel in his first weekend with Polestar Racing Group, based in nearby Chardon, Ohio. Bremer, who joined the team from Brooks Associates Racing earlier this week, posted his fastest time of 1:06.643 (113.764 mph) to qualify third for the top effort of his Atlantic career.
Fogarty, the championship point leader, was second in provisional qualifying yesterday, but he struggled with a gearbox problem in today's final session and wound up fourth overall with a time of 1:06.681 (113.700 mph). The 2002 series champion is looking to win his fourth consecutive event on Saturday but he hasn't started any worse that second during his stretch of three-in-a-row.
His teammate, Alex Figge (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports) qualified fifth with a top lap of 1:06.869 (113.380 mph), while rookie Jonathan Bomarito (#8 Dixien/Omnisource) will start sixth after posting a qualifying time of 1:06.991 (113.173 mph).
With his best qualifying performance of his rookie season, Tonis Kasemets (Flexovit Abrasives/MK Ind./TMI/Redline Oil) owned the seventh-fastest time of 1:07.562 (112.217 mph). Bryan Sellers (#19 Lynx Racing) of Centerville, Ohio, qualified eighth after a hard crash in the morning practice session. Sellers, who was clocked at 1:07.617 (112.126 mph), hasn't started any higher than fifth in the first five rounds of competition this season.
Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company), who entered the weekend second in the championship, 12 points behind Fogarty, also suffered her worst qualifying result of the season. She was ninth with a time of 1:07.727 (111.994 mph). Aussie rookie Josh Hunt (#15 Wright/Patton/Shakespeare/Atkinson Gore Group) had a top lap of 1:07.794 (111.833 mph) to complete the top 10.
Tomorrow's Round 6 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama is scheduled for 32 laps or 50 minutes, and will take the green flag at 2:30 p.m. ET. Follow all of the action with live timing and scoring at the official internet home of North America's top open wheel driver development series at www.toyotaatlantic.com.
Quotes from the top three qualifiers from Friday, as well as series point leader Jon Fogarty, follow:
RYAN DALZIEL (#28 ProWorks) earned his sixth career pole and third of the season. "I think we're actually a little bit disappointed the way the session went. We know we're going to find more time in the car. It's one thing to start on the pole here and another to get through Turn 1. It's all about momentum on this track. If you are a little bit loose on these high-speed corners, you're off course. To have two points and close the gap on Fogarty is a good start (Dalziel earned one bonus point in each qualifying session and now trails Fogarty by 13 points in the standing). We didn't get the most out of the car this morning either. We honestly think we can get more out of the car. Everybody talks about Turn 1. But the Atlantics have always been respectful of other. As long as no one does anything crazy, we'll be OK. This has got to be one of the most challenging circuits we drive on. There are a lot of different surfaces. Like Ronnie (Bremer) said before, you have to get perfect splits to get a perfect lap."
ANDREW RANGER (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) tied his best start of the season; he was also second on the grid in the first race at Portland. "He (teammate Dalziel) helped me out really well. In the beginning, I was too loose in the corners. We made a change and after that (the car) was pretty good. It's not an easy track to learn and I have to work hard. I think I drafted Alex Figge a little bit (on his fast lap). The team gave me a very good car. Yesterday, I pushed too hard and I lost too much (speed) in the corners. This is definitely the most difficult circuit I've driven on. There's so many lines."
RONNIE BREMER (#4 Healthcare Privileges.com/PaySystems) earned his top Toyota Atlantic qualifying position. "We're just getting better and better. This is a difficult circuit to learn. You just have to work with the car. I struggled with the brakes this morning. We changed the brakes and I didn't take it easy and over cooked them a bit. I had to settle down. I was about fifth or sixth until I heard last lap. This circuit is all about getting that one lap correct all the way through. You pretty much have to get into a rhythm where you push a little bit more each lap."
JON FOGARTY (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports) qualified fourth at 1:06.681 (113.700 mph) but did that on his 13th lap and sat out the rest of the session. "We had a gear box problem, unfortunately, so we weren't able to go to sticker tires and finish the session. It was unfortunate, but I think we'll have a good car for the race."