Denver: Friday qualifying notes

Fogarty Leads Denver Friday Atlantic Qualifying DENVER, Colorado (August 13, 2004) -- With the battle for the series title in the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama heating up, every available point is...

Fogarty Leads Denver Friday Atlantic Qualifying

DENVER, Colorado (August 13, 2004) -- With the battle for the series title in the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama heating up, every available point is magnified.

Series point leader Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) earned just one single point this afternoon while leading the opening-round of qualifying on the streets of Denver for Sunday's Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic Championship of Denver Presented by Yokohama (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel, Saturday, August 21 -- 12 p.m. ET), but it was certainly significant in terms of the title chase.

Fogarty turned a fast lap of 1:08.234 (87.423 mph) on his 10th lap in the 30-minute qualifying session on the 1.657-mile temporary street course to earn the provisional pole. He secured a front-row starting position for Sunday's Round 10 on the Atlantic calendar and with the point earned for today's effort, Fogarty now extends his lead in the championship to 12 points - 240-228 -- over his closest pursuer in the race for the crown, Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks).

To make matters worse for Dalziel, he became involved in a three-car crash in Turn 8 on his very first lap in qualifying and his car suffered so much damage to the front nose and right suspension that he was unable to continue in qualifying. After leading the morning practice session convincingly, Dalziel became entangled with the cars of Ronnie Bremer (#4 Healthcare Privileges.com/PaySystems) and Chris Festa (#25 SpacePak/CareCentric) about 15 minutes into the qualifying session. None of the drivers were injured in the incident

"We waited before going out and then on my first lap an incident happened right in front of me," said the 22-year-old Scot. "I thought the track was clear but I had nowhere to go. There was too much damage to continue. We're disappointed, but we know the car is good, so we'll come back tomorrow and try again."

Dalziel's teammate, Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye), carried on the Sierra Sierra Enterprises flag with his frustrated partner on the sidelines. Ranger carded a top lap of 1:08.859 (86.629 mph) for the second-fastest time of provisional qualifying.

Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company) of Rahal-Letterman Racing got her weekend off to a good start with the third-fastest lap of the session at 1:09.035 (86.408 mph).

After sitting atop the scoring charts early in qualifying, Alex Figge (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) wound up fourth-quick in the session with a lap of 1:09.088 (86.342 mph).

Bremer posted only five timed-laps in the session, due to the incident with Dalziel, but he finished fifth in the qualifying order at 1:09.498 (85.833 mph). Bryan Sellers (#19 Lynx Racing) was sixth in the rundown at 1:09.535 (85.787 mph), while Festa was scored in seventh overall with a top time of 1:09.609 (85.696 mph).

In eighth position on Friday was Eric Jensen (#2 Penn Capital/Konica Minolta) with a time of 1:10.559 (84.452 mph) while rookie Josh Hunt (#15 Wright/Patton/Shakespeare/Atkinson Gore Group) was ninth at 1:10.862 (84.181 mph). Cam Binder (#65 Avmax/Western Avionics), competing in the C2 class, was 10th at 1:15.011 (79.524 mph).

Saturday's action will see the Atlantic machines hit the streets of Denver for a 20-minute practice session at 11:30 a.m. MT. Following a short break, the final-round of qualifying will begin at 12 p.m. Follow all of the action of the top open-wheel development series in North America at www.toyotaatlantic.com.

Quotes from the top three qualifiers from Friday follow:

JON FOGARTY (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment): "Neither (teammate) Alex (Figge) or I were very happy with our cars this morning, but we made some pretty significant changes for this afternoon's qualifying. I felt pretty confident about these changes -- I was pleased. I was sitting in the pits, just like the Sierra Sierra guys, waiting to go out and I saw that my teammate was fast so I was pretty confident going out there. I have lots of experience on this track and I enjoy it. It's definitely a challenge. I know we'll have even more in the car tomorrow, so it should be good."

ANDREW RANGER (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye): "I know this track. I raced here last year finished second (in the Fran-Am series). I waited until halfway through the session before going out on track, and my first few laps were pretty good. But after Jon (Fogarty) passed me, I was getting too much push. It was loose. Every time I tried to come in Turn 9, I had problems. I was trying to come in too fast and was losing some time there. But after that, the car was better. I feel bad for (teammate) Ryan (Dalziel) because he was so quick this morning. I like street circuits. They're fun to drive. I know this track and I know I can do better tomorrow."

DANICA PATRICK (#24 Argent Mortgage Company): "This is the kind of start we enjoyed earlier in the season and it takes a little bit of the pressure off when you get off to a quick start. It is a slippery track and the key here is that if you are smooth you will be fairly quick. I wouldn't say the Argent car is great, but then again it is hard to be totally pleased with your set-up on Friday. The bottom line we have to keep in mind is the track will be faster tomorrow and the only thing that really counted today is the provisional pole that Jon [Fogarty] won. We are third, but by looking at the timing sheet you can see that we have a lot further to go to catch Jon who was really fast today."

-ccws-

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About this article
Series Atlantic
Drivers Ryan Dalziel , Jon Fogarty , Alex Figge , Eric Jensen , Ronnie Bremer , Bryan Sellers , Andrew Ranger , Chris Festa , Josh Hunt , Danica Patrick