Denver: Saturday qualifying notes

Fogarty Completes Denver Atlanic Qualifying Sweep DENVER, Colorado (August 14, 2004) -- Denver continues to be a special place for Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama point leader Jon Fogarty ( ...

Fogarty Completes Denver Atlanic Qualifying Sweep

DENVER, Colorado (August 14, 2004) -- Denver continues to be a special place for Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama point leader Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment).

The Californian continued to light up the streets around the Pepsi Center early this afternoon, capturing the final pole position for tomorrow's Argent Mortgage Toyota Atlantic Championship of Denver Presented by Yokohama (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel, Saturday, August 21 -- 12 p.m. ET) while posting a track record time of 1:07.576 (88.274 mph).

Fogarty earned a point for his fourth pole position of the season, extending his series-leading total to 241 points on the year. Today's performance added to the special feeling that the 29-year-old driver has in the Mile High city. He won the Toyota Atlantic season finale in dramatic fashion here in 2002, which enabled him to come-from-behind in the championship chase and win the series crown.

It was a convincing qualifying performance Saturday for Fogarty's Pacific Coast Motorsports team as Alex Figge (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) posted the second-fastest time of the weekend at 1:07.946 (87.793 mph). It marks the second time this season that the two teammates have qualified together in the top two spots in the rundown. Fogarty was on the pole in Milwaukee earlier this season with Figge starting right next to him.

Qualifying third was the man who's trying to chase down Fogarty in this year's title chase, Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks). The Scottish racer recorded a top lap today of 1:07.958 (87.778 mph) after he was involved in a three-car crash during Friday qualifying that left him without a timed lap. Although he did not pick up any points during qualifying, Dalziel did see his point total increase today. His Sierra Sierra Enterprises team protested the penalty levied against the squad earlier this week when a shock absorber part on the #28 car was discovered to be not in compliance with series specifications. Atlantic officials penalized Dalziel and the team five championship points and $15,000 but Sierra Sierra protested and won the protest today as the points and the money were reinstated. Dalziel now has 233 points on the year as he trails Fogarty by eighth entering Sunday's race.

Bryan Sellers (#19 Lynx Racing) qualified fourth with a top lap of 1:08.074 (87.628 mph) as he turned in his eighth top-five qualifying effort of the year.

Ronnie Bremer (#4 Healthcare Privileges.com/PaySystems) was the top qualifying rookie in the field as he carded a lap of 1:08.099 (87.596 mph) in fifth position.

For the third consecutive race, Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company) will start sixth tomorrow as she owned a time of 1:08.102 (87.592 mph).

Canadian freshman Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) owned the second-fastest time in Friday qualifying, but he managed only the seventh-fastest lap today at 1:08.194 (87.474 mph). Aaron Justus (#10 Port-A-Cool/200 + Marketing and Management) posted a fast lap of 1:08.466 (87.126 mph) in eighth position as he prepares the Brooks Associates Racing car for Al Unser, who will start from the back of the field in the machine tomorrow.

Rookie Chris Festa (#25 SpacePak/CareCentric) had a time of 1:08.692 (86.840 mph) for his eighth top-10 qualifying performance of the year, while Eric Jensen (#2 Penn Capital/Konica Minolta) was 10th at 1:10.033 (85.177 mph).

With a top lap of 1:10.599 (84.494 mph), Josh Hunt (#15 Wright/Patton/Shakespeare/Atkinson Gore Group) qualified in 11th position while Cam Binder (#65 Avmax/Western Avionics) was 12th after turning a lap of 1:14.548 (80.018 mph) in the lone C2 class entry of the weekend.

Round 10 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama will take the green flag at 10:30 a.m. MT on Sunday. Prior to that, the Atlantic cars will run a 15-minute warm-up at 8 a.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 Saturday follow:

JON FOGARTY (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment): "The track in the first session (practice) was unbelievably green. There was no grip at all. You can still walk around and see no rubber in some areas of the track, so it's a compromising set-up. We just focused on making our car quick where it's most valuable. This is an awesome situation for Pacific Coast Motorsports. We're fighters and everybody's fighting for the championship. Alex (Figge) is doing an awesome job and having both cars up front is a great help. We'll be able to discuss not only the start of the race, but what we found on the track today. I'm just really proud of the (team). This championship means everything. It means no more or no less than 2002. When I had the option to come back and run in this championship again, I didn't hesitate. This is a prestigious championship, with excellent drivers, and it's a good car to drive. It's been a lot of work. The goal is to win the championship, and it's as important as it's ever been."

ALEX FIGGE (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment): "We tried many different things yesterday. Jon (Fogarty) and I have a good relationship and we talked a lot last night and we put the car where we and it helped a lot. It was pretty comfortable for me in qualifying. There was a little traffic but nothing out of the ordinary. I actually thought I had a quicker lap at one point but I screwed that up on my own. I went to college here (in Colorado) and I have a lot of friends here, so it's nice to be racing here."

RYAN DALZIEL (#28 ProWorks): "It was a tough session. We didn't get much track time yesterday, so we were pretty blind on what we needed to do. But considering everything that's happened, we were still pretty lucky and did a very good job. I'm pretty confident that we're going in the right direction with the car, even though we still have lots of work to do. (On the penalty levied against the team earlier in the week and the subsequent protest from his team that was upheld) It's been a strange week with everything that's been going on. We won in the end. But no matter what the outcome was going to be, we were going to build and keep plugging, go out there and show that we are a top team. It's unfortunate that we focused too much on the outcome of the penalty and not enough on what we needed to do here this weekend."

-ccws-

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