Jon Fogarty continued his run in Denver today as he sealed the pole position for round 11 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship. The Pacific Coast Motorsports' driver earned both bonus points for being the fastest racer in both Friday's and...
Jon Fogarty continued his run in Denver today as he sealed the pole position for round 11 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship. The Pacific Coast Motorsports' driver earned both bonus points for being the fastest racer in both Friday's and Saturday's qualifying sessions.
"We just focused on making our car quick where it is most valuable; it's a compromising setup," explained Fogarty as he discussed the issue of non-grip on the track prior to qualifying.
Fogarty ran as fast has he could to stay on top of the standings as Ryan Dalziel continued to gain on the current points leader; the two are separated by just six points.
"This is an awesome situation for Pacific Cost Motorsports," continued Fogarty on the pole position. "We're fighters and everybody's fighting for the championship. I'm just really proud of the team. This championship means everything; it means no more or no less than 2002 (the year Fogarty clinched the title). When I had the option to come back and run again, I didn't hesitate.
"(The Atlantic series) is a prestigious championship, with excellent drivers, and it's a good car to driver. The goal is to win the championship."
The former Atlantic champion got a bit of help on Friday when Dalziel was involved in a three-car accident at Turn 8, which caused massive damage to his ProWorks Sierra Sierra Racing machine and left him watching qualifying from pit lane.
Today, Dalziel gave it his best shot as he attempted to earn his sixth career pole; his fastest time was 0.382-seconds adrift of Fogarty's top time pole earning time.
"I'm looking for a good race tomorrow morning," commented the Scotsman. "Obviously we lost out with yesterday's incident and we didn't get the running we'd hoped for in this morning's session. Third's not too bad and as long as I stick with Jon in the race I'll be keeping him on his toes and keeping our title ambitions going!"
Fogarty's best combined qualifying time was 1:07.576 for a speed of 88.274 miles per hour around the 1.657-mile temporary street circuit in Denver; nearly a full second faster than yesterday.
Fogarty's teammate, Alex Figge joins him on the front row with his best time at 1:07.946; a mere 0.012-seconds ahead of Dalziel. Bryan Sellers place his Lynx Racing machine fourth fastest just 0.116-seconds behind Dalziel.
"Jon(Fogarty) and I have a good relationship and we talked a lot last night and we had the cars where we wanted them, it helped a lot," Figge commented. "It was pretty comfortable for me in qualifying. 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."
The Atlantic top-eight qualifiers are within one-second of Fogarty; which will no doubt lead to a tight competition on the Denver streets.
Rookie Andrew Ranger was second fastest yesterday but could not find the needed faster time in his Sierra Sierra Atlantic car and will start Sunday's race back in seventh. Third fastest Friday, Danica Patrick fared a bit better than Ranger; the Rahal Letterman racer ended up sixth on the grid. Patrick held onto her third place in the current points, 24 behind Dalziel.
The top rookie on the grid was Ronnie Bremer; the Polestar Racing driver slotted fifth on the grid.
Sunday's race will start at 10:30 a.m. (MDT). With two races left on the schedule after the Denver race, expect to see a real battle as the run for the championship tightens up.
Good news was handed to the Sierra Sierra Racing team and driver Ryan Dalziel. A penalty assessed due to a questionable shock absorber component that did not comply to series specifications during tech inspection following the Road America race was overturned today at the Denver event.
The team filed a protest which was heard today by the Champ Car World Series judges in Denver, Colorado.
According to the release by CCWS, while the judges agreed that the shock part in question was outside of the manufacturer's specifications, mitigating circumstances -- including the history of the part and the availability of specific dimensions -- led them to the conclusion that Sierra Sierra had no way of knowing for certain that the part was not in compliance.
The fine to the team has been withdrawn and the five championship points were returned to Dalziel. The gap between Fogarty and Dalziel is exactly eight points.
"An independent three-judge panel formed by the Champ Car World Series cleared myself and Sierra Sierra of any wrong doing," commented Dalziel. "We are delighted with the result and can now continue our chase for the 2004 Toyota Atlantic Championship."