Valiante fast, Fogarty keeps Elkhart Lake pole

Michael Valiante was fastest in today's second qualifying session for the Toyota Atlantic Championship series race at Road America. Valiante was the only driver today to travel the four miles of the picturesque Wisconsin road circuit in less than...

Michael Valiante was fastest in today's second qualifying session for the Toyota Atlantic Championship series race at Road America. Valiante was the only driver today to travel the four miles of the picturesque Wisconsin road circuit in less than 2:02 seconds, recording his lap of 2:01.892 seconds (120.095 mph) on his final lap of the session. The Team Lynx driver will start outside of pole sitter Jon Fogarty, who set his time in the faster qualifying session on Friday. Valiante said that he set the fast lap thanks to following Fogarty around to use the draft from his car.

Fogarty, who set a new Road America track record for the Toyota Atlantic cars in yesterday's session, was sixth fastest today, beaten by Valiante, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Luiz Diaz, Grant Ryley, and Alex Gurney. Fogarty said that he was happy to have the pole, but he also said: "I am unhappy with myself for giving Michael a tow."

The last lap flyer by Valiante was also disappointing for championship contending rookie driver Ryan Hunter-Reay, who held the session's fastest time up to that point. Instead of the outside pole spot, the Hylton Motorsports driver will start from eighth position.

Since most of the times from today's session were slower than those recorded in session number 1, Fogarty's Dorricott Racing teammates Diaz and Gurney will make up row two on the basis of yesterday's times. On row three will be Squadra Fortia's Waldemar Coronas and Sigma Autosport's driver Rocky Moran Jr.

Sharing row four with Hunter-Reay is Ryley in the second Lynx car, and the top ten is completed by Joey Hand of DSTP Motorsports and the Michael Shank Racing Swift driven by Ryan Dalziel.

Since Valiante and Fogarty are one and two in the Atlantic championship race, the single point that each earned for winning a qualifying session manitains their points spacing. Valiante is still leading Fogarty by 19 points. Hunter-Reay trails in third, 22 points behind Valiante. The points for the win tomorrow will be crucial to each driver's championship hopes, as only two more races remain in the chase for the 2002 title following tomorrow's race.

The Toyota Atlantic race will get the green flag tomorrow at 11:15 am (CDT) for a one-hour prelude to the Motorola 220 CART Champ Car race.

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Series Atlantic
Drivers Alex Gurney , Ryan Dalziel , Jon Fogarty , Michael Valiante , Grant Ryley , Joey Hand , Rocky Moran Jr. , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Waldemar Coronas