Fogarty Pads Series Lead While Pacing Vancouver Friday Qualifying VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada (July 23, 2004) -- In all four of his victories this season in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama, series points leader Jon...
Fogarty Pads Series Lead While Pacing Vancouver Friday Qualifying
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada (July 23, 2004) -- In all four of his victories this season in the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama, series points leader Jon Fogarty (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) knew he would have a good weekend from the moment his car hit the race track.
The former series champion appears to have that old familiar feeling after two sessions on the 1.781-mile temporary street circuit at Vancouver's Concord Pacific Place. Fogarty led the morning practice session on Friday and flirted with the Toyota Atlantic track record before grabbing the provisional pole position in the first qualifying this afternoon. The California native boosted his season point total by earning a championship point for leading qualifying and he also locked up a front-row starting spot for Sunday's 38-lap event - Round 8 of the Toyota Atlantic Championship Presented by Yokohama (tape-delayed on SPEED Channel, Saturday, August 7 -- 12 p.m. ET).
Fogarty recorded his top time of the day on his 14th lap in qualifying with a mark of 1:09.884 (91.746 mph). The effort is just off the Vancouver Atlantic track record of 1:09.759, established by former series champion Hoover Orsi the last time the series raced at the venue in 2001. Fogarty now has compiled 185 points on the season and he leads Ryan Dalziel (#28 ProWorks) of Sierra Sierra Enterprises, who sits second in the championship, by 20 points after today's result.
Dalziel also had a good day on Friday, bouncing back from one of his poorest results of the season two weeks ago in Toronto. The 22-year-old Scottish racer had the second-fastest time in both the morning practice and in qualifying, finishing with a top lap of 1:10.273 (91.238 mph).
With Danica Patrick (#24 Argent Mortgage Company) posting the third-fastest lap of the day, the top three drivers in the championship finished in the same order in Friday's qualifying. Patrick, who now trails Fogarty by 23 points in the standings, carded a top time of 1:10.477 (90.974 mph).
It was a tough afternoon for Canadian favorite Andrew Ranger (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye). The Quebec rookie sensation, who leads the BG Products Rookie of the Year standings and is fourth in the championship, crashed early in the qualifying session and was not able to post a time as his car was damaged beyond repair. Ranger suffered a minor neck injury in the accident that occurred in Turn 12 but he should be able to compete for the remainder of the weekend. The incident was particularly frustrating for the 17-year-old because he owned the third-fastest time in morning practice and is coming off his best result of the season - a second-place finish in Toronto.
The driver who trails Ranger in the rookie standings, Denmark's Ronnie Bremer (#4 PaySystems) of Polestar Racing Group, was fourth in qualifying with a time of 1:10.775 (90.591 mph) while American Bryan Sellers (#19 Lynx Racing) was fifth in the provisional session at 1:10.807 (90.550 mph).
Sitting seventh on the scoring charts was Fogarty's teammate, Alex Figge (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment), with a time of 1:11.564 (89.593 mph). Rookies Josh Hunt (#15 Wright/Patton/Shakespeare/Atkinson Gore Group) and Chris Festa (#25 SpacePak/CareCentric) were seventh and eighth in the rundown, respectively. Hunt was clocked at 1:11.923 (89.145 mph) while Festa owned a top lap of 1:11.981 (89.074 mph).
Montreal's Philip Fayer (#3 PaySystems) qualified ninth at 1:11.986 (89.067 mph) and Victoria, B.C. native Dr. Chris Souliotis (#2 Trident/Speedway/Spinnakers) rounded out the top 10 in his first day running in the Toyota Atlantic series, posting a time of 1:16.478 (134.920 mph). In the lone C2 entry of the weekend, Cam Binder (#65 Avmax/Western Avionics) of Calgary recorded a fast lap of 1:16.569 (83.736 mph).
On Saturday, the Atlantic machines return to the track for a 30-minute practice session, beginning at 9:15 a.m. PT. The final round of qualifying will take the green flag at 3 p.m. PT. Sunday's Molson Indy Vancouver Atlantic race will begin at 10:30 a.m. PT. 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, as well as top series rookie Andrew Ranger, follow:
JON FOGARTY (#96 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment) earned the provisional pole at 1:09.884 (91.746 mph), just short of Hoover Orsi's track record of 1:09.759 (91.911 mph) set in 2001. Fogarty earned one championship point and a guaranteed front-row start for Sunday's race. He has three poles this season and seven in his Toyota Atlantic career. "I was pushing really hard all session. The car is really good (and was fast out of the truck). We found some surprising things after the morning (practice) session. The Champ Cars are putting down rubber and CASCAR is adding rubber. It's a matter of adjusting to that. This morning, it was essentially a mistake (we found) that ended up working. Our average speed of over 90 miles an hour is pretty quick for a street course. That tells me we have good corner speed. (The car) is good; we'll try to make it better though. The track is pretty similar (to what he ran in Barber Dodge). I expect everybody to move forward as they did in Toronto. You don't want to get lax about it. Being up front is crucial; as long as you can hold it through the first corner, you'll be OK."
RYAN DALZIEL (#28 ProWorks) "We're pretty confident coming back to a regular street course. You have to put the bad weekends (like Toronto) behind you. This is a new track for the team and a new track for me. We'll be OK. I was expecting a Miami- or a Three Rivers-type of track. Instead, it's a Long Beach type. It's a technical track. Mistakes can cost you three or four tenths (of a second). There's 31 points for winning and he's (Fogarty) 20 points ahead. It just takes one bad weekend. Between the two of us (him and Fogarty), we've had some crap luck. We just have to stay with it. He doesn't make many mistakes, so we have to keep finishing ahead of him. I spent most of today trying to learn the track. I'm going into tomorrow with a sense of what I want in the car."
DANICA PATRICK (#24 Argent Mortgage Company) "I think (the car) is pretty good. It's a matter of the track changing and keeping up with that. As the grip comes up, you have to adjust. It has some tricky corners; there are some curbs you can use. It's a lot of fun. You have to be calm and have your head on straight before you turn the first wheel. I go into every weekend thinking that (earning the pole). We're a little ahead of last weekend. As soon as we make some adjustments, we'll be OK. There's always a little bit of room for improvement. We only made one change today. It's more me learning the track."
ANDREW RANGER (#27 Tide/Charmin/Mr. Clean/Snugabye) crashed on the second lap of the qualifying session in turn 12 after entering the turn side-by-side with ALEX FIGGE (#69 Pacific Coast Motorsports/Umbrella Entertainment). He was seen at the Champ Car medical center and released to drive. "I thought that Figge had a problem and that he was going into the pits. He slowed down so much that I thought I could pass him, but when I got next to him, he turned back again and I just went into the tires. I've never had a big crash like that in an Atlantic car. It was a big hit. My neck is pretty sore, but I think it will be OK. It's just Friday and I think we'll be OK tomorrow and it will be a better day."