Cleveland: Friday qualifying report

Breuers takes Cleveland Provisional Pole. (Cleveland, OH) July 12-Marc Breuers came one point closer to season championship points leader A.J. Allmendinger by taking the provisional pole in Friday's first qualifying session at Burke Lakefront...

Breuers takes Cleveland Provisional Pole.

(Cleveland, OH) July 12-Marc Breuers came one point closer to season championship points leader A.J. Allmendinger by taking the provisional pole in Friday's first qualifying session at Burke Lakefront Airport for Saturday's Barber Dodge Pro Series race. The provisional pole is the second for Breuers this season and guarantees him a front row starting position for Saturday's race irrespective of what happens in Saturday's final qualifying session.The half-hour qualifying session was run under clear skies with green flag conditions for the majority of the time, with a late-session red flag setting up a late-session dash for the pole spot.

Memo Rojas, Davy Cook and Christian Szymczak rounded out the top five with Julio Campos, Rafael Sperafico, Leo Maia, Piero Rodarte, and Josh Beaulieu making up the top ten qualifiers in the first session at the 2.106-mile temporary airport track.

Breuers, who drives the Sunoco Race Fuels machine, earned his first-ever Barber Dodge Pro Series front row start last year at the Cleveland event, and clearly enjoys driving on the wide-open spaces of the Burke Lakefront Airport as he has again locked himself into starting from the front on Saturday.

"This is a big momentum track that requires lots of rhythm to be fast," said Breuers. "After the red flag, I came back on-track right behind A.J., and I think that provided some motivation for me to set some fast laps. With the concrete surface, the track shouldn't be too different tomorrow, so I am hoping to get to the top again and get another point on A.J. and make the start of the race from the inside pole."

Allmendinger, who has won four of the five races so far this season, came up just short in his effort to wrest the pole position from Breuers. The Hollister, California native is confident he can improve his time and take the pole in Saturday's second qualifying session.

"I am still trying to learn the track, so I expect to be faster tomorrow," said Allmendinger. "I have some changes I want to make on the car, and getting some more laps in should help me find some more speed. Between me and the car, it's going to get better and better, and hopefully we are going to be in a good position for when it matters in the race."

Memo Rojas of Mexico City, Mexico, who secured a podium finish last week in Toronto, continued his consistent run of strong performances with another third place qualifying run today. Rojas had to set his time in a stricken car, as contact early in the session left his suspension askew, although it was still strong enough to record some fast qualifying laps.

"I had contact earlier in the session and that knocked my front suspension out of line and made it so I had to hold my steering wheel crooked just to go straight," said the Telmex-backed driver. "It didn't hurt the car that much, and I set my fastest lap of the session with it like that. I know my mechanic will fix it for tomorrow so I can set a faster time."

Breuers set the pace early in the session with a 1:15.554 sec lap, which he then continued to improve on lap after lap to bring the time down to 1:15.015 sec, which stood as the fastest lap until Allmendinger broke into the :14's with a 1:14.943 to take P1 from Breuers with just over 10 minutes remaining in the session. Soon after, German Quiroga brought out the session's only red flag when he spun into the tires in the turn seven-eight complex on the back side of the track just as Danica Patrick had improved to seventh spot. The CART Simple Green safety team quickly got Quiroga back on track and the session went back to green with less than eight minutes remaining.

Allmendinger held the top spot with a lap of 1:14.720 as the field reentered the track to try and make a last dash and secure a good starting position. Breuers reclaimed the top spot with a 1:14.623 and sealed the deal with a 1:14.616, showing both speed and consistency in the dying moments of the session.

Final qualifying will take place on Saturday at 11:30 A.M. with the 40-minute race beginning at 3:40 p.m. Full results and story to be posted at www.barberdodge.com.

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Series Barber Pro
Drivers Josh Beaulieu , Christian Szymczak , Davy Cook , Julio Campos , Memo Rojas , A.J. Allmendinger , Marc Breuers , Piero Rodarte , Rafael Sperafico , Danica Patrick