Lexington: Saturday qualifying report

Szymczak takes Mid-Ohio pole. (Lexington, Ohio) August 10-Christian Szymczak took his first-ever Barber Dodge Pro Series pole in final qualifying for Sunday's race with a lap of 1:24.608 seconds on the 2.258-mile permanent road course at the Mid...

Szymczak takes Mid-Ohio pole.

(Lexington, Ohio) August 10-Christian Szymczak took his first-ever Barber Dodge Pro Series pole in final qualifying for Sunday's race with a lap of 1:24.608 seconds on the 2.258-mile permanent road course at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Szymczak was one of only a few drivers to improve on his time from yesterday's qualifying session, and he improved it just in time, as the red flag flew just after Szymczak set the fastest time of the session and for the weekend, ending the session.

Starting alongside Szymczk will be A.J. Allmendinger, who ended the session with a spin in turn 11, leaving him unable to improve on his session time from Friday. Allmendinger earned the front row start with his provisional pole effort on Friday. Julio Campos, who qualified second on Friday, will start from the second row for Sunday's race next to Rafael Sperafico. Marc Breuers, who still has a mathematical chance at the championship, will start the race inside of Leo Maia, who had his best-ever Barber Dodge qualifying session on Friday to land him in the third row.

Markham, Ontario's Dan Di Leo was the only other driver in the top ten besides Szymczak to improve his time over Friday's qualifying as Di Leo moved himself up from the 10th starting position by setting the second fastest time in Saturday's session which placed him seventh on the grid in the combined times. Starting alongside Di Leo will be Davy Cook, who finished on the podium with Di Leo at the Portland race. Josh Rehm makes his first start from the top ten this year as he hopes to extend his streak of finishing in the top ten of every race he has entered this season. Josh Beaulieu of Langley, B.C., will start alongside Rehm in the fifth row.

The pole is Szymczak's first ever in the Barber Dodge Pro Series, and the Oakland, California native is excited about getting a good start in tomorrow's race.

"I was trying to get a feel for the car early in the session and find spots to improve my time. I was able to put all the pieces together for a good lap. The car wasn't great early in the session, and I certainly didn't think that I would end up here on pole, but the car came in at just the right time. Now I need to concentrate on the start and having a consistent race tomorrow. It will be good to start with no one in front of me for a change."

Allmendinger, who is looking to clinch the season points championship this weekend, was atop the sheets for much of the session, but a spin late in the session brought out the red flag after he was unable to get back on track. Allmendinger was not happy with himself after the session, but he is looking forward to getting back into the car for the race on Sunday.

"The car was good, but I pitted to make a change, and the car wasn't as good after that, so I was overdriving it and I made a mistake that caught me out. The car got loose in turn 11, and then I hit the curbing, and it spun me off the track. It doesn't really change anything as far as the championship, I am still going out to win the race tomorrow, but it means my guys have to fix my car in the meantime. They do a great job, so we should be fine tomorrow."

Julio Campos, who won the pole in Portland only to have problems on the first lap, was also unable to improve his time from Friday in his Michelin-liveried machine and will start from the second row.

"I had a problem with my car early in the session, and so I never came back in to make any changes to the car and I wasn't able to get a good lap into improve my time. The start tomorrow should be ok, since the first corner is a pretty fast one that you really only have to go down to third or fourth gear for, so hopefully we wont have any problems with it and go racing from there."

The cooler conditions were expected to create some faster lap times, but for the majority of the field, times did not improve over the times set yesterday, when the track was heated from the sunny day with plenty of rubber down on the track. The half-hour morning session ran in green flag conditions under sunny skies.

The race is scheduled to take place on Sunday at 10:15 A.M. The Barber Dodge Pro Series is the Official Entry Level Professional Series of CART. The drivers utilize identically prepared single seat open wheel Reynard-Dodge racecars. Barber Dodge Pro Series provides a level playing field where driving talent, not financial resources, play the decisive role. This state-of-the-art platform, with its carbon composite construction, raised nose and 6-speed sequential gearbox, takes full advantage of the 265hp all aluminum Dodge V6 Intrepid motor that is exclusive to this series. Additionally, all of the Barber Dodges compete on identical Michelin Pilot racing slicks.

To ensure absolute equality for all competitors, the Barber Dodge Pro Series owns, maintains, prepares and transports all the cars and equipment. This serves to control costs while allowing the drivers to concentrate solely on developing their driving skills. The Barber Dodge Pro Series rewards those with dedication and skill with true financial incentive - an incredible $55,100 in prize money is available for each Barber Dodge Pro Series event with $13,000 going to the race winner. The overall Series Champion receives a $100,000 scholarship towards entry in the Toyota Atlantic Championship, and the series Rookie of the Year receives $185,000 in career enhancement funding. In total, the Barber Dodge Pro Series pays out over $1 million annually in prize money, contingencies and scholarships.

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About this article
Series Barber Pro
Drivers Christian Szymczak , Davy Cook , Julio Campos , A.J. Allmendinger , Rafael Sperafico