Allmendinger takes pole again. (LIME ROCK, Conn.) May 25, 2002 - A.J. Allmendinger put an exclamation mark on his Friday provisional pole by returning to Lime Rock Park and going even faster in Saturday's qualifying session, outpacing the rest...
Allmendinger takes pole again.
(LIME ROCK, Conn.) May 25, 2002 - A.J. Allmendinger put an exclamation mark on his Friday provisional pole by returning to Lime Rock Park and going even faster in Saturday's qualifying session, outpacing the rest of the field and securing the pole position for the Barber Dodge Pro Series race on Monday. Allmendinger will be joined in the front row by Philadelphia's Marc Breuers in his Sunoco Special Reynard with Rafael Sperafico and Tallahassee, Florida's Davy Cook comprising the second row of the starting grid. Nilton Rossoni and Julio Campos, both from Curitiba, Brazil, will start Monday's race from the third row while Leo Maia of Oakland, California and Memo Rojas from Mexico City, Mexico are slated to take the green flag from the fourth row for the main event on Monday.
The second round of qualifying for Monday's race once again demonstrated the ultra-competitive nature of the Barber Dodge Pro Series, as the first 13 drivers in the starting grid were separated by less than one second on the 1.54-mile track. The race will no doubt be very competitive, as the twisty track offers few opportunities to pass, and everyone will be looking for a way past Allmendinger.
The conditions on Saturday, sunny with the temperatures in the low 70's, made the track as fast as the Barber Dodge drivers have found it all weekend. The sunny conditions increased the level of grip the Michelin tires had to offer, and the cool air helped the Dodge engines produce maximum horsepower.
Allmendinger, from Hollister, CA was happy after taking the provisional pole position in Friday's qualifying, since he said it would give him the chance to really let it all hang out in Saturday's qualifying safe in the knowledge that he was already assured a front row starting spot. He did exactly that, setting the mark midway through the session before pitting to make some changes on the car, only to experience a gearbox malady, leaving him to watch the final minutes of qualifying tick away as the rest of the field tried to improve on Allmendinger's time.
"I lost fifth gear in my car after I came in midway through the session, so I wasn't able to get my time any lower but fortunately I had already set a time that was fast enough to hold up," said Allmendinger, driver of the No. 29 Dodge Reynard. "I had never had any kind of mechanical problem in the Barber Dodge car before, so I really didn't realize what was going on right away. I hated sitting and waiting for someone to beat my time. That was a really long three minutes."
The time secures him the number one starting position for Monday's race, and gives him a second championship point for the weekend to go with the point he earned with his first qualifying effort on Friday, extending his points lead over Davy Cook to eight early in the season.
Lime Rock Park is Marc Breuers' home track, and his times all weekend have reflected his intimate knowledge of the fast way around the 1.54 mile track. Breuers set the pace early in the session only to have Allmendinger take a scant .095 of a second off of Breures' time for the top spot. Breures was hoping to make a final run for the pole, but his final flying lap was spoiled when a another car spun in the chicane, leaving Breures to settle for the second starting position for Monday's race.
"My car was fast again, like we have been all weekend, but I just got unlucky with the traffic. I thought I had found some space on the track as the session was ending, but someone spun in front of me in the chicane, so I had to give that lap up. It was a bit disappointing, but I am still really excited to be on the front row for this race since it is so very difficult to pass here," said Breuers.
Rafael Sperafico of Toledo Parana, Brazil also set his mark early, settling into third position behind Breures and Allmendinger by the midway point of the session. He hoped to improve on his early speed and made some changes to his car in that effort, but soon found the car slower than it had been before, scuttling hopes for improvement.
"The car was good in the beginning of the session when I set my best lap, but I came in to make some changes to try and get a little more speed out of it and ended up going the wrong way on the set up," commented Sperafico who drives the Barber-CART Rookie of the Year Dodge Reynard. "I had been a little worried this morning about my tires, since I thought I had flat-spotted them, but fortunately, there was no problem with them and I was able to get some good laps in. I know its going to be tough to pass people during the race, so its good to be starting so far forward."
The field is now set for the Barber Dodge Pro Series race on Monday. Previous winners of this race include Kenny Brack, Bryan Herta, and Townsend Bell, each of whom have gone on to success in the top levels of open wheel competition. Everyone taking the green flag in Monday's race will be looking to add their name to the list of stars who first started proving themselves at Lime Rock on their way up the CART Ladder. Monday's race will begin at 11:00am EST and full results will be posted on www.barberdodge.com