Mid-Ohio: Friday qualifying notes

Maia takes Mid-Ohio Provisional Pole LEXINGTON,OH (August 8, 2003)-The Leo Maia train kept on rolling in Mid-Ohio today as 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series champion scored the provisional pole position with a lap time of 1.25.157 seconds on the ...

Maia takes Mid-Ohio Provisional Pole

LEXINGTON,OH (August 8, 2003)-The Leo Maia train kept on rolling in Mid-Ohio today as 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series champion scored the provisional pole position with a lap time of 1.25.157 seconds on the 2.258-mile road course in Lexington, Ohio. Maia was followed closely by Dan Di Leo of Markham, Ontario with a lap time just .062 seconds behind but quick enough for second position on the provisional grid. Burt Frisselle of Kihei, Hawaii, took third on the grid ahead of Mexico's Memo Rojas.

David Martinez and Colin Fleming qualified fifth and sixth respectively, with German Quiroga and Scott Poirier taking spots on the provisional fourth row. Nelson Philippe of Valence, France scored his first podium finish at the last round in Vancouver and qualified ninth, with Chris Baker continuing to come back up to speed as he recovers from a hand injury as he took tenth spot on the grid.

The half-hour qualifying session ran under green conditions as five different drivers sat atop the pole before Colin Fleming brought out the red flag with six minutes to go. The track was cleared quickly, but none of the drivers who returned to the track were able to improve on their times with the limited laps available.

Maia has started from the pole six times thus far in his championship season, but has only scored the provisional pole twice before today, at the Portland and Cleveland rounds, where he went on to score the maximum twenty-three points during the weekend. Maia, who is guaranteed a front row starting position with his effort today, is hoping to repeat the feat again in Mid-Ohio.

"I certainly am expecting a perfect weekend for myself, that's my mindset for every weekend," said Maia. "I have to say that while I am really happy, of course, to take the pole, I am kind of surprised since my car really isn't where I want it to be. The Champ Cars left a lot of rubber down on the track, and it changed the handling on my car a lot more than I thought it would but tomorrow we can make some changes and try and keep the pole for the race."

Dan Di Leo was glad to take the second spot on the grid despite not being that familiar with his race car after hopping into a back up car before the session.

"I was fortunate to put my fastest lap right before the red flag came out, and it was a pretty good lap, but we came up just short to Leo," said Di Leo. "I was in a back up car for the session so while I'm not happy about missing out on the pole, I am at least glad we were able to get up to speed right away. Tomorrow should be a faster session, so we have some work to do tonight and we will look to improve for the pole."

Barber-Champ Car Scholarship racer Burt Frisselle is locked in a tie with Colin Fleming in the Rookie of the Year points battle, with Scott Poirier just five points behind, and is happy to be starting the weekend with a good spot on the grid, although he knows its still the provisional grid yet.

"Qualifying has been a bit of a struggle for us all year long, so to be starting the weekend out like this really puts me in a good position when looking at the race," said Frisselle. "We sat down coming into the weekend with my coach Jon Moreley and my dad, and we really concentrated on what was going to work best for us in qualifying since that has been such a week spot for us. Anything can happen at the start of our race, so its best to be as far up in the pack to try and avoid that, so hopefully we'll be able to improve tomorrow and stay at the front and then have a good race from there."

The Barber Dodge Pro Series is the Official Entry Level Professional Series of Champ Car. 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.

Skip Barber Racing School is the world's leading provider of automotive education and entertainment. With five base locations in Connecticut, Florida, California, and Wisconsin, Skip Barber operates at over twenty tracks nationwide. The Dodge Division of DaimlerChrysler, Michelin North America, and Quaker State are key strategic partners for the company. NASCAR Winston Cup Champion Jeff Gordon, Indianapolis 500 Champion and Champ Car Champion Juan Montoya, and legend Michael Andretti are but three graduates to have emerged from Skip Barber Racing's nearly thirty years of training and expertise.

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Series Barber Pro
Drivers Jeff Gordon , Michael Andretti , German Quiroga , Memo Rojas , Chris Baker , Burt Frisselle , Scott Poirier , Colin Fleming , Skip Barber , David Martinez , Nelson Philippe