Gonzalez takes Milwaukee pole. WEST ALLIS, WI (May 30, 2003)-Victor Gonzalez of Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, took the pole for Saturday's Barber Dodge Pro Series Race at the Milwaukee Mile with a lap of 29.706 seconds for an average speed of 125.066...
Gonzalez takes Milwaukee pole.
WEST ALLIS, WI (May 30, 2003)-Victor Gonzalez of Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, took the pole for Saturday's Barber Dodge Pro Series Race at the Milwaukee Mile with a lap of 29.706 seconds for an average speed of 125.066 mph on the 1.032-mile oval. Series championship points leader Leonardo Maia of Oakland, California, came up just .005 seconds short in his bid for the pole position, and will start alongside Gonzalez for tomorrows 60-lap race in the second position. Series returnee David Wieringa of Chicago, Illinois, secured the third position with a time of 29.748 seconds.
The only oval race of the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series season utilized the Champ Car qualifying format, which gave each driver the opportunity to qualify alone on the track, with the qualifying order determined by inverting the order of the fastest speeds of the weekend, with the fastest drivers going last. The format created some drama as Wieringa qualified early in the session, and held on to the pole until the late in the session. The entire field qualified within a second of the pole, underscoring the extremely competitive nature of the Series.
Chris Baker scored his career-best qualifying result with a fourth place run in his RABCO car to start next to Wieringa in the second row. Antoine Bessette of St. Bruno, Quebec, carded the fifth-best time and will start alongside Burt Frisselle in the third row, with Chris Green and Memo Rojas making up the fourth row. Canada's Dan Di Leo and France's Nelson Phillippe will take the green flag from the fifth row for tomorrows race.
Gonzalez scored a championship point for the pole, and is looking forward to going racing on Saturday with a car that he feels is very competitive.
"I knew from the start of the weekend that I had a good car, and it showed here in qualifying," said Gonzalez. "I am really happy to be starting the race from the pole tomorrow, especially with how competitive this field is. This is a different track from the last time I ran on an oval, in the Barber Dodge Pro Series race in Nazareth, so the experience is a little bit different, but I am looking forward to tomorrow."
Leo Maia was disappointed to lose out on a potential pole position after losing time on his second flying lap.
"My first lap was good, and then I pushed a little harder on my second lap, and got a little sideways in turn one, but was trying to make up for it in three, and just didn't get back to power as soon as I should have," said Maia. "Its such a small difference, just .005 of a second, but it was enough that I didn't get a championship point today. We will just concentrate on the race start tomorrow."
David Wieringa, who returns to the Milwaukee Mile to race in the Pro Series for the first time since October 2001, after running in the Toyota Atlantic Championship in 2002, got back up to speed quickly this weekend to take third spot on the grid.
"I had a slide on my second lap, and that cost me the pole, but I'm happy to have come up to speed so quickly this weekend," said Wieringa. "It takes a little bit to get used to this car after driving the Atlantic car but Oswaldo Negri, the Barber Dodge test driver, has helped me out a lot getting used to the car again. I think traffic will play a big role in what happens tomorrow, as well as how guys take care of their tires for the end of the race. If we have yellows, and restarts will play a role. I am glad I qualified up here, since it would be a lot of work to get up here in the race tomorrow."
The third round of the 2003 Barber Dodge Pro Series championship will get underway at 2:45 pm EST on Saturday. Full results and story to be posted on www.barberdodge.com .
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.