Monterey: Saturday qualifying report

Barber Dodge Pro Series Qualifying for the 3rd Round of the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series Sperafico secures pole. (Monterey, Calif) June 8--2001 Barber Dodge Rookie of the Year Rafael Sperafico improved his time in Saturday's final qualifying...

Barber Dodge Pro Series
Qualifying for the 3rd Round of the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series

Sperafico secures pole.

(Monterey, Calif) June 8--2001 Barber Dodge Rookie of the Year Rafael Sperafico improved his time in Saturday's final qualifying session to hold on to the provisional pole he earned on Friday with a lap of 1:26.971 sec. at the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca Raceway. The pole gives Sperafico a second championship point for the weekend thus far to go along with the point he earned in Friday's qualifying session.

Sperafico shot to the top of the charts early in the session, and managed to get his pole-winning time in the books with 15 minutes still remaining in the session.

"I was glad to have run that fast lap early in the session, since we lost track time with the red flag," said Sperafico. "By the time I got back on track, I really had used a lot of my tires so I couldn't find any more speed. I am happy to be starting from the pole and hopefully I can turn this into my first win." Sperafico finished third in the Barber Dodge Pro Series race in 2001 after falling all the way back to ninth early in the race and is looking to do even better this time.

A late session red flag forced Hollister, California's A.J. Allmendinger into making a last-lap attempt at the pole, but he came up just .016 sec. short.

"I was fortunate to get a good clean lap at the end to get back into second place," said season points leader Allmendinger. "I obviously would have liked to have won the pole, but its good to be starting from the front row in tomorrow's race. Hopefully we can all get through turn one clean and go racing."

2001 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Champion Julio Campos qualified his Michelin-liveried Reynard Dodge third, his best starting position in the Barber Dodge Pro Series.

"I am happy to be starting so near the front," said the Barber Dodge Pro Series rookie, "since it means I only have two guys I need to pass for the win."

Mexico's Memo Rojas will line up next to Campos in his Telmex-backed machine for Sunday's race with Christian Szymczak and Davy Cook making up the fifth and sixth starting positions. Szymzak had bolted to the top of the charts early in the session, confirming his speed from the weekend's first practice session, but was unable to keep pace with the tumbling times during the second qualifying session. Davy Cook was the only other driver besides Allmendinger to make the most of the end of the session, pushing his Motorsport.com car into the top six on his last flying lap.

Leo Maia and Lime Rock Park podium finisher Marc Breuers will make up the forth row, with Tom Fogarty and Dan Di Leo starting from the ninth and tenth spots. Series returnee Rhonda Trammel, driving the Marble Slab Creamery car, will start 11th in Sundays race.

Cook headed the session early with a lap of 1:30.010, but the times fell quickly as the Barber Dodge cars were getting more grip out of his Michelins thanks in part to the warm track temperatures. Sperafico had moved the mark to 1:27.417 sec. 10 minutes into the session and Rojas, Friday's third-place qualifier, had moved into the second spot. Sperafico moved the mark again with a 1:27.327 sec.15 minutes into the session.

Allmendinger responded with a 1:27.144sec. at the 20 minute mark, only to have Sperafico take the top slot back just minutes later with a lap of 1:27.196, which was his first lap speed that improved his pole time from Friday. Sperafico wasn't done yet, though, hauling his Reynard-Dodge around Laguna one more time to break into the 1:26 barrier with a 1:26.974. By this point in the session, Leo Maia in the Quaker State machine had already shaved a full second off of his Friday time with a 1:27.551.

The field stayed static for the next 10 minutes until the session was red flagged with 10 minutes remaining when Mike Richardson encountered some problems in the tricky Turn 6. The entire field had to return to the pits and only had 6 minutes left of green time once the track was cleared again. Allmendinger was third as the field took to the track again and nailed a 1:26.971 on his last flying lap to secure the second spot, moving Campos down one spot.

-cart/barber-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Barber Pro
Drivers Christian Szymczak , Davy Cook , Julio Campos , Memo Rojas , Tom Fogarty , Mike Richardson , A.J. Allmendinger , Marc Breuers , Skip Barber