Portland: Saturday qualifying report

Campos takes first-ever pole. (PORTLAND, Ore.) June 15, 2002-2001 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Champion Julio Campos set the fastest lap in Saturday's qualifying to take his first-ever Barber Dodge Pro Series pole position for Sunday's...

Campos takes first-ever pole.

(PORTLAND, Ore.) June 15, 2002-2001 Skip Barber Formula Dodge National Champion Julio Campos set the fastest lap in Saturday's qualifying to take his first-ever Barber Dodge Pro Series pole position for Sunday's round-4 race at Portland International Raceway. Friday's provisional pole winner Marc Breuers will start alongside Campos on the front row thanks to his fast time from Friday. In all only one second separates the first 14 cars on the grid.

Championship points leader A.J. Allmendinger will start from the third starting position, the first time he will not t starti on the front row this season, and Christian Szymczak will join him on the second row. Behind them Dan Di Leo and Rafael Sperafico will be starting fifth and sixth while Memo Rojas and Leo Maia make up the fourth row. Davy Cook and Piero Rodarte round out the Top_10 for round -4 of the 2002 Barber Dodge Pro Series season.

"We made a mistake on our set-up yesterday, and I was much happier with the car in this session," said Campos who drives the No. 21 Dodge Reynard. "It felt like forever waiting in the pits for the session to end with all those guys trying to beat my time after I got black-flagged. I was glad no one did! I know I have the smart guys up front with me for the start, so I am not that worried about any incidents at the start."

Campos, who could only muster the 10th best time in the first qualifying session in his Michelin-liveried car on Friday, gave it a good thinkovernight and came up with a new set-up for his car with his engineer to move himself to the top of the charts and take the second championship point available in qualifying. Campos thought that he would have another opportunity to improve his time with less than two minutes remaining, but was black-flagged after an on-off excursion in the grass packed his radiator inlet, leaving him unable to improve his time. Fortunately for him, no one else was able to improve on his best time of a 1:14.492 sec.

The conditions were cool during Saturday's session, with the ambient temperature hoovering in the low 60's. Campos was the first driver in the session to improve his time over Friday's qualifying with a 1:15.388 sec. lap, and Allmendinger quickly answered with a 1:15.106. Breuers was the only driver to lap under the 1:15 sec. barrier on Friday, but the cooler conditions on Saturday helped the Top-10 all record laps in the :14's. Breuers himself was unable to improve on his time from Friday until late in the session.

"The track keeps changing from session to session," said Breuers, driver of the No. 94 Sunoco Dodge Reynard, "and we were just a little behind it today. This track is really wide on the front stretch, so as far as the start goes, it should be exciting. Everyone up front knows how important it will be to get through there cleanly and go racing."

Midway through the session, Rojas, Campos, and Laguna Seca winner Rafael Sperafico held the top three spots, but that order soon was jumbled again as the field burned off the Sunoco Race fuel and started a new round of quick laps. Christian Szymczak held the top spot for about five minutes, improving his time each lap by. Dan Di Leo was also strong late in the session, moving onto the third position with about 10 minutes remaining.

Replaying many of the qualifying sessions so far this season, Allmendinger had to make the most of the end of the session to move up to the second fastest qualifying time of the weekend and the third starting position.

"The car was better than it was yesterday, and the changes we made during the session kept improving my times," said Allmendinger. "I think we will keep going that direction set-up wise for the race tomorrow. I hope we get some sun tomorrow, since that will make the track have less grip, and should mean more passing opportunities."

The long front straight leading into the very tight first corner should provide plenty of passing opportunities for the field when the Barber Dodge Pro Series round 4 race begins on Sunday at 10:10 a.m. PST. Full results and story to be posted at www.barberdodge.com.

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Series Barber Pro
Drivers Christian Szymczak , Davy Cook , Julio Campos , Memo Rojas , A.J. Allmendinger , Marc Breuers , Piero Rodarte , Rafael Sperafico , Skip Barber