Birmingham: SunTrust Racing qualifying report

The SunTrust Racing driving duo of Max Angelelli and Memo Gidley will start Sunday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park from the outside of the second row after qualifying Saturday at the picturesque 2.3-mile,...

The SunTrust Racing driving duo of Max Angelelli and Memo Gidley will start Sunday's Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park from the outside of the second row after qualifying Saturday at the picturesque 2.3-mile, 16-turn facility outside Birmingham, Ala.

Gidley, a last-minute replacement for co-driver Jonathan Cochet, piloted the No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor Racing to a fast lap of 1 minute, 22.849 seconds (an average of 99.941 mph) during this morning's 15-minute qualifying session, good for fourth among 17 car-and-driver combinations set to start Sunday's 400-kilometer (or 2-hour, 30-minute, whichever comes first) race featuring the Rolex Series' Daytona Prototypes.

Jon Fogarty of the No. 99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley team earned the pole for the sixth consecutive race and the seventh time overall this season with a lap of 1:22.283/100.628 mph. Patrick Long and Jorg Bergmeister, in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday/Alex Job Racing Porsche Crawford, will start on the front row alongside Fogarty and his teammate Alex Gurney. Nic Jonsson, new teammate to young driving phenom Colin Braun in the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley, will start third, inside the SunTrust car on the second row. The No. 01 Telmex Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Lexus Riley of Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, which currently leads the No. 10 SunTrust team by 20 points in the championship, will start fifth

"Obviously, things are going quite well for Memo and I," said Angelelli, who is currently second in the driver championship, 15 points behind Pruett. "We're getting along great. He's done a lot to help us go fast and get a competitive setup for tomorrow's race. It's going to be another one of those races where it will be impossible to pass, so it will be a matter of staying focused and disciplined on the track and keep from making mistakes. And it will be important to have fast, clean pit stops and gain as much track position as possible that way. The SunTrust car has been getting better and better this weekend. We hope it will be at its best in the race. We are definitely working hard to make that happen."

"This feels really good," Gidley said. "It's one thing when you come and just drive for a team. But I think you really feel satisfied and you really feel a part of it when you contribute to what's going on. I think it's just by chance a little bit that Max and I share similar driving characteristics and stuff that we're working on the car helps both of us. We've made a lot of progress. Max wasn't too happy with the car early on in the weekend. I thought it was better than many cars I've been in before. But we just continued to make it better and better. Ultimately, we can still get some more speed out of the car. Otherwise, the SunTrust car is working great. This is an awesome opportunity."

"Memo has done really well," said team owner Wayne Taylor. "I thought that he was going to be in the top-five. He was fourth, which is good. He was ahead of the 01 car. That's good. Now it comes down to the strategy for the race. We've got a car that we think is a lot better than it was when we took it off the truck yesterday. So at least we've got a lot more confidence. This is a track where there's nowhere to pass. Track position is everything. The greatest thing about Memo is that he and Max give identical feedback, which is the first time we've had anybody saying exactly the same things as Max. He's such low maintenance. Now it will be a matter of the SunTrust team just doing what it knows how to do best and that is to go out and race for the win."

-credit: str

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Nic Jönsson
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Krohn Racing , Alex Job Racing , Wayne Taylor Racing