By Pat Jennings, Sportscar series reporter
- Garcia gives SDR and Coyote chassis first pole
- Jon Fogarty qualifies Bob Stallings Racing on front row
- Cameron claims first GT pole for Dempsey Racing
Chevys sweep Rolex Series front row at Barber Motorsports Park
Chevrolet powered Daytona Prototypes swept the top-three spots Friday in qualifying for the Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park. The Spirit of Daytona Coyote led the way, lapping the 2.3-mile, 17-turn road course in 1:21.682 and giving the team its first- ever Rolex Series pole. It was also the first pole for the Coyote chassis.
"I've been driving this Coyote for three or four years and it's been improving year by year," said Antonio Garcia. "The whole car worked pretty good and for the first time I just had to drive it.
"Last year, I missed pole position by a few hundredths. So it's good to be up front for the team. To put everything together is always good. This program has been developing for more than a year and now we are starting to improve. We have a strong package now."
To put everything together is always good.
Two-time race winner Jon Fogarty turned the second fastest time in the Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Riley. The SunTrust Dallara driven by Ricky Taylor was third quickest. The top-three qualifiers were separated by just over half a second.
"I felt good about my first lap and luckily that lap was good enough to hang on to the front row," said Fogarty. "I don't know if we had anything for [Garcia]. We really would have had to take a lot of risks and abuse the tires. We're happy. We ran the fewest laps of anyone."
Taking care of the tires will be an important aspect of the race because no one knows how the series' new Continental tires will react to the heat that is expected tomorrow or the Firestone rubber put down in practice Friday afternoon by the IndyCar Series, which is racing at Barber this weekend as well.
Memo Rojas, driving the Ganassi Racing BMW Riley, and Brian Frisselle in the Doran Racing Ford Dallara rounded out the top-five in the headlining Daytona Prototype class. Rojas and his teammate, Scott Pruett, have won the first two races of the season and five straight races dating from last year. They also won this race last year.
The AIM Autosport BMW Riley ended up sixth, followed by the first of the two Action Express Porsche Rileys, the No. 60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley, the No. 9 Starworks Motorsport Ford Riley, and the second Action Express car.
Dempsey Racing claimed its first GT class pole, with Dane Cameron's Mazda RX-8 out-qualifying the Camaro GT.Rs of Stevenson Motorsport and Banner Racing, who ended up second and third, respectively. "The rules are getting closer and closer in terms of parity with the other cars," said Cameron. "It's exciting now that it's a little more even now."
Ten Daytona Prototypes and 16 GT cars recorded qualifying times. Only one car - the No. 2 Starworks Ford Riley - did not take part in qualifying.
Saturday's race will begin at 3 p.m. Central.