Grand American Road Racing (Grand-Am)
Taylor Extends Streak, Wins Sixth Straight Pole At Watkins Glen
In Rolex Series Qualifying For Canadian Tire 200
Logano Crash Negates Fastest Lap, GT Pole to Liddell
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 12, 2011) – In a wild GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series qualifying session Friday evening at Watkins Glen International, one thing remained constant – Ricky Taylor’s pole streak.
Taylor captured his sixth consecutive pole position, and will be joined by Memo Rojas on the front row when the green flag waves at 6 p.m. for Saturday’s Canadian Tire 200 at The Glen.
In GT qualifying, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series regular Joey Logano posted the fastest lap but crashed moments later – negating his best time and giving the pole to Robin Liddell. Logano later lost a front-row starting position when Marsh Racing elected to withdraw the primary car and go to a backup Corvette following the incident.
After the SunTrust Racing team struggled with handling issues throughout Friday morning’s practice, Taylor found the handling of the No. 10 Chevrolet/Dallara to his liking in qualifying, running a lap of 1:05.962 (133.713 mph) to extend a pole streak that began on Memorial Day at Lime Rock Park.
“It was a wild session – like nearly crashing 10 times every lap,” Taylor said. “When it was drizzling earlier in day I was saying to the guys I wouldn’t be too upset if it started pouring and it started by points, even though that would have put us second.”
Championship leader Rojas was second fastest with a lap of 1:06.182 (113.269 mph) in the No. 01 TELMEX BMW/Riley. He and Scott Pruett will be seeking their sixth victory of the year on Saturday, Round 10 of the 12-race season.
Jon Fogarty was third fastest in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Chevrolet/Riley co-driven by Alex Gurney running 1:06.307 (133.01 mph). Fogarty holds the Rolex Series record with a seven-race pole position streak, set in 2007.
While the 15-minute DP session went smoothly, a pair of black flags for separate incidents limited GT competitors to only two or three laps. Liddell posted his best speed early in the session with a lap of 1:14.179 (118.901 mph) in the No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Chevrolet Camaro co-driven by Jan Magnussen, and it stood up for the pole.
J.P. Mauro, running in his first Rolex Series race in the No. 30 Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda RX-8, crashed near the entrance to the Inner Loop to bring out the first black flag. When the green flag waved with five minutes remaining, Logano went to the top with a lap of 1:14.112 (119.009 mph) in the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Corvette co-driven by Boris Said. But when Logano crashed in Turn 5 on the following lap – bringing out a session-ending black flag – his fastest lap was disallowed per GRAND-AM rules. Logano ran a lap of 1:14.541 (118.324 mph), which was second-fastest in the session, but that was negated when the team switched cars.
“My first lap was a wee bit conservative, but it was good enough for the pole at the time,” said Liddell, who has two poles this season in addition to two for teammate Magnussen. “I thought I would go faster after the black flag, but I got held up by another car. I took the pole by default, but we’ll take it.”
As a result of Marsh Racing withdrawing its primary car, GT points leader Andrew Davis will start on the front row after running a lap fo1:14.653 (118.147 mph) in the No. 59 Brumos Racing Porsche GT3 co-driven by Leh Keen.