Homestead: Friday qualifying notes

Donohue puts Red Bull Daytona Prototype on pole. The Racer's Group, Heritage earn Acxiom Grand Touring challenge qualifying awards. MIAMI, Fla. (February 28, 2003) -- David Donohue earned the pole position today during qualifying for Saturday's...

Donohue puts Red Bull Daytona Prototype on pole.
The Racer's Group, Heritage earn Acxiom Grand Touring challenge qualifying awards.

MIAMI, Fla. (February 28, 2003) -- David Donohue earned the pole position today during qualifying for Saturday's Nextel Grand Prix of Miami at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Donohue clocked a 1:16.982 lap time at 112.234 mph to take the top spot, while Terry Borcheller recorded a 111.892 mph lap in 1:17.217 to put the Bell Motorsports #54 Chevy-powered Doran JE4 Daytona Prototype in the outside pole position.

"The guys have done a phenomenal job. We missed the first practice yesterday, so we have only been on the track today. We had a big fuel leak yesterday," explained Donohue. "I think it's going to be an interesting race. The Doran has done two or three hours driving and look where it is. And here we have all of this development on our car . . . but to have them that close is rather uncomfortable."

While Borcheller is happy with his front-row position, an engine miss might have kept him from putting the Chevy Daytona Prototype on the pole. "The (engine) miss happened when the tires were the best, so that was unfortunate. That was our first quick lap, and then I came in," said Borcheller. "When I went back out it was a lot better, and we got a better lap with the tires not under us as well as they were the first couple of laps."

Tommy Riggins grabbed a spot on the second row and will lead the GTS class to the green flag on Saturday. Riggins put together a 111.075 mph lap in 1:17.785 at the wheel of the Heritage Motorsports #48 Mustang during qualifying.

"Our car is more of a one-lap flyer. Our race pace will be off the Daytona Prototypes a pretty good bit, but we've got the horsepower and we can stretch our legs out here on the banking. We are looking for a good race, because there are a lot of GTS cars here. It's a strong field," said Riggins, whose fast lap earned Heritage Motorsports the Acxiom Grand Touring Challenge $1,000 GTS top-qualifier award.

Brumos Racing's second Daytona Prototype entry will start on the outside of the second row after Hurley Haywood's 1:18.697 lap time at 109.788 mph in the #59 Porsche.

Kevin Buckler captured the pole in the GT class, as well as the Acxiom Grand Touring Challenge $1,000 GT top-qualifier award, at the wheel of The Racer's Group #66 Porsche GT3 RS, the same race car that captured the overall victory at the Rolex 24 At Daytona earlier this month. During the Rolex 24, two of The Racer's Group's three Porsche entries were damaged in accidents. The only surviving race car went on to win the race and has been on display inside of DAYTONA USA for the last few weeks.

With one race car completely destroyed and the second severely damaged, The Racer's Group retrieved its Rolex 24-winning car from the motorsports attraction on Monday in order to compete in this weekend's Nextel Grand Prix.

"This car hasn't had a lot of service or maintenance, but fortunately we didn't have problems at Daytona. We didn't hit anything, so it wasn't like we had to replace a lot of suspension parts or anything," said Buckler. "We changed our engine and we changed our gearbox. We did a nice look over on our suspension components. But we are at a little bit of a disadvantage right now because we are a little short on our spares right now."

All of the top drivers agree that the South Florida heat will play a major role in Saturday's Nextel Grand Prix of Miami. "I think heat on the drivers, as well as the cars, will be the biggest issue. We have a little bit of a heat issue with the car... but heat on the drivers is also going to be a big issue," remarked Donohue. "It's going to be a real important factor towards the end of the stints to see how guys are handling it and if they are able to recognize their fatigue level and keep it within the lines of the track."

Homestead-Miami Speedway will offer fans both road racing and open-wheel racing during the February 28 - March 2 event weekend, with the Rolex Series running the Nextel Grand Prix of Miami on March 1 and the IRL IndyCar Series running its season-opening Toyota Indy 300 on March 2. Tickets are currently on sale for the entire event weekend online at www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at 305-230-RACE.

For more information on the Nextel Grand Prix of Miami and the Rolex Sports Car Series, visit www.grandamerican.com.

-garra-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kevin Buckler , Terry Borcheller , Hurley Haywood , David Donohue , Tommy Riggins