Law Takes First Career Rolex Series Overall Pole Position for Grand Prix of Miami HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 4, 2005) -- Darren Law is the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series leader in career starts, but Saturday's Grand Prix of Miami (SPEED ...
Law Takes First Career Rolex Series Overall Pole Position for Grand Prix of Miami
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (March 4, 2005) -- Darren Law is the Grand American Rolex Sports Car Series leader in career starts, but Saturday's Grand Prix of Miami (SPEED Channel, Live, 3 p.m. ET) will be the first time that he will start from the overall pole position in his Rolex Series career.
In an abbreviated qualifying session, Law clocked a best lap of 1:15.433 (109.766 mph) in the No. 58 Red Bull Brumos Racing Porsche Fabcar to snare the pole position and bring an end to an eight-race streak of pole positions for the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Lexus Riley team. In addition to it being Law's first overall pole, his performance in qualifying also gave engine manufacturer Porsche and chassis constructor Fabcar its first Daytona Prototype pole position since 2003.
"No one was talking about us (winning the pole) because we've have a tough last season," Law said. "But Brumos, Fabcar, Porsche, everybody--all the guys have been working very hard. We're not there yet, but coming here this weekend was the first time we rolled off the trailer within half a second of the front guys, so improvements are coming and it's getting better. We're pretty proud of everybody. The conditions changed a bit for qualifying, but the biggest thing for us was since we have only a short time to qualify, we wanted to get out early and try to lay something in there. We're in the hunt, for sure."
Joining Law on the front row will be Rolex Series rookie Matteo Bobbi in the No. 77 Doran Racing Crown Royal Special Reserve Lexus Doran. The Italian secured the outside of the front row thanks to a best lap of 1:15.562 (109.579 mph) for just his second career Rolex Series start.
"I've got to say we were pretty lucky," Bobbi said. "There was some confusion in qualifying today, but I think me and Darren were pretty intelligent to push immediately at the beginning. We are very happy to be on the front row. For me, Daytona was a pretty unlucky race because we had troubles right at the end when we were running second. Today, for the second race of my life here in the U.S., it's not bad starting in the front row. Tomorrow will be a very tough race. The fast drivers start from the rear, so it will be very good for the people. We're really happy for Lexus and (team owner) Kevin Doran. They did a great job and I'm happy.
Three different engines and three different chassis are represented in the first three starting positions, as Mike Borkowski placed the No. 6 Mears Motor Coach Michael Shank Racing Pontiac Riley third on the grid. Borkowski clocked a best lap of 1:15.635 (109.473 mph).
"We had a great car," Borkowski said. "You'd think we'd be happy, but I'm kind of disappointed. We were pretty geared up to try to get the pole. We waited. It's a gamble call, but we waited at the start of the session to really let everybody go. The top couple guys got two laps, and we just did an out lap. My second lap, when we got the black flag, would have been a half-second quicker. It would have been good for the pole. I would have been disappointed in anything but the front row, and maybe the pole, but the car's good. The team's doing an awesome job, so I can't complain at all. I'm just bummed that I didn't get a shot at a second or third lap."
Luis Diaz will start fourth in the No. 01 CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Lexus Riley following a best lap of 1:15.763 (109.288 mph). It will be just the second time that the No. 01 has started anywhere but the pole position in Rolex Series competition. Filling out the top five was Key Biscayne-resident Christian Fittipaldi in the No. 54 Kodak EasyShare Bell Motorsports Pontiac Doran at 1:15.768 (109.281 mph).
SELLERS TAKES GT POLE FOR FIRST-EVER ROLEX SERIES START
For the second day in-a-row, rookie Bryan Sellers found himself atop the top of the GT class time charts. As a result, Sellers will start his first-ever Rolex Sports Car Series race from the class pole position on the strength of a best lap at 1:21.283 (101.866 mph) in the No. 61 TRG East Porsche GT3 Cup that he will share fellow Rolex Series rookie Ryan Dalziel.
"It feels great," Sellers said. "I'm really pleased with the way things have gone. It's a great team. I'm really pleased with all the people here. It's a great group of guys. I think we have some tuning to do on the car to make it a bit better yet, but it's obviously still very good. I think we have a good driver lineup and a good team to go and challenge for the race tomorrow. The question that I have right now is what the race pace is going to be like. Obviously, it's not going to be a qualifying pace anywhere near what we ran, because that would be pretty hard to do. That is my concern. How fast are you going to have to run in the race to stay in front of the guys? Pit stops and whatnot are obviously interesting, too, because Ryan and myself have never done them."
Starting second on the GT class grid is Andrew Davis in the No. 73 Tafel Racing Porsche GT3 Cup after a best lap of 1:21.451 (101.656 mph). Starting at the front of a class field is nothing new to Davis, who qualified third in the Daytona Prototype class at Barber Motorsports Park last year. Nevertheless, he was clearly pleased with his qualifying performance today.
"I'm really happy to be on the front row," Davis said. "I ran with (co-driver) Jim (Tafel) and (team manager) Tony (Dowe) at Daytona. It's great to be back with them again. It's a great opportunity for me. The worst thing about it was I came in a couple of laps early. We thought we were in a pretty good spot there so I went ahead and came in. I wish now I would have stayed out there, because I had a couple more tenths at least in the car. It would have been nice to be on the pole, but front row, to get up there with this Tafel Racing Porsche with Mesco as one of our great sponsors, it's awesome. It's really great for our team."
David Murry originally qualified the No. 80 Synergy Racing Porsche GT3 Cup third, but will start from the rear of the grid owing to a technical infraction. As a result, 16-year-old Colin Braun will start third in the GT class following a best lap of 1:21.611 (101.457 mph) in the No. 64 Auto Gallery/TRG Porsche GT3 Cup. BMW Team PTG fills out the top five in GT, as Justin Marks put the No. 16 BMW M3 fourth on the grid at 1:21.864 (101.143 mph) and Joey Hand is fifth in the No. 21 M3 at 1:21.985 (100.994 mph).
JIM TRUEMAN AND BOB AKIN AWARDS DRAW RAVE REVIEWS FROM ROLEX SERIES DRIVERS
Just one day after Rolex Sports Car Series officials announced the creation of the Jim Trueman and Bob Akin Awards, several sportsman drivers have already registered for the program. The announcement of the Jim Trueman Award came as welcome news to a pair of top Daytona Prototype competitors.
"I think this is a very good thing that Grand American is doing to recognize guys in the sport like me, who don't do this for a living, but do it as a passion, " said No. 6 Mears Motor Coach Pontiac Riley driver Paul Mears Jr., who drives for Michael Shank Racing. "Every time I get in the car, my goal is to do a good job for the team, and to improve my lap times. As long as I can keep improving as far as pace, or car control, or racecraft, I find it tremendously satisfying. Grand American creating a separate championship for guys like me is also going to give me even more incentive to keep improving."
"I think it's a great idea," added No. 09 Spirit of Daytona Racing Pontiac Crawford driver Doug Goad. "Obviously, I fit in that classification. I don't make my living driving race cars. To get recognition for the guys who are out here that are not professionals, who compete against professionals, is a really great idea. It's a fun award. It's going to be fun to chase after it for the season."
Mears and Goad are among many top contenders for the Jim Trueman Award for Daytona Prototype drivers. Likewise, there are a host of strong competitors in the GT class for the Bob Akin Award, including Marc Bunting, who co-drives the No. 65 Auto Gallery/TRG Porsche GT3 Cup. Last year, Bunting shared the Super Grand Sport (SGS) driver championship and must be considered among the favorites for the inaugural Bob Akin Award.
"I think the Trueman and Akin awards are a great opportunity to recognize the 'non-full-time' professional drivers," Bunting said. "I think it will be neat to have a trophy in Daytona honoring those folks who do it for the passion and not necessarily because they can't be on the race track every week, unfortunately, because they have other responsibilities -- guys like myself. I think they've introduced a great program. I've got all the incentive I need to go racing, but it's nice to have an award like this and have the potential to be honored in this way."