Fresh off a Grand-Am Rolex Series pole last week in Belle Isle, Jon Fogarty went out today and repeated the feat at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, leading a truncated field to the Daytona Prototype pole.
Fogarty stormed around the 2.258-mile Mid-Ohio layout in 1:18.079 (104.11 mph) to earn the series-record 21st Grand-Am pole of his career, adding to the series-best career mark that he already owns. He overcame a mid-session spin in his Gainsco-sponsored Corvette to post the top time, finishing more than three-tenths of a second quicker than second-placed Michael Valiante.
- Jon Fogarty extends series record with 21st career pole
- Series-leading team sits out qualifying, claims too large a gap to Corvettes
- Corvettes sweep the top-five qualifying spots.
“I’ve been coming here since 1995 and we’ve had some successes here so we usually have a pretty good feeling about things when we come here,” Fogarty said. “I feel that being able to qualify the car is a great opportunity and I want to go out there and make the most of it.”
We are a second-and-a-half behind the Corvettes, and we figured, why even go out? It’s ridiculous how far apart the cars are and we don’t think anything is going to be done about it, so we decided not to run.
Fogarty topped the time charts for most of the session despite a Turn Two spin, as the Chevrolet Corvettes were the class of the field. Fogarty and Valiante were joined in the top five by Ricky Taylor, Terry Borcheller and Darren Law – all of them running Corvettes. Target Chip Ganassi Racing was the fastest non-Corvette on the day, qualifying sixth with a time of 1:19.255 in a BMW-powered Riley.
And while the Corvettes were the class of the field, the field was thinned by the absence of the points-leading Starworks Ford Rileys.
Disappointed with the performance of the Riley chassis as opposed to the Corvettes, the Starworks team decided not to participate in qualifying.
“We are a second-and-a-half behind the Corvettes, and we figured, why even go out?” said series point leader Ryan Dalziel. “It’s ridiculous how far apart the cars are and we don’t think anything is going to be done about it, so we decided not to run.”
Fogarty addressed the Corvette situation after his pole winning run, lauding the handling of the Corvette as the reason for its superiority on Friday.
“We didn’t have a chance at Daytona. It seems to be a little different here,” Fogarty said. “Any time that you spend more time braking and cornering than you do in a straight line, the better our car performs. This is a handling track and we have a good handling car.”
But even a good handling car required a leap of faith from the GAINSCO/Stalling Racing crew prior to qualifying. Wanting to make a move to fortify its qualifying package, the team made a major setup change – without being sure that the move was going to help.
“We decided to go big for qualifying, not even being sure that it would work,” admitted Fogarty. “It was a big gamble but we figured that if it didn’t work, at least we would learn something that we could use in the race.”
For the second time in the last three races, John Edwards put the Stevenson Camaro on the GT pole, hanging a top time of 1:25.083 (95.54 mph) to eclipse the Brumos Porsche of Andrew Davis. Paul Edwards will start third in the class. Both races will take place Saturday at Mid-Ohio