NEGRI GIVES LEXUS THIRD '05 POLE; TOP SPOT AT LAGUNA MONTEREY, Calif. (April 30, 2005) -- Making just his first start of the 2005 season, Oswaldo Negri earned his first career Daytona Protoype Pole position to give Lexus its third pole position...
NEGRI GIVES LEXUS THIRD '05 POLE; TOP SPOT AT LAGUNA
MONTEREY, Calif. (April 30, 2005) -- Making just his first start of the 2005 season, Oswaldo Negri earned his first career Daytona Protoype Pole position to give Lexus its third pole position in five races and the top spot for Sunday's Road and Track 250.
Negri's record-setting run gave Michael Shank Racing its first Rolex Series pole and put the Matlin Patterson Lexus Riley on the pole in its debut race. Negri will team with sports car veteran Mark Patterson in Sunday's race.
Ganassi Racing teammates Luis Diaz and Stefan Johansson qualified third and fourth to give Lexus three of the top-four qualifiers on the twisty northern California road course. Diaz placed third in the #01 CompUSA Lexus Riley, while Johansson qualified the #02 New Century Mortgage Lexus Riley in fourth. Diaz will team with defending series champion Scott Pruett, while Cort Wagner will share the driving duties with Johansson.
Matteo Bobbi put a fourth Lexus-powered prototype in the top eight with an eighth-place showing in the Crown Royal Special Reserve Lexus Doran, and Chris Bingham rounded out the Lexus contingent with a 17th-place showing in the DLGL Lexus Riley in the 23-car prototype field.
In addition to being Lexus' third pole position of the 2005 campaign, it also marks the manufacturer's 14th pole in 17 Rolex Series events. Negri became the fourth different driver to win a Daytona Prototype pole with Lexus power.
SPEED will provide live coverage of Sunday's Road and Track 250 beginning at 3 p.m. EDT.
Oswaldo Negri, #60 Matlin Patterson Lexus Riley: "I have to say thank you first off to Lexus and to Mike Shank and his guys for working as hard as they do to prepare a car that was capable of taking the pole today. I knew right when we got on track here this weekend that we had a great combination and being second quick in practice yesterday was another confidence boost for me and the team. To be out of the car for so many months and take the pole the first time back is really just fantastic for me and shows what I have been saying about how absolutely incredible this Michael Shank Racing team is. I am just so thankful for the opportunity that Mark Patterson and the team have created for me this weekend, and I am really looking forward to the race."
Luis Diaz, #01 CompUSA Lexus Riley: "The car was decent, but I think we could've been better. We were fighting a condition in which the car was loose upon entry, tight through the middle of the corner, then loose on the exit. Fortunately I have a strong team behind me and I'm sure the CompUSA guys will figure it out before the race tomorrow."
Stefan Johansson, #02 New Century Mortgage Lexus Riley: "We took a gamble in qualifying the car on scuffed tires. The gamble didn't pay off unfortunately because the scuffed tires disrupted the balance of the car and created a ton of understeer. I think we'll be okay for the race tomorrow. At least I won't have to worry about the guy starting next to me."