Mexico City: Synergy Racing qualifying report

Synergy's Craig Stanton to start on front row in Rolex Series championship finale in Mexico City MEXICO CITY, Mexico (November 4, 2005) Synergy Racing driver Craig Stanton, of Long Beach, Calif., will start the Synergy Racing No. 80 Porsche GT3...

Synergy's Craig Stanton to start on front row in Rolex Series championship finale in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY, Mexico (November 4, 2005) Synergy Racing driver Craig Stanton, of Long Beach, Calif., will start the Synergy Racing No. 80 Porsche GT3 Cup on the front row of the GT class in Saturday's Rolex Sports Car Series finale at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. He turned a 1:54.554 lap at 94.254 mph around the 2.786-mile Mexican circuit, the third quickest time of the session. However, a technical infraction by No. 64 Pontiac, which had qualified second, allowed Stanton to move onto the front row as the No. 64 was sent to the back of the grid.

Stanton enters the final round of the 14-race series only one point shy of the GT points lead. The points leaders, Andy Lally and Marc Bunting, had qualified in fifth, but their No. 65 Pontiac also had a technical infraction like its sister car and was sent to the rear of the field.

"We've been working really hard today on a good race set-up on some tires that were very, very old so we'd have something comfortable for the race," explained Stanton. "I'm very happy starting third. We are up against the factory with BMW and Pontiac, so to qualify third on a set-up meant for worn tires is great."

Stanton shares driving duties in the No. 80 Porsche with David Murry, of Atlanta, Ga., who is currently fourth in the GT point standings. The pair did not start racing together until round two of series, resulting in the points disparity. The two were also teammate last season when Stanton won the Grand-Am Cup championship after entering the finale with a four-point deficit.

This weekend marks the first appearance for the Rolex Series south of the border, and Stanton and Murry's first time racing at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.

"We want to put on a good show down here," Stanton remarked. "The guys have done a good job back at the shop prepping the car and now down here. It's tough to come down here. It's a new track, a new country, a different language‹that can cause a strain. But the people here are gracious. There are tons of race fans, and it's a beautiful track."

Frisselle qualifies Daytona Prototype eighth Burt Frisselle, of Aventura, Fla., qualified the No. 8 BMW Doran JE4 Daytona Prototype eighth overall for Saturday's race. The elder Frisselle brother turned a 1:46.410 lap averaging 94.254 mph in the entry he shares with his younger brother Brian.

"We still have some work to do on the car I think, but we were faster every session we ran today, and hopefully we can continue that tomorrow for the race," said Burt. "We have some new suspension developments at the rear, and it has helped the car a lot, but there is still some time to find. But, starting from the top-10 will hopefully help us stay out of trouble during the race and we can get into a good pace and move up like we have in every race so far this season."

"This is a bit of an usual weekend with the schedule being so compressed," said Brian, of the two-day event format. "So we have to accomplish a lot each time we are out on track so it's a bit of a challenge. But the track is just great to drive, and I really am looking forward to racing in front of this crowd because I think they are really going to get into the show that we put on. And if the car keeps improving as it has all weekend with Gary (Grossenbacher, technical director) and the Synergy guys keeping at work on it, it could be a really good day for us."

Double duty for Stanton, Award hopes for Nonnamaker Stanton will pull double duty this weekend. After starting Synergy's No. 80 Porsche on Saturday, he will relieve Will Nonnamaker, of North Canton, Ohio, at the wheel of the team's No. 81 Porsche GT3 Cup.

Nonnamaker typically races with Team Sahlen, but in his team's absence from this weekend's event, he will join Synergy Racing in his quest for the first annual Bob Akin Award. Nonnamaker currently holds a 131-point lead over Marc Bunting in the standings for the sportsman award that he hopes to clinch on Saturday.

"Will and I have raced together and against each other, and I know he's a great competitor," noted Stanton. "He and (his father) Joe are great people. It's great to be working with them again."

Nonnamaker qualified Synergy Racing's No. 81 Porsche eighth with a 1:59.426 lap at 83.982 mph.


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Series Grand-Am
Drivers David Murry , Will Nonnamaker , Andy Lally , Burt Frisselle , Craig Stanton , Marc Bunting , Bob Akin
Teams Team Sahlen