Papis blitzes to Barber pole

Max Papis's Lexus Doran lapped the twisting 2.3-mile, 16-turn Barber Motorsports Park road course .294 seconds faster than the Pontiac Doran of Terry Borcheller to claim the pole for Sunday's Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 presented by...

Max Papis's Lexus Doran lapped the twisting 2.3-mile, 16-turn Barber Motorsports Park road course .294 seconds faster than the Pontiac Doran of Terry Borcheller to claim the pole for Sunday's Rolex Sports Car Series Porsche 250 presented by Bradley Arant. Papis and his Ganassi Racing teammate, Scott Pruett, have three wins and 10 poles this season. However, a pair of sub-par finishes (5th and 10th) in the last three races has reduced their lead over SunTrust Racing's Wayne Taylor in the Daytona Prototype drivers' championship from 22 points to a mere five.

"Ten poles is a single season is a very nice record to have and it's a credit to all the CompUSA crew guys here and at the shop for the job they do every day that has made us this successful in our first season in the Rolex Grand AM Series," Papis said after his 1:20.613 lap. "We'll start P1 and we'll try to stay P1 the whole race. Qualifying was difficult today because the track is so very different than it was in practice so I really had to change my driving style because the No. 01 Lexus Riley behaved so differently as well. The No. 01 car was very loose but I today loose was fast and that's what we were."

"I had a clean track and a clean lap," said Borcheller, last year's Daytona Prototype champion. "The Bell Motorsports team has been working hard to get the Kodak EasyShare car as good as it can be when it needs to be good, and I think we came pretty close to that today. Our fastest lap was done before I came in for the tire pressure adjustment. If the lap had been just a little bit cleaner, it would have been the pole. Christian (Fittipaldi) told me he wasn't going to talk to me if I didn't put it on the front row, so I knew I had to do my best."

Taylor qualified fourth, behind the surprising Pontiac Crawford of Chris Hall. "We had a power steering issue before qualifying," Taylor explained. "The crew changed the rack and got things fixed. It was a bit of a loose car. There just wasn't much left in me to get anymore out of the car in qualifying." The second Ganassi Racing entry of Jimmy Morales rounded out the top-five.

The No. 21 BMW M3 of Bill Auberlen led a Team PTG sweep of the top two spots in the GT class, turning in a lap of 1:27.220. Auberlen has a four-point lead over teammate Boris Said in the GT class drivers' championship. For his part, Said qualified second in GT, .105 seconds behind Auberlen. The No. 33 Maserati will start third in class.

"It was really, really close," said Auberlen, who has seven wins and five poles this season. "Boris had it, and my I knew that my first lap out had to be really quick. Then we took the edge out of the tire a little bit -- came in and sat. I towed Boris around for a while and he took advantage of that. He did great job. He had it, and I took it away by a tenth after that. And then I was just sitting in the pits worried that he was going to go back out. If he went back out, I was going to follow him out. But this is Team PTG keeping up with the weather. A lot other teams can't keep up. When it rains we're on it, and when it's dry we're on it. When it's in between, we're on it."

And with the such a narrow lead in the championship, Auberlen and co-driver Justin Marks plan on being on it tomorrow. "We have to beat them, somehow," Auberlen explained. "But you see that it's so close that I'm not sure how it's going to come down. We've got to drive a clean race, keep in on the track, don't hit anybody, and run hard lap after lap. Justin's going to finish and I'm going to start. Boris is going to start and Joey (Hand's) going to finish. I can't wait until tomorrow to see what happens."

In the SGS class, Michael Levitas, driving the No. 36 TPC Racing Porsche, captured the pole with a time of 1:33.340. Levitas and co-driver Randy Pobst have won the last two SGS races. "We did get the pole even though we were behind a little bit on the setup," said Levitas, who currently lies 13 points behind his TPC Racing teammates, Marc Bunting and Andy Lally, in the SGS drivers' championship. "But the car was still working very well. Randy and I have done a great job with the car this weekend. We really feel great about it. We're coming into this thing with two races under us and we are really pumped. We're not going to be overenthusiastic at this point. We're just going to take it as one race at a time. We're looking forward to having the pole. We've got the pole. Now we're going to sit back and really work it at the win. We can do it. Randy and I were coming back two races ago, and we've been back the last race."

Cory Friedman qualified the No. 14 Autometrics Motorsports Porsche second in SGS, .160 seconds behind Levitas. Bunting rounded out the top-three.

Sunday's race will start at 12 p.m. ET, and it will be carried live on the SPEED Channel.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Chris Hall , Boris Said , Max Papis , Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Bill Auberlen , Randy Pobst , Andy Lally , Terry Borcheller , Justin Marks , Michael Levitas , Jimmy Morales , Cory Friedman , Marc Bunting
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Autometrics Motorsports