Phoenix: Qualifying report

CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Sweeps Front Row for Food City 250 PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 9, 2004) -- The CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing team swept the front row during qualifying for the Food City 250 at Phoenix International Raceway. The team's No. 01...

CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing Sweeps Front Row for Food City 250

PHOENIX, Ariz. (April 9, 2004) -- The CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing team swept the front row during qualifying for the Food City 250 at Phoenix International Raceway. The team's No. 01 Lexus Riley Daytona Prototype took its third Rolex Sports Car Series pole of the season in as many races.

Although all 19 Daytona Prototypes qualified together in a 15-minute session, the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing team decided to let Luis Diaz take the team's No. 02 Lexus Riley out first, while his teammate Max Papis waited in the pits in the No. 01 Lexus. Diaz moved into the top position with his 56.452-second (96.294 mph) lap. However, his time was bested by his teammate when Papis took to the track midway through the session, turning a 56.005-second (97.063 mph) lap on the 1.51-mile road course, topping David Donohue's Daytona Prototype track record by 1.083 seconds.

For the second-straight race, Lexus-powered Daytona Prototypes scored the top-three positions on the starting grid. Oswaldo Negri Jr. put the Michael Shank Racing No. 6 Lexus Doran in the third position with a 57.038-second (95.305 mph) lap. Wayne Taylor took the fourth position with his 57.065-second (95.260 mph) lap in the SunTrust Racing No. 10 Pontiac Riley.

Three Daytona Prototype teams will start at the rear of the grid due to rules violations during qualifying. The Red Bull Brumos Racing No. 58 Porsche Fabcar and Cegwa Sport No. 3 Lexus Fabcar will start from the back of the grid because the teams downloaded data from the race cars prior to post-qualifying technical inspection. The G&W Motorsports No. 80 BMW Picchio will start from the rear of the grid because the team failed to report its qualifying driver to officials in advance. Additionally, the CITGO Howard-Boss Motorsports No. 2 Pontiac Crawford team will be fined $1,000 for attempting to download data from the car prior to post-qualifying technical inspection.

Bill Auberlen posted the quickest time in the GT class during qualifying for Saturday night's race, recording a 1:01.639 (88.191 mph) lap in the Prototype Technology Group No. 21 BMW M3. Gunnar Jeannette posted the second-fastest time in the GT class, turning a 1:01.686 (88.124 mph) lap in the Gunnar Racing No. 45 Porsche GT3 RS he is sharing with NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Kyle Petty this weekend.

Craig Stanton was fastest among the SGS-class competitors in the AASCO Motorsports No. 16 Porsche. His 1:03.555 (85.532 mph) lap broke the class' track record set by Devon Powell last year by 1.706 seconds. Greg Wilkins was second in the class during qualifying with his 1:04.384 (84.431 mph) lap in the Doncaster Racing No. 71 Porsche.

Both Auberlen and Stantion received the Acxiom Grand Touring Challenge Fastest Qualifier awards for leading the GT and SGS classes.

The Food City 250 will get underway at Phoenix International Raceway at 6 p.m. local time (9 p.m. ET) on Saturday night. Tickets for the race are available at PIR's ticket office or online at www.phoenixraceway.com. The Food City 250 will be broadcast LIVE on SPEED Channel.

For additional information on the Rolex Sports Car Series, as well as Zippo Live Timing & Scoring free of charge, visit www.grandamerican.com.

**********************************************

Food City 250 Qualifying Quotes

Max Papis, driver of the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing No. 01 Lexus Riley Polesitter of the Food City 250

ON THE TEAM WINNING THE POLE FOR THE THIRD STRAIGHT RACE "Qualifying is a big "hats off" to all of my guys. Winning the pole for the third-straight time is a great reward for all of their hard work. We've been working really hard. All of the guys on the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team make a great family. Tomorrow is going to be really, really physical, and you need to be very focused. We are going to be passing cars right and left. The most important thing to do is to be patient and bring the car home. That will lead to a good result."

Bill Auberlen, driver of the Prototype Technology Group No. 21 BMW M3 Acxiom Grand Touring Challenge GT Class Fast Qualifer

ON THE CAR "The M3 has been very good every session, and I am extremely happy with where we are now. The team made progress every time we were on the track. It was back and forth during qualifying for a while, but we got it. The team will work hard tonight to ensure the car is perfect."

Craig Stanton, driver of the AASCO Motorsports No. 16 Porsche GT3 Cup Acxiom Grand Touring Challenge SGS Fast Qualifier

ON POSTING THE FASTEST SGS CLASS TIME IN QUALIFYING "The team's pulling together really well this weekend. We feel like we need to vindicate ourselves a little bit here. We had a really good test last week where we approached it like a race weekend. We got a very good handle on the No. 16 Porsche. We figure we saved a day here at Phoenix with that test. It really paid off. We were first out to qualify. It took about half a lap to get the tire temps up. So I wanted to get a good run for the team. That was a good lap. I'm pretty pleased with that lap."

Luis Diaz, driver of the CompUSA Chip Ganassi Racing No. 02 Lexus Riley Outside polesitter for the Food City 250

ON STARTING ON THE FRONT ROW "It has really been a great beginning (of the season) for me. All of the hard work from our guys make our jobs a lot easier. After what happened in Homestead, everyone supported me and helped me to get my confidence back. I don't think anyone here has ever had experience with so many cars on the track at the same time. This race is going to be very exciting."

Oswaldo Negri Jr., driver of the Michael Shank Racing No. 6 Lexus Doran Qualified third for the Food City 250

ON QUALIFYING "This is a fantastic result for us and really shows how strong this team is even though we don't have the level of financing as some of the other teams. We haven't been able to test since the last race, but we thought through what we were going to do for qualifying and waited after the session started to get he best track temp and some clear space before going out. Burt's (Frisselle) dad was watching from the spotter stand, and was on the radio to me to make sure I was able to get a clear lap, so it was a real team effort today."

ON THE RACE "Tomorrow is going to be a big challenge, every corner will be a lottery with all the traffic, and I am certainly hoping to win the lottery!"

Wayne Taylor, driver of the SunTrust Racing No. 10 Pontiac Riley Qualified fourth for the Food City 250

ON HIS QUALIFYING TIME "I'm a bit disappointed not to start from the front row, because the car has been so good all weekend. The track felt pretty slippery, but we decided not to try and chase the setup in the heat of the afternoon sessions because of the late day race start. Max and I are confident we have a good setup for the race, even though we've compromised a bit for qualifying."

Elliot Forbes-Robinson, driver of the Howard-Boss Motorsports No. 4 Pontiac Crawford Qualified sixth for the Food City 250

ON HIS QUALIFYING TIME "That's not as good as we would have liked, but it's much better than we practiced. We really changed a lot of things - springs, ride height, etc. - between practice and qualifying and didn't get that many laps of practice anyway. This will be a good car for the race."

Forest Barber, driver of the Kodak Bell Motorsports No. 54 Pontiac Doran Qualified 12th for the Food City 250

ON THE CAR "We made a lot of progress with the Kodak EasyShare car today. My confidence in it is much greater than it was yesterday, because I improved my lap times about three seconds today. That's a lot to pick up. The improvements came in two areas: getting the car to have more front grip, and talking with Terry (Borcheller) and Brian Sakata (data acquisition and coach) helped me improve my lines. I think the car will be very good for the race. Terry was running in the top three in practice. I'll start the race tomorrow and my goal is to try to stay out of trouble and give him a good car for the second half of the race. We need to stay out of trouble and see if we can finish in a good spot."

Fredy Lienhard Sr., driver of the Doran-Lista Racing No. 27 Lexus Doran Qualified 14th for the Food City 250

ON QUALIFYING "I was working hard but only one lap counts in qualifying! The car still has a bit of understeer in the banking, but I was able to drive normally. For me it's important to have good, consistent laps, so for me it was OK. I'm not far off from the fastest drivers. If I could pick up a half-second, I'd be with the next group, but I need to practice more to be able to do that. I haven't driven since the Rolex 24 At Daytona.

ON THE TRACK "It's a nice little track. Our goal tomorrow will be to stay out of trouble and have no problems to the finish. That's my style, and that's our strategy."

Michael Shank, team owner of Michael Shank Racing No. 6 Lexus Doran Qualified third for the Food City 250

ON QUALIFYING "This is mega for us. We of course need to keep working to see what we can do to get ourselves on the pole, but to be third here is really fantastic for us and for Lexus. It was a good strategy the team came up with to hold Oswaldo in the pits until we were able to find a clear lap, and it paid off for us. The traffic tomorrow is going to affect everyone in the field, but it is certainly an advantage to be starting so close to the front."

Justin Marks, driver of the Prototype Technology Group No. 22 BMW M3 Qualified second in the GT class

ON THE TRACK "The track has changed a lot, but we have tried to focus on changes that will help us in the race. I think the car was as good as it could have been for qualifying. The times are all very close, but I think we may still be able to find a little bit more speed for the race."

Joe Policastro, driver of the Orbit Racing No. 44 Porsche GT3 RS Qualified ninth in the GT class

ON QUALIFYING "Mike gave me some pointers about how I could knock a couple of seconds off [the lap times] and they really worked. I ran into some traffic coming onto the track, but I had a couple of clear laps when I could get my foot into it. When we get out for the race, it's going to be tight initially, so we're going to have to be very careful at the start. It's going to require some real good strategy to play all our strong points."

ON THE TRANSITION FROM NIGHT TO DAY "The transition period is not the difficult one; the difficult one is when the sun is going down," he explained. "When I get in, the track and the air will be a little cooler, so I'm thrilled to not be driving when it's daylight. But it's a very physical track, much like go-karting. It's going to take a lot of upper-body movement. That will be the biggest challenge of the race."

Rodger Hawley, owner of the Orbit Racing No. 44 Porsche GT3 RS Qualified ninth in the GT class

ON GRAND AMERICAN'S EFFORTS FOR EQUALITY "It's a driver's series, which is pretty cool. Instead of battling with different tires and different engine specifications, it's a bunch of drivers out racing cars," he noted. "I think the Porsche has some inherent advantages, but the BMW has a couple of really quick drivers, so we have parity. The BMW drivers have to overcome what we have technically, and we have to overcome a little what [BMW driver] Bill Auberlen can do."

Tom Milner, owner of the Prototype Technology Group Qualified first and second in the GT class

ON QUALIFYING "We are happy to be on the pole, but tomorrow will be a tough race given that the top-four qualifier are within four-tenths of a second."

-garra-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Kyle Petty , Max Papis , Wayne Taylor , Fredy Lienhard , Bill Auberlen , Luis Diaz , Devon Powell , Gunnar Jeannette , Justin Marks , Craig Stanton , Greg Wilkins , Forest Barber , Oswaldo Negri Jr. , Chip Ganassi , Michael Shank , Felix Sabates
Teams Chip Ganassi Racing , Michael Shank Racing