Rojas shatters record with pole in Virginia

Ganassi Racing's Memo Rojas claimed the pole Friday for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway, shattering the track record by more than a second and a half in his Lexus Riley. Lapping the ...

Ganassi Racing's Memo Rojas claimed the pole Friday for the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Bosch Engineering 250 at Virginia International Raceway, shattering the track record by more than a second and a half in his Lexus Riley. Lapping the 3.27-mile, 17-turn VIR road course in 1:41.646, the Mexican driver ended up more than a half second faster than Timo Bernhard in the Penske Racing Porsche Riley. Jon Fogarty rounded out the top-three in the Gainsco Pontiac Riley.

"It was a great run by the team," said Rojas, who took the pole last year at VIR but had his time disallowed after his car failed the post-qualifying technical inspection. "The car's been quick since we rolled it off the truck. It's been great preparation by my team. Like everybody, we've been struggling economically like every other team. So we haven't really been able to test like other teams have so we were really concerned about how bad it would affect us because we haven't done anything since Daytona. And having this performance is really motivating for everybody."

Rojas trained for and competed in a triathlon during the three-month break between this weekend's race and the first race of the season in Daytona, where Rojas, Scott Pruett, and Juan Pablo Montoya finished second to the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley.

"We were on the limit," explained Bernhard, the second-place qualifier who will share his Porsche in Saturday's race with Romain Dumas. "The first two sessions we really used to get accustomed to the track because Romain and I are new to the track. We really had to learn the track. Then the rest of the time we used to work on the race car to focus on the race tomorrow. The car was great but I think our real strength will be tomorrow. That's why I am really happy we are the front row. Our lap was really good."

Burt Frisselle, driving the fastest of the two Michael Shank Ford Rileys, qualified fourth, followed by Darren Law in the Daytona winning Brumos Porsche Riley and Nic Jonsson in the Krohn Racing Ford Lola.

Eight cars eclipsed Michael Valiante's track record of 1:43.329, which was set last year. Valiante's teammate, Jon Pew, qualified seventh in the second Michael Shank entry.

In the GT class, Nick Ham's SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 was the fastest during qualifying, turning a lap of 1:51.742. Dane Cameron was second in the Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda, followed by Leh Keen in the fastest of the FarnbacherLoles Porsches.

"We were in fifth place most of the session, and I thought that that would be the best we could do," said Ham. "But as the tire pressures came up I could tell the car was getting better and better. And on the last lap I got a clear lap plus I got a tow from a Corvette on the front straight and on the back straight so it was like a fantastic killer lap (for pole)."

Saturday's race will begin at 2:30 ET and be broadcast live on Speed.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya , Nic Jönsson
Teams Team Penske , Chip Ganassi Racing , Krohn Racing , Racers Edge Motorsports , SpeedSource