DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 9, 2002) - David Empringham captured the pole this morning for today's Grand-Am Cup six-hour race, part of the Dark Dog Grand American finale at Daytona International Speedway this weekend. Empringham piloted the ...
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (November 9, 2002) - David Empringham captured the pole this morning for today's Grand-Am Cup six-hour race, part of the Dark Dog Grand American finale at Daytona International Speedway this weekend. Empringham piloted the Doncaster Racing #76 Porsche to a new Grand Sport I track record with his 107.069 mph lap in 1:59.699, picking up his first pole of the season.
Typically Empringham's co-driver, Scott Maxwell, drives the Porsche during qualifying, however the team's strategy changed for the final race as Maxwell fights for the Grand Sport I driver championship.
"It's a strange scenario in that for Scott to win the championship if our car finishes first, we need to have another car between us and Powell. It needs to be a two-car difference. So we are trying to do it so I get out of the #76 car and into the #7 car, our other team car, for the last stint so that we can hopefully have both of the cars at the front," explained Empringham. "Of course that is all in a perfect world."
The cool morning temperatures aided in several track records being broken during qualifying. Charles Espenlaub broke his own track record in the Grand Sport II class, posting a 100.069 mph lap in 2:08.071 behind the wheel of the Pegasus Racing #97 Firebird.
Pete Halsmer also set a new record in the Sport Touring I class. "I think the cool morning qualifying helps. The Acura is just a good little car. The team has just worked really hard at it. It's a brand new car so they had a lot of work to do to make the cars descent on the race track, but when they finally got some of the stuff done the cars have really come together." noted Halsmer, who clocked a 2:13.517 lap at 95.988 mph in the Honda of America Race Team #00 Acura RSX on the final lap of qualifying to take the ST I pole away from points leader Jean-Francois Dumoulin in the Team Lexus #2 IS300.
"We were pretty quick, but we could have done a little bit better. Our car was really good on the second lap with new tires, but then it fades pretty equally for a while. It was too bad about the pole, but I think that we will be there for the race and the six hours. We've got to keep it together and make it to the end," remarked Dumoulin.
Team Ford Focus Racing captured its first pole of the season, with the #99 Focus posting the quickest time in the Sport Touring II class, while its team car, the #99, posted the third-quickest time in the class.
"It feels great to get my first pole in this series. The Team Ford Focus ran great. It was unbelievable, just terrific. Jim (Harrell) has been doing a really great job of improving these cars every race, and it certainly paid off this time," said Zave Aberman, who recorded a 88.490 mph lap in 2:24.830.
Grand-Am Cup will wrap up its 2002 season with a six-hour race this afternoon at 2:30 p.m. Tickets for the event are on sale and may be purchased at the gate. Additional information is available on the Daytona International Speedway website at www.daytonainternationalspeedway.com or by calling the Speedway ticket office at 386-253-RACE.
Additional information about Grand-Am Cup may be found online at www.grandamerican.com.