Constantine, Wittmer Claim Poles for Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Fresh From Florida 200 DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 24, 2008) -- Fall-Line Motorsports driver Tommy Constantine put together a strong two-lap effort in Grand-Am KONI Challenge...
Constantine, Wittmer Claim Poles for Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Fresh From Florida 200
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (January 24, 2008) -- Fall-Line Motorsports driver Tommy Constantine put together a strong two-lap effort in Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series qualifying Thursday evening at Daytona International Speedway, coming away with the pole for Friday's three-hour Fresh From Florida 200, which starts at 2:15 p.m.
Constantine took the No. 46 Playboy/Vervel/TASER/Palms BMW M3 to a best lap time of 2:05.085 (102.458) over the 15-minute qualifying session, cruising to the pole more than a half second ahead of outside front row starter Andy Hauck III. The effort, which came in light rain, marked the first KONI Challenge pole for Constantine, who debuted in the series in 2006.
"We saw the rain coming and we knew that we had to get a fast lap in right away," Constantine said. "We really went for it right away on cold tires, knowing that the track was getting wetter and wetter. There were actually a couple of corners that were slightly wet, even on the first lap, so we knew that would affect the lap time. We went for it everywhere we could, until it got worse and everybody had to stop.
"It's great to be here, because we had such a bad year last year, with bad luck and mechanical problems," Constantine continued. "We were just happy that the car started this year, and the Fall-Line guys have done an amazing job. For us to be as good as we are here on a high-horsepower track, we are looking to the shorter tracks that suit this car even more."
Hauck, in the No. 23 Wright Motorsports Porsche 997, set a time of 2:05.734 (101.929 mph) in his two-lap effort, and signaled luck as a sign of garnering second on the starting grid.
"First of all, it was really wet," Hauck explained. "We got lucky. We got the car together after we had a pretty big incident on the last day of the test session a few weeks ago. The crew worked hard the last two weeks to get it back together. We're just happy to be here, and we took advantage of the situation."
Rounding out the top five were Jon Miller in the No. 99 Automatic Racing Fresh From Florida/Imported Car Store BMW M3, Tim Traver in the No. 83 BGB Motorsports Performance Drink/Toro Viejo Motorsports Porsche 997 and Bret Seafuse in the No. 37 JBS Motorsports Trumansburg ShurSave Ford Mustang GT.
In ST competition, Kuno Wittmer led a front row sweep for i-MOTO Racing, winning the pole with a time of 2:09.312 (99.109 mph). Wittmer turned in three laps in the No. 32 Acura/Cobalt Friction Acura TSX just before the rain hit.
"Winning the pole is all thanks to the i-MOTO team," Wittmer said. "They really put a good car together. This race car is really well balanced. The brakes are awesome, thanks to Cobalt Friction Brakes. I think we're going to have a great start to the race tomorrow, and my teammate, Peter Cunningham, is going to take over. He has tons of experience and he's also my boss. I think we could put this car pretty close to the front. We're definitely shooting for the victory, 1-2 for the team."
Car owner Glenn Bocchino toured the 3.56-mile, 14-turn track just tenths of a second slower at 2:09.580 (98.904 mph) in the sister No. 31 Acura/Cobalt Friction Acura TSX.
"It was a great effort by the team," Bocchino said. "The car felt very good, it was the best it ever felt. It was totally hooked up. I'll drive with Nick Wittmer in the race."
The remainder of the ST top five is John Schmitt in the No. 22 HART Red Line Oil Honda Accord, Toby Grahovec in the No. 86 Classic BMW-Plano BMW Z4 and Jamie Holtom in the No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt.