SCC: Iowa: Series qualifying notes

TRG's Scott Schroeder Claims Pole for Sunday Afternoon's Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Race at Iowa Speedway Steven Ott records first KONI Challenge pole with an ST track record NEWTON, Iowa (Aug. 10, 2008) - Scott Schroeder set a qualifying ...

TRG's Scott Schroeder Claims Pole for Sunday Afternoon's Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Race at Iowa Speedway
Steven Ott records first KONI Challenge pole with an ST track record

NEWTON, Iowa (Aug. 10, 2008) - Scott Schroeder set a qualifying track record in Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Grand Sport (GS) qualifying Sunday morning at Iowa Speedway - earning his first career KONI Challenge Series pole - and will lead the field to the start of the 250-mile race, with a two-and-a-half hour time limit, at 5 p.m. CT Sunday.

Schroeder set a lap of 49.302 seconds (94.925 mph) during the 15-minute session Sunday in the No. 41 TRG Carlsen Porsche/Cohen Financial Porsche 997. He will be joined by Andy Lally, who won last year in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 GT race.

Sharing the front row is Joe Foster, who stopped the clock at 49.577 seconds (94.399 seconds), also faster than the previous track record. Foster will team with Scott Maxwell in the No. 55 Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT. The two look to win their season-best third victory this afternoon.

Overall, six drivers bested Don Salama's year-old record of 50.099 seconds (93.415 mph). Salama was third on the charts with a time of 49.598 seconds (94.359 mph) in the No. 97 Turner Motorsport BMW M3. Others breaking the track record were Andrew Davis (49.815 seconds; 93.948 mph) in the No. 78 Maxwell Paper Products Porsche 997, series point co-leader and defending champion Jep Thornton (49.868 seconds; 93.848 mph) in the No. 09 Automatic Racing Imported Car Store/Land Air BMW M3, and Salama's teammate Matthew Alhadeff (49.876 seconds; 93.833 mph) in the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M3.

In ST, Steven Ott took his first career pole - also with a track record - and the team's first ever KONI Challenge pole after posting a time of 51.245 seconds (91.326 mph). The time was also 14th quickest overall. Ott, in the No. 51 Brass Mitchell Racing Mazda RX-8, will look for his first career KONI Challenge victory in teaming with co-driver Tony Rivera.

Starting second will be Andrew Carbonell, who turned a time of 51.266 seconds (91.289 mph) in the No. 146 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5. Carbonell, driving the car with Tom Long, tried several times to find the right gap and put in a good flying lap to best Ott's time. However, Carbonell came up 0.021 seconds short.

Lawson Aschenbach and Adam Burrows make up the second row in the ST class and also broke the previous track record. Aschenbach, substituting for Eric Curran in the No. 01 Georgian Bay Motorsports Chevrolet Cobalt SS, earned a time of 51.303 seconds (91.223 mph). Aschenbach will drive with Jamie Holtom - who owns two ST victories this season - in the No. 01. Burrows, the defending series champion and most recent ST co-winner with Trevor Hopwood, posted a time of 51.340 seconds (91.157 mph).

Toby Grahovec rounded out the top five in ST qualifying with a time of 51.854 seconds (90.253 mph) in the No. 86 Classic BMW-Plano BMW Z4 he shares with Pierre Kleinubing.

Overall, 15 GS cars took times, while 24 ST cars earned times.

FRONT-ROW DRIVER QUOTES

Scott Schroeder (No. 41 TRG Porsche 997): "The TRG car is really good. We pretty much rolled off the trailer on Friday with the car at the top of the charts. We fiddled with a couple of things to get the balance a little better, but the pace was always there. Things went well in qualifying. I laid down a quick lap my first lap out there but then Joe Foster beat me, so I had take another couple of laps to regain my pole. I'm excited. The whole team is excited. It's my first-ever career pole. I look forward to the race and I think we should do well.

"This track creates a lot of challenges, especially in that it is tough to pass. Having the ST cars in the picture doesn't help due to the fact that they are lighter and can keep the same pace with us in the infield. When you get up on the banking, believe it or not, it can be hard to get around these ST cars. I think that we'll just have to be patient and work our way through it and remember it's a two-and-a-half hour race."

Joe Foster (No. 55 Hyper Sport Ford Mustang GT): "I want to congratulate TRG and Scott for his first pole. He's been doing really well. They really have a good environment around him, with good coaching and a great car. We did better in qualifying than we expected. This is a technical track in the infield with not a whole lot of grip and then it's tight on the straightaway. Obviously, what the Mustang does well is go down the straightaway. I will say that the kind of abuse we had to dish out to the car to get that lap is not something we can do repeatedly. With qualifying, you just need one lap, so the Hyper Sport Mustang ran great for that one lap and then we stopped. I sat most of the session actually. It was much cooler this morning than yesterday, so that was a bit of a lottery for everybody in terms of handling. We made a couple of changes that worked.

"I think the race will be a battle of track management, car management and trying to be patient. It's very easy to get very aggressive. My teammate, Scott, and I learned that when we drove aggressively, we actually slowed down and made mistakes. The infield here doesn't get used much, so it doesn't have much grip. This track rewards patience."

Steven Ott (No. 51 Brass Mitchell Racing Mazda RX-8): "We had practice this morning and had an old set of tires on, so we were a little worried going in, but we put on a new set of tires and went out and the car just did great. It just kept getting faster and faster and faster, and these tires seem to have about five or six good laps before they fall off. It's just important to get a clear track before we started, and luckily, I didn't have any traffic around me and was just able to run out laps. It worked out really well. My crew was out there telling me what was going on from the tower, and once we got a good lap we just pulled in because the tires were falling off at that point anyway.

"The beginning (of the race) should be okay until the GS cars start lapping us. It's going to be a little bit crowded, but we have an advantage with the (Mazda) RX-8 where we can brake really late. We have a little bit more ability to maneuver, so we can get the car stopped well in case something happens. I think it will be crowded, but everybody's been really well behaved. It should be a pretty fun race, and clean too, I hope."

Andrew Carbonell (No. 146 Freedom Autosport Mazda MX-5): "It was good; it was exciting. I've never had the chance to qualify so well and with the right car. Freedom gave me a great car. It will be interesting racing with GS. The good thing is that I'm on the front row. With GS, it'll probably take them a little longer to catch me, but we might actually be stuck with the back of their pack because their times are so close. It'll be all about choices - picking your moves and where you want to be on the race track. It's going to be a matter of staying strong and staying smart."

-credit: garra

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Scott Maxwell , Andy Lally , Lawson Aschenbach , Pierre Kleinubing , Eric Curran , Tom Long , Toby Grahovec , Don Salama , Andrew Davis , Jep Thornton , Steven Ott , Joe Foster , Matthew Alhadeff , Scott Schroeder , Trevor Hopwood , Adam Burrows , Andrew Carbonell
Teams Turner Motorsport , Automatic Racing , Freedom Autosport