SCC: Phoenix: Qualifying notes

Pumpelly Takes Pole for Grand-Am Cup Avondale Mazda 200 GS Race PHOENIX, Ariz. (May 11, 2006) -- Spencer Pumpelly posted a best lap at 1:07.332 (80.734 mph) in Thursday's qualifying session at Phoenix International Raceway to take the pole ...

Pumpelly Takes Pole for Grand-Am Cup Avondale Mazda 200 GS Race

PHOENIX, Ariz. (May 11, 2006) -- Spencer Pumpelly posted a best lap at 1:07.332 (80.734 mph) in Thursday's qualifying session at Phoenix International Raceway to take the pole position for Saturday's Grand-Am Cup Series Avondale Mazda 200 Grand Sport (GS) race.

It is the second-consecutive Grand-Am Cup pole position for the No. 49 Porsche of Lexington/TGB Scooters/ Cobra Powersports Porsche 997, as Pumpelly's Marcus Motorsports co-driver, Andy Lally, took the pole for last weekend's U.S. Sports Car Invitational at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Pumpelly and Lally are still looking for their first Grand-Am Cup race victory of the season.

"I obviously can't say enough for Marcus Motorsports and the job they're doing,"Pumpelly said. "The effort from these guys has been unrelentless, even since last weekend at Laguna Seca. We fought a bit of an ABS issue, but it's good to be in front. I've got to thank Evolution Motorsports, Porsche of Lexington and CDOC for all their support. For us, it's pretty important to start up front. We're hoping for a green race and to stay in front, because if we get stuck behind a Mustang, it's going to be tough. The real race is going to be in the second half. We've got Andy Lally to drive and we're going to be in good hands."

Starting second for the second week in-a-row will be Mark Plummer in the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche Carrera with a best qualifying lap at 1:07.713 (80.280 mph). Plummer will once again share the No. 38 machine with 2004 Grand-Am Cup GS champion Craig Stanton, and like Lally and Pumpelly, they too are looking for their first race victory of the season.

"The car is good," Plummer said. "I jumped off the plane and I had about an hour to get here. I jumped in the car and it was all right during the first session, when we were fourth. We huddled up and made some significant changes, and we went a lot quicker. We're happy with that. We're going to take the car out tomorrow during practice and run it with the race setup. It's important to start up front every race, especially on a track of this size. I remember two years ago, I think I was third and was the last car on the lead lap, so it's important to stay on the lead lap."

Eric Lux qualified third in the No. 175 Rembrandt Charms Porsche 996 with a lap at 1:07.738 (80.250 mph) for Tafel Racing. It was Lux's second-straight third-place qualifying performance and was particularly impressive given the fact that he only made two laps during the qualifying session. Lux and co-driver Charles Espenlaub won the season-opening Grand-Am Cup 200 at Daytona International Speedway in January and are looking for their second victory this weekend.

"This car is excellent," Lux said. "However, I only got two laps because I had a fuel pickup problem. Once we can get the car electrically correct, I think we'll have an unbeatable car. I have the perfect co-driver in Charles Espenlaub. He does a really good job helping me and keeping me focused. Tafel Racing has done a great job in preparing the car for us, and we just bought the car a couple of months ago. It should be an exciting race."

David Russell qualified fourth at 1:07.775 (80.207 mph) in the No. 90 Automatic Racing BMW M3 he shares with co-driver Jeff Segal. Tim Traver rounded out the top five in the No. 83 BGB Motorsports Porsche Carrera at 1:07.778 (80.203 mph). Traver's co-driver is Mikel Miller. The top eight cars qualified within one second of each other.

PLUMB EARNS ST CLASS POLE FOR AVONDALE MAZDA 200

In qualifying for Saturday's Avondale Mazda 200 Street Tuner (ST) race, Hugh Plumb claimed the pole position in the No. 27 Bill Fenton Motorsports Acura RSX-S with a lap at 1:09.424 (78.301 mph). He will co-drive the car with his brother, Matt Plumb, in the race, and the duo is looking for their first victory of the season in the Avondale 200.

"After last weekend, we needed a boost, and this will do it for the team," said Hugh Plumb. "It's obviously only qualifying, but we've got a great car for the race. The key is going to be who can conserve their tires the most over their stint. I think the race dynamics with having a single-class race are much different than the last couple of weeks. As opposed to who can pit first and get out under yellow, this race will be more of making the driver change and hammer down for an hour and a half. This is the way it should be."

Travis Walker led a front-row sweep for Acura with a lap at 1:09.730 (77.958 mph) in the No. 75 Kensai Racing Acura RSX-S. Walker is making his first-ever appearance at Phoenix International Raceway and is sharing the No. 75 machine with Aaron Povoledo.

"It's my first time here in Phoenix," Walker said. "I took the car out in the first practice and I knew what to do right away. My crew chief did a great job with the car. I told him what I needed with the handling and he gave it to me. I'm really happy to be on the front row here, especially after a disappointing race at Laguna Seca where we had a great car."

Qualifying third was Will Turner in the No. 95 Turner Motorsport BMW 330i with a lap at 1:09.826 (77.851 mph). Turner and co-driver Don Salama have finished on the podium several times in the past few years of Grand-Am Cup Series competition, but the duo is still looking for its first class victory.

"I'd obviously rather be P1 but starting on the second row is good here," Turner said. "Qualifying here isn't that important because we won't have the GS cars out there to deal with in the race. The key here is going to be who can keep their car cool for one hour and 45 minutes and have a 15-minute sprint to the end. It has been so frustrating the last couple of races, and some leading ST cars got caught up racing with some of the backmarker GS cars. It's something everybody has to deal with, but you want to be racing cars in your class and not have anybody else to deal with."

Mike Galati qualified fourth with a best lap at 1:09.841 (77.834 mph) in the No. 144 Davis Motorsports Acura RSX-S he shares with Bob Endicott. Taz Harvey rounded out the top five in the No. 76 Kensai Racing Acura RSX-S at 1:09.889 (77.780 mph). Harvey's co-driver is Nicolas Rondet. The top nine cars qualified within one second.

-garra-

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Andy Lally , Will Turner , Taz Harvey , Charles Espenlaub , Spencer Pumpelly , Don Salama , Hugh Plumb , Craig Stanton , Bill Fenton , Aaron Povoledo , Bob Endicott , Mark Plummer , Jeff Segal , Matt Plumb , Eric Lux , Tim Traver , Mikel Miller , Travis Walker , David Russell
Teams Turner Motorsport , Automatic Racing