Theys puts Doran on Watkins Glen pole

Qualifying for the Bully Hill Vineyards 250 at Watkins Glen was business as usual for the Grand-Am field. The Doran and Dyson Racing teams lead a grid of 24 cars remarkable for the speed on track and consistent performance of the top competitive...

Qualifying for the Bully Hill Vineyards 250 at Watkins Glen was business as usual for the Grand-Am field. The Doran and Dyson Racing teams lead a grid of 24 cars remarkable for the speed on track and consistent performance of the top competitive teams. Contenders for the season championships ran nearly trouble free; the grid reflects a true measure of their competitive pace on this blindingly fast 2.45 mile circuit.

The Doran and Dyson teams have dominated sportscar racing at Watkins Glen over the last eight years, with one or the other of the two teams winning every single race contended in that period. These two teams continued that dominance today with Doran qualifying their #27 Dallara-Judd on pole and the Dyson #20 and #16 Riley and Scott Ford entries lining up behind. The # 74 Robinson Racing Riley and Scott Judd placed fourth.

The pace of these cars was extraordinary. The top three cars broke the existing SRP track record. Didier Theys in the #27 turned a lap of 1:02.890, nearly a full second under the existing track record and an average speed of over 140 mph.

The speed of the Doran entry is a positive change from Watkins Glen race in July, where the car suffered from a lack of grip and engine problems. "We had a chance to go testing and get some more speed out of the car," according to Didier Theys. As in Daytona, one month ago, there were no signs of engine problems.

Qualifiers for SRPII also broke their existing lap record. Terry Borcheller's lap of 1:07.362 improved on the existing record by more than one second and placed his #8 Nissan-Lola a second and a half clear of his team's other entry, the #7.

The GTS class, the only category not to set a qualifying record, had a surprise fastest qualifier. Park Place Saleen, based on the West Coast, decided not to ship their car east and borrowed the Konrad ALMS entry instead. Saleen trails Porsche in the GTS manufacturers chase by only a few points so the factory stepped in to make this car exchange possible. Chris Bingham, GTS point leader, returns with new partner Franz Konrad. "The two Saleens are almost identical. The big difference is in the shocks. I preferred our (Park Place) car for Watkins Glen because I'm able to easily run through the esses flat. The Konrad car is a little softer," explained Chris.

GT was led by the Ferrari of Washington 360 Modena. The team, coming off two consecutive race wins, broke the existing lap record by more than a second. Driver Bill Auberlen: "I've never been in a car that balanced before. We gave Ferrari a list of things to change and they gave us all of that and more." Their fastest competitor, the Mosler, was the only car to crash during qualifying. The 03 Marcos lies third in class.

AGT pole was captured by Heritage Motorsports in another record time. The team was more than a second clear of any other AGT car. Season points leader Flis motor sports has withdrawn their AGT entries for the duration of the year leaving the points race wide open.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Chris Bingham , Didier Theys , Bill Auberlen
Teams Dyson Racing