GAINSCO Pontiac Qualfifies Second In Quest For Grand-Am DP Championship Banner Racing GXP.R on Pole in GT - Sets New Track Record The Pontiac powered GAINSCO Riley driven by Alex Gurney qualified second for the final round of the Grand-Am Rolex...
GAINSCO Pontiac Qualfifies Second In Quest For Grand-Am DP Championship
Banner Racing GXP.R on Pole in GT - Sets New Track Record
The Pontiac powered GAINSCO Riley driven by Alex Gurney qualified second for the final round of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve race at Miller Motorsport Park in Salt Lake City tomorrow. The GAINSCO team is currently leading the Daytona Prototype (DP) points chase by one. In GT, Paul Edwards put the No. 07 Banner Pontiac GXP.R on the pole for the seven hour Sunchaser 1000k.
A tight points battle surrounds Pontiac-powered competitors GAINSCO and Suntrust. GAINSCO is leading the DP points with 385, over the second place runner Scott Pruett, in a Lexus Riley with 384 points. In third place, just three points out, is SunTrust Wayne Taylor Racing and its driver Max Angelelli in his Pontiac Riley with 382 points.
GAINSCO will start next to the No. 01 Lexus team, which took the pole and is second in the point standings. Drivers Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty will start from the front row based on their qualifying time of 2:40.844. The Texas team has to add win number eight to its season total to take the championship tomorrow.
"I am disappointed, I wanted the pole," Gurney said. "I made a call on the front downforce of the car before qualifying and probably didn't make the right one. I was pretty loose on the first lap which is usually the fastest on these tires. On the second lap there was gravel spread across the track and that made it a little slippery. Starting on the front row is good, we have started there every race this year. We hope to have good pit stops and strategy tomorrow and finish upfront."
SunTrust Wayne Taylor Racing is also in contention for the championship, just three points out in third. Lead driver Max Angelelli qualified his Pontiac Riley eighth with a time of 2:41.433. Angelelli shares the No. 10 with Jan Magnussen.
"It's a long race and one where anything can happen, so qualifying does not matter nearly as much as it does on most of the tracks we go to," Angelelli said. "We'll have a lot of work to do between now and the warm-up and the race because there are so many different things that the car is doing that we have to work on. It's depressing to start the race knowing you don't have the car to beat. At least not right now. But a lot of things can happen between now and tomorrow. It's going to be a fight, and it's not going to be easy. We're a very good team and there is a lot of fight in this SunTrust group."
In related news, Wayne Taylor Racing announced today that his SunTrust team will campaign a new Dallara chassis with Pontiac power starting at Homestead in 2008.
Christian Fittipaldi, driving the No. 39 Crown Royal Special Reserve Pontiac Fabcar, qualified seventh with a time of 2:41.406. Fittipaldi is teamed this weekend with Harrison Brix and Richard Antinucci.
"I had a lot of understeer," Fittipaldi said. "The car is 20-times better than last year. I was hoping to qualify somewhere around second. We just need to work on getting the front planted into the corner and we will be a lot better. We have some things to try for the warm-up."
Colin Braun returns to the wheel of the No. 75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley after a one race suspension. The 18-year old phenom qualified in 11th with a time of 2:41.788. He will hand the car over to teammate Nic Jonsson.
"The car had a big push," Braun said. "We made a change before qualifying and I think we went the wrong way. The car wasn't so good in qualifying, pushing through the corner and there a lot of them here. We need to make some improvements for the race, but the Krohn guys will be on top of it for the warm-up."
Paul Edwards qualified the No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R on pole in GT with a new track record time of 2:54.165. Edwards is teamed with regular Kelly Collins and third driver Andy Pilgrim.
"That was the first time we had new rubber on the car all weekend," Edwards said. "We ran scrubs all practice and still led every session, so we just carried the performance over to qualifying. We made a few changes after the last practice and that just improved the car. We wanted to save our new rubber for the race. All that is left to do is win!"
In the No. 06 team GXP.R, Leighton Reese ran a time of 2:56.893, which is seventh quickest in GT. Reese is teamed with Tim Lewis Jr. and Corvette driver Johnny O'Connell.
"The car had a high speed push," Reese said. "I made a small mistake in turn seven, got up on the shark teeth and had to check-up. That cost me a second easy. So I left some time out there, it would have been nice to start on the front row with Paul. Paul did a great job and the Banner Racing guys will be ready for seven hours of fun tomorrow."
-credit: gm racing