ALTON, Va. (October 8, 2005) -- Officials from Grand American awarded Daytona Prototype teams a 30-minute practice session instead of qualifying in wet weather conditions today at Virginia International Raceway, resulting in a starting grid that...
ALTON, Va. (October 8, 2005) -- Officials from Grand American awarded Daytona Prototype teams a 30-minute practice session instead of qualifying in wet weather conditions today at Virginia International Raceway, resulting in a starting grid that reflects the team standings in the Rolex Sports Car Series championship points race. New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates and drivers Stefan Johansson and Cort Wagner will line up in the third row based on the decision with a sixth-place starting spot when the green flag flies over tomorrow's 77-lap (2:45 minute) Round 13 event at VIR.
As has been the case all weekend for competitors, intermittent rain has kept fast lap times at bay on the 3.27-mile circuit, but Johansson was able to clock in a top time of 2:08.136 (91.871 mph) in the final practice of the day, earning the no.02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley the fourth fastest lap of the session. The Swede will be feverishly trying to tame the 17-turn circuit on Sunday, but found humor in the qualifying quandary that resulted in his green-and-gold DP starting in the third row.
"Well, it's better than starting in the fourth row," joked the former Formula One and Champ Car pilot after qualifying was nixed.
Co-driver Wagner offered up a bit more insight on what to expect from the team in terms of the starting grid as it now stands.
"It's advantageous to us in that we're in that top group in points, said Wagner. "The top six cars are obviously up in the points for a reason, so we should be in pretty good company in that area. I think we'll be alright as long as we maintain our position and hold our ground within that lead pack from the start. As long as everyone else keeps their nose clean we should be all set for a good show."
Fans of New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates can catch the no.02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley in action at the VIR 400 at Virginia International Raceway tomorrow at 1:00 pm ET (LIVE, SPEED Channel). Follow the team's progress throughout the race weekend by logging on to the Rolex Sports Car Series website at www.grandamerican.com for free live timing, and keep up with the team's successes throughout the 2005 season by logging onto the official website at www.chipganassiracing.com for news, features, photos and much more.