Watkins Glen: Finlay Motorsports Saturday report

Finlay Motorsports Driver Michael McDowell Gives The Team It's Best-Every Qualifying Effort, Will Start Third In Sunday's Sahlen's Six Hours Of The Glen After three days of incremental improvements, Finlay Motorsports driver Michael...

Finlay Motorsports Driver Michael McDowell Gives The Team It's Best-Every Qualifying Effort, Will Start Third In Sunday's Sahlen's Six Hours Of The Glen

After three days of incremental improvements, Finlay Motorsports driver Michael McDowell engaged in a fingernail-biting, down-to-the-last-lap battle with the top teams in the Grand American Rolex series during Saturday's 15-minute qualifying session -- and after being bested by a mere half second on the very last lap by last year's pole-sitter, qualified the team's #19 Air Force Reserve / Make A Wish Dinan-powered BMW Riley at 1:46.139 (115.320 mph), good for third on the grid for the 10:00 am ET start of tomorrow's Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen. Having qualified the car, McDowell will start the race and alternate driving duties with co-driver Memo Gidley.

The SunTrust team of Max Angelelli and Wayne Taylor grabbed the pole with a lap of 1:45.687 (115.814 mph), followed by the CompUSA team of Scott Pruett and Luis Diaz, who turned a lap of 1:45.959 (115.516 mph).

"We were all playing a game out there, trying to go just that little bit faster than the other guy and still leave a little bit in reserve in case you need it," said the 20 year-old phenom from Phoenix. "I had a little bit left, but so did Angelelli. Still, this is the best qualifying result we've had so far, and the car is feeling extremely strong. Anything can happen in a six hour race, and usually does, but the Finlay team has a really good chance of scoring our first victory this weekend, and Memo and I are going to do our very best to make sure that happens."

All in all, a major step forward from last year, when team owner Rob Finlay was a new graduate of the Bob Bondurant School of High Performance Driving making his first start in a professional race, co-driving in the Saturday Grand Am Cup race with his racing school instructor, Michael McDowell.J

The duo of Finlay and McDowell teamed again this afternoon in the team's #60 Air Force Reserve / Make A Wish / Commercial Defeasance BMW M3 for the Chemung Canal Trust 200 for Grand Am Cup event. After being unable to get a clear lap in qualifying and being forced to settle for 22nd on the starting grid, Finlay drove the first 28 laps of the 2 0x00bd-hour event and handed the car over to McDowell in 17th place. Quick pit work got the car back out in 11th, and McDowell carved his way through the field into 5th place before being rammed by another car and slamming into the tire barrier. The Finlay Motorsports crew was able to make repairs and return McDowell to the track, but the remainder of the race was liberally punctuated with full course yellow flags, and the race ended under yellow with McDowell mired in 36th.

The Chemung Canal Trust Grand Am Cup race will be broadcast on the SPEED Channel at 5:00 pm ET, Sunday, June 19. A re-broadcast will air on SPEED at 1:00 pm ET, Tuesday, June 21.

Sunday's main event, the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen for the Rolex Sports Car Series - with is scheduled to take the green flag at 10:00 am ET Sunday, June 12. The race will be broadcast live, in two parts, on the SPEED Channel. Part 1 begins at 10:00 am ET, with Part 2 airing at 12:30 pm ET.

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Scott Pruett , Wayne Taylor , Luis Diaz , Bob Bondurant , Michael McDowell , Max Angelelli , Rob Finlay