Last Lap Boosts Wagner From Basement in Watkins Glen Qualifier WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (September 23, 2005) -- As the cloud of smoke began to thin out on pit lane behind the no.02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley much like the early morning NY...
Last Lap Boosts Wagner From Basement in Watkins Glen Qualifier
WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (September 23, 2005) -- As the cloud of smoke began to thin out on pit lane behind the no.02 New Century Mortgage Lexus-Riley much like the early morning NY fog, Cort Wagner was hoping to go 10-tenths and snag the pole for tomorrow's Crown Royal 250 when the green flag opened up qualifying. And even after surviving an early off that almost kept the New Century Mortgage Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates team out of qualifying contention, Wagner was able to storm back from nearly dead last on the timing charts to clock in third on his eighth and final lap of the 15-minute session.
With the pressure mounting on his third and fourth laps and traffic shuffling him back in the qualifying scramble, Wagner remained calm. The 2002-2003 Rolex Series GT champion pushed his Lexus-powered Daytona Prototype to the limit, resulting in the third fastest time at 1:45.080 (116.483mph) just before session's end.
"My last lap was wicked fast, but the car had a push and I got bit on the exit of turn 5 [on third lap]," said Wagner of his last minute flyer. "After that, I got held up in traffic for the next three or four laps, and I'm sure the team was wondering when I would put a lap down. I told them I would as soon as I got out of traffic, and I backed it up. I wanted it to be an all-CGR front row with [CGR teammate] Luis [Diaz] on pole, but we'll take third today."
Combined with Diaz' pole run in the no.01 CompUSA Lexus-Riley, the 1-3 start marks the team's best combined qualifying effort this season. The only race where the team had a higher combined qualifying result was Phoenix last season when Pruett drove with Max Papis and Diaz paired with Jimmy Morales for a 1-2 start.