Watkins Glen pole qualifying report

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 9, 2001) -- After capturing their first victory of the season at Watkins Glen International back in May, Doran Lista Racing began their quest for a sweep of The Glen's Rolex Sports Car Series races by capturing the X-1R...

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. (August 9, 2001) -- After capturing their first victory of the season at Watkins Glen International back in May, Doran Lista Racing began their quest for a sweep of The Glen's Rolex Sports Car Series races by capturing the X-1R Pole for Friday's Bully Hill Vineyards 250. Monaco's Mauro Baldi piloted the LISTA/Yokohama-sponsored #27 Judd-powered Ferrari to not only its first X-1R Pole of the season, but also the first pole won by a team other than the Dyson Racing Team.

However, Dyson's James Weaver, who has captured six X-1R Poles this season, was not that far behind Baldi and will start the Norcold/Thetford/Goodyear-sponsored #16 Ford-engined Riley & Scott in the outside pole position.

"You were flying, Mauro!" Weaver said to Baldi after qualifying. "I was told to go three seconds faster to beat you and I said, 'Don't be ridiculous! I will give you maybe one tenth of a second, but that is it.' You were bloody flying!"

Mauro quickly replied, "I know, I waved when I went by you but you didn't wave back."

Baldi's 1:03.616 lap time at 138.644 mph was the quickest of the day on the series' first running of the short course at The Glen. Weaver posted a 1:03.822 lap time on his final lap of the qualifying session for his spot on the front row.

The drama of The Glen continued for the Fordahl Motorsports/Crazy Redhead Racing #15 Porsche GT3 RS. After a dramatic wreck at the Six Hours of The Glen in May, the Porsche's woes carried into this week's race. The car first lost a tire during morning practice, and then ended up on top of a foam barrier when Randy Pobst, of Melbourne, Fla., lost control of the Porsche. The crew worked feverishly in the 100-degree temperatures to repair the car this afternoon, and Pobst was able to return to the track for qualifying, posting the fastest GT class time of the day with a 1:13.866.

"The Gs are so strong on the short course that we actually popped a tire off the wheel," Pobst explained. "I didn't blow the tire. It popped off the rim."

Andy Lally, of Northpoint, N.Y., increased his lead in the SportsRacing Prototype II (SRPII) class by clocking the fastest time in the class. Lally, who held a narrow three-point lead in the driver standings heading in the Bully Hill Vineyards 250, moved the Archangel Motorsport Services #22 Nissan-powered Lola into the class pole position on his final lap of qualifying with a 1:08.595 lap time. Scott Maxwell, of Toronto, led the SRPII class for most of the session, but went off into the gravel trap at the bus stop after recording his quickest time. Although his 1:09.000 lap time earned him the second fastest lap in the class, Maxwell will start the Quikblad/Multimatic Engineering/Venture Steel #25 Nissan Lola in the back of the pack, because its tires were ruined in the gravel. All Rolex Series cars are required to start on their qualifying tires.

Doug Goad, of Farmington Hills, Mich., tied co-driver Craig Conway, of Daytona Beach, Fla., in the American GT driver standings by picking up the class pole position bonus point today. Goad was one point behind his co-driver in the X-1R Performance Lubricants/Goodyear-sponsored #09 Corvette heading into this week's race. He clocked a 1:11.889 lap time to lead the class, nearly a full second over the second-fastest AGT competitor.

The fastest GTS lap time went to Chris Bingham, of Kirkland, Wash., in the BASF/HCI/Yokohama/Park Place Ltd.-sponsored #5 Saleen S7R of Fordahl Motorsports. The 1:11.148 lap earned Fordahl its second pole of the day.

Two Winston Cup drivers are sliding behind the wheel of a sports car for this week's race, however John Andretti and Kyle Petty's run in the Orbit Racing #45 Porsche GT3 R has not been a happy one so far. The team experienced problems with the car throughout the day, and Petty was only able to record two qualifying laps before parking the Porsche, putting him in the back of the field.

"We haven't had a lap since we got here that there wasn't a problem," Andretti said. "I just stayed out there, but Kyle acted more like a car owner and kept coming in trying to fix it. I just say 'Stay out there, blow the thing up and buy a new one.'"

Although Petty raced in one of Orbit's Porsches at the Rolex 24 At Daytona earlier this season, today was Andretti's first time behind the wheel of a sports car in quite a while, and he is working on adjusting his driving style to fit the Porsche.

"I started backing off on the back straightaway where I do in a Winston Cup car - at the six marker. By the time I got to the four, I was stopped," explained Andretti of the handling difference in the turns.

The Glen's short course is the only racetrack where both NASCAR's Winston Cup Series and the Rolex Sports Car Series race on the same course - both of which are this weekend. Nine Rolex Series cars posted times faster than the track's Winston Cup qualifying record of 1:12.752 during today's qualifying.

The Bully Hill Vineyards 250 is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET on Friday. It will be the ninth race of the Rolex Series' 10-race season. Tickets are still on sale for the race online at www.theglen.com.

-Grand-Am

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Chris Bingham , John Andretti , Kyle Petty , James Weaver , Mauro Baldi , Randy Pobst , Scott Maxwell , Doug Goad , Andy Lally , Craig Conway
Teams Dyson Racing