FITZPATRICK SPEEDS TO GP3R 100 BUD POLE TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec (Aug. 18, 2007) -- J.R. Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Milwaukee Electric Tools Chevrolet) overcame damage sustained during Friday's practice session to earn the pole for the GP3R 100. After...
FITZPATRICK SPEEDS TO GP3R 100 BUD POLE
TROIS-RIVIERES, Quebec (Aug. 18, 2007) -- J.R. Fitzpatrick (No. 84 Milwaukee Electric Tools Chevrolet) overcame damage sustained during Friday's practice session to earn the pole for the GP3R 100. After making repairs last evening, the Cambridge, Ontario native turned a lap on the historic road course at Grand Prix de Trois-Rivieres in 68.573 seconds in the Bud Pole Qualifying session. That translates to an average speed of 80.323 mph on the 1.53-mile, 10-turn street course.
Fitzpatrick, 19, has now won three consecutive Bud Pole Awards in the NASCAR Canadian Tire Series presented by Sirius Satellite Radio. Prior to today's effort, he posted fast time at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal two weeks ago and followed that up last week with pole award on the 1/2-mile oval at Mosport Speedway.
"This is definitely one of my favorite tracks that we visit," said Fitzpatrick. "It's very tight out there in these cars, but it's a lot of fun to drive."
In practice on Friday, he hit the wall and suffered severe damage to the front suspension. Fitzpatrick's team quickly went to work on the car following the session and were able to make the necessary repairs to get ready for the 10:45 a.m. ET qualifying session.
Despite getting his Chevy Monte Carlo in good enough shape for a pole run, Fitzpatrick indicated that there was more work to be done.
"We've still got quite a bit of adjusting to do," he said. "If we went out there for the race just like it was today, then I'd end up in the fence somewhere. I'm happy that we got it on the pole and now the Milwaukee Electric Tools team will get it race ready for tomorrow."
Andrew Ranger, who has battled Fitzpatrick all season long on the road courses, had problems of his own after the Friday practice. As the session was winding to a close, the engine in Ranger's No. 27 Wal-Mart/Tide Ford Fusion let loose. His team, too, went right to work replacing a motor in that machine.
Like Fitzpatrick, Ranger, 20, rebounded and posted the second-quick time in qualifying. The Roxton Pond, Quebec product's lap was under a half-second off the polesitter's pace. Ranger, new to stock car racing this year after having moved over from CHAMP Car competition, posted a time of 68.619 seconds for an average lap speed of 80.269 mph.
"The team did a great job of getting the car back together after the engine blew yesterday," said Ranger. "I'm confident they'll have it in even better shape for the race."
The third-fastest time recorded by Ranger's teammate and current CHAMP Car standout Alex Tagliani (No. 8 Gain/Wal-Mart Chevrolet) at 68.800 seconds (80.058 mph). Kerry Micks (No. 02 Beyond Digital Imaging Ford) and Scott Steckly (No. 22 Erb Group Dodge) rounded out the top five.
The cars went out to qualify in two groups based on their fastest lap in Friday's practice session as per NASCAR road racing rules. Each group was on the track for 10 minutes.
The GP3R 100 is scheduled to take the green flag Sunday at 10:30 a.m. ET.