Smith Takes Pole in Final Minutes of Russell/USAC Triple Crown Qualifying Sonoma, CA - Nathan Smith of Escalon, CA, stole the pole from Tyler McQuarrie in the last three minutes of qualifying for Round 1 of the Russell/USAC Triple Crown Pro ...
Smith Takes Pole in Final Minutes of Russell/USAC Triple Crown Qualifying
Sonoma, CA - Nathan Smith of Escalon, CA, stole the pole from Tyler McQuarrie in the last three minutes of qualifying for Round 1 of the Russell/USAC Triple Crown Pro Series presented by Yokohama in association with Buyacom Computer Corp. Smith and McQuarrie battled until the end, each driver checking the other's lap times with frequent stops in the pits. Neither driver opted to make an adjustment to their car, rather, they played cat and mouse looking for an open piece of race track to take another shot at bettering their times.
"I was in the pits waiting to see where we stood on the times," said Smith who is sponsored by Nelson Staffing Solutions and Wine Country Motorsports. "I was still second on the grid with less than ten minutes to go, so I went back out to see if I could put one good lap in. I made a mistake on the first one and also on the second so I came back in."
Meanwhile, McQuarrie (a native of Walnut Creek, CA now living in England racing as a sponsored driver for the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School in Formula Vauxhall by wining last years Formula Russell Championship,) was also trying to better his time with a car that seemed to develop some oversteer as the sessions started to come to an end. "It was really pretty loose so I just tried to stay smooth and get in the best lap I could." At that time he, was still P1.
With five minutes remaining, Smith shot out of the pits and McQuarrie took off only a few seconds behind him - each driver taking their last and final shot at the pole. Smith got a lap to warm up and came around to see the white flag, and on his final lap, he slipped into P1 with a 1:16.850. Now it was up to McQuarrie to try to retake the pole with one good lap. He got a warm up and one flyer and although he went faster, a 1:17.139 at the checkered flag, it was not good enough to oust Smith.
The battle for the pole was not the only exciting drama during qualifying. No less than 8 drivers fought over third, fourth and fifth place on the grid, each driver changing positions several times during the 35 minute session. The final order of the top five was sorted when Dave McEntee of Novato, CA, in the Edaten.com sponsored car went from 7th to 3rd on his last lap bumping Chris Pettet of Napa, CA, to fourth. Timothy Barber in his Sunset Garages Formula Russell knocked out Toshi Kanamoto, also of San Francisco, for fifth on his final lap of the session.
The start of the first race of the 1999 Russell USAC Triple Crown Pro Series will be tomorrow after the final session of NASCAR Winston Cup qualifying at Sears Point Raceway. Drivers are competing for cash awards and prizes totaling $20,000.00 and a test day with a top US F2000 team that is provided by Yokohama Tire Corporation.
Friday, June 25, 1999 - Qualifying
Pos Car # Driver Sponsor Home Town Time
1 10 Nathan Smith Nelson Staffing Solutions/Wine Country Motorsports Escalon, CA 1:16.850
2 11 Tyler McQuarrie Jim Russell Racing Drivers School Walnut Creek, CA 1:17.139
3 7 Dave McEntee Edaten.com Novato, CA 1:17.278
4 4 Chris Pettet Napa, CA 1:17.644
5 19 Timothy Barber Sunset Garages San Francisco, CA 1:17.784
6 6 Toshi Kanamoto San Francisco, CA 1:17.786
7 20 Warren Washer Cupertino Service Cupertino, CA 1:18.283
8 8 Ric Rushton Las Vegas, NV 1:18.552
9 5 Todd Clark Buyacom Computer Corp. San Clemente, CA 1:19.341
10 14 Bob Hagerty Beaumont, TX 1:19.396
11 1 Grant Dunning The OCT Group Newport Beach, CA 1:19.481
12 15 David Farley zcurve.com Yorba Linda, CA 1:19583
13 2 Patrick McDowell San Mateo, CA 1:20.292
14 16 Ken Snyder Robert Quinn Associates San Andreas, CA 1:20.675
15 3 Charles Marovic Tri-City Sporting Goods/Fast Signs/Gargoyles Fremont, CA 1:23.358