SBRS: Detroit Friday Qualifying

DETROIT (Aug. 6) - It was a case of deja vu for Jeff Simmons Friday afternoon in the first round of qualifying for Sunday's Barber Dodge Pro Series race presented by the Detroit Free Press. Simmons, the reigning series champion, captured the ...

DETROIT (Aug. 6) - It was a case of deja vu for Jeff Simmons Friday afternoon in the first round of qualifying for Sunday's Barber Dodge Pro Series race presented by the Detroit Free Press.

Simmons, the reigning series champion, captured the provisional pole with a quick lap of 1:33.354 averaging 90.469 mph. The 22-year-old native of East Granby, Conn. won both the pole (with a series track record) and the race on the 2.35-mile, 14-turn Belle Isle street circuit in 1998. With a forecast calling for a strong chance of precipitation Saturday afternoon, the temporary pole was an anticipated bonus to the defending race champion.

"I was looking forward to this weekend as soon as I saw it on the calendar," Simmons said. "I like this track. It's very fun to drive and has a little of everything, so I'm looking for a good weekend."

Todd Snyder of Sheffield, Mass., runner-up in the 1998 championship, slotted in beside Simmons on the outside of Row 1 with a 1:33.410 at 90.414 mph. If the position holds through the final qualifying session, it will be Snyder's sixth-consecutive top-five start.

"Actually, as far as last year versus this year, our qualifying has been much better, but our luck hasn't held up in the races," Snyder said. "I'd like to come back out here tomorrow and put the car on the pole."

Sepp Koster of Hemskeerk, Netherlands was also in a familiar spot. The second-year driver matched his third-place 1998 qualifying effort after trading times with Snyder through most of the half-hour session, but was unable to find sufficient space at the end to improve on his 1:33.673/90.160 mph best, recorded on lap five.

"I was hoping to improve after the black flag (to remove the damaged car of Brazil's Alex Sperafico), but unfortunately I couldn't get around traffic and didn't improve my time," Koster said. "It's more dangerous to start further back in the field, and it's pretty difficult to pass here although the straights are pretty long. I hope tomorrow that I can improve a bit more and start up front."

Iradj Alexander of Giubiasco, Switzerland claimed the fourth spot on the tentative grid with a 1:33.848 at 89.992 mph, which edged Jon Fogarty of Portola Valley, Calif. (1:34.039/89.810 mph). Rookie points leader Michael Valiante put down the sixth-best time (1:34.152/89.702 mph) in his first street course qualifying session, with Memo Rojas Jr. of Mexico City (1:34.233/89.625 mph) completing the seven drivers within one second of Simmons' chart-topping lap.

Peter Boss of Narragansett, R.I. (1:34.418/89.449 mph), Nilton Rossoni of Curitiba, Brazil (1:34.505/89.367 mph) and Jamie Menninga of Pella, Iowa comprised the remainder of the Top 10.

A pair of Michigan natives made their Barber Dodge debuts Friday. Aaron Bambach of Clawson qualified 20th with a best of 1:37.155/86.929 mph. Detroit native Jeff Morton (1:41.687/83.055 mph) earned the 24th spot.

#DETROIT - Combined Barber Dodge Pro Series qualifying results from Belle Isle on the 2.35-mile, 14-turn road circuit for Sunday's 40-minute race at the Tenneco Automotive Detroit Grand Prix.<

1       (1)     Jeff Simmons/East Granby, Conn.         1:33.354/90.469
2       (11)    Todd Snyder/Sheffield, Mass.            1:33.410/90.414
3       (7)     Sepp Koster/The Netherlands             1:33.673/90.160
4       (31)    Iradj Alexander/Giubiasco,Switzerland   1:33.848/89.99
5       (52)    Jon Fogarty/Portola Valley, Calif.      1:34.039/89.810
6       (95)    Michael Valiante/Vancouver,Canada       1:34.152/89.702
7       (15)    Memo Rojas, Jr./Mexico City, Mexico     1:34.233/89.625
8       (6)     Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I.           1:34.418/89.449
9       (36)    Nilton Rossoni/Curitiba, Brazil         1:344.505/89.367
10      (2)     Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa              1:34.572/89.303
11      (25)    Townsend Bell/Costa Mesa, Calif.        1:34.755/89.131
12      (9)     Rodrigo Bernardes/Sao Paulo, Brazil     1:35.008/88.894
13      (85)    Brian Pelke/Lansing, Ill.               1:35.120/88.789
14      (17)    Matt Plumb/Unionville, Pa.              1:35.253/88.665
15      (8)     Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif.     1:35.321/88.602
16      (14)    Juan Jose Font/Caracas,Venezuela        1:35.369/88.557
17      (4)     Brent Sherman/ Northbrook, Ill.         1:35.729/88.224
18      (3)     Kip Gulseth/Manitowac, Wisc.            1:36.325/87.678
19      (13)    R. B. Stiewing/Lime Rock, Conn.         1:37.047/87.026
20      (27)    Aaron Bambach/Clawson, Mich.            1:37.155/86.929
21      (38)    David Francis, Jr./Cypress, Calif.      1:37.448/86.668
22      (77)    Scott Mayer/Franklin, Wis.              1:37.486/86.634
23      (16)    Alexandre Sperafico/ToledoParana,Brazil 1:38.537/85.710
24      (10)    Jeff Morton/Detroit, Mich.              1:41.687/83.055

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About this article
Series Other open wheel
Drivers Peter Boss , Jon Fogarty , Michael Valiante , Townsend Bell , Brent Sherman , Memo Rojas , Roger Yasukawa , Nilton Rossoni , Sepp Koster , Scott Mayer , Alex Sperafico , Jeff Simmons , Todd Snyder , Iradj Alexander-David , Matt Plumb , Aaron Bambach