Jamie Menninga sits on the pole for the first time in his two and a half-year Barber Dodge career. While the position is provisional until the grid for Saturdayâ€™s sixth round of the Barber Dodge Pro Series in the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland...
Jamie Menninga sits on the pole for the first time in his two and a half-year Barber Dodge career. While the position is provisional until the grid for Saturday’s sixth round of the Barber Dodge Pro Series in the Marconi Grand Prix of Cleveland at the Cleveland-Burke Lakefront Airport is determined in a final qualifying session at 11:00 a.m. Saturday morning, Menninga’s speed during the Friday session showed his mettle. The time to beat set by Menninga is 1:14.425 sec. around the 2.106-mile temporary road course laid out on the airport runways.
The 30-minute timed session saw the provisional pole change hands no less than seven times among five different drivers. Menninga, 21, of Pella, Iowa established the benchmark right at the start of the session, but that time of 1:15.906 would not stand for long. Soon the times began to tumble as Dutchman Sepp Koster was the first to eclipse the mark followed by Jon Fogarty, Menninga and Koster again, then Nilton Rossoni, and finally back to Menninga.
“Go faster,” was how Menninga described his plan for the final 30-minute qualifying session on Saturday morning. “Hopefully I’ll get some more clean laps tomorrow. It seems like I spent a lot of time going around the track at fifty percent.”
Menninga is coming off of both his best race and qualifying performance at the last round in Detroit. At that race Menninga started second and finished third.
Brazilian Nilton Rossoni returns to the top-three in qualifying after three races that resulted in mediocre results for the 19-year old who started the year off with a bang with two wins on the trot. He held the pole briefly before Menninga snatched it back, but his time stood up to place him provisionally alongside Menninga on the front row with a lap of 1:14.560, only .135 sec off the top time. Rossoni is the defending race champion and was the pole-sitter here in 1998.
“I’m very happy,” Rossoni commented. “The last three races were very tough for me. This morning we knew we had a fast car, so we just made some small changes to make the car better. Then it was just concentrate and get a good lap in. It’s a place I like very much, and I have a lot of fun driving here.”
Jon Fogarty currently sits third on the grid. He too held pole briefly and it is with that same time that he ended the session third quickest. Fogarty has qualified on the pole for the previous two races, which he has also won. His fast lap stopped the clocks at 1:14.578.
“We’re not going to make any changes to the car for tomorrow,” Fogarty said. “The difference in time between myself and the pole is so minute that we’re just going to fine tune. I’m going to try and go out there and not commit any errors and get a good, clean lap.”
Rounding out the first ten in the provisional order are Sepp Koster, Matt Plumb, Andy Lally, Ryan Hunter-Reay, John McCaig, Thed Bjork and Peter Boss.
Final Qualifying is set for tomorrow morning at 11:00 a.m. EDT with the race start later in the afternoon at 3:50 p.m. EDT.