SBRS: Laguna Seca final qualifying

(MONTEREY, Calif.) Sept. 9, 2000 - Add another point to Nilton Rossoni's point tally. By scoring the pole for Sunday's 10th round of the 2000 Barber Dodge Pro Series, Rossoni has taken back another point against title rival Jon Fogarty for the...

(MONTEREY, Calif.) Sept. 9, 2000 - Add another point to Nilton Rossoni's point tally. By scoring the pole for Sunday's 10th round of the 2000 Barber Dodge Pro Series, Rossoni has taken back another point against title rival Jon Fogarty for the $300,000 Career Enhancement Award. Holding on to his provisional pole, Rossoni has led every session of the weekend thus far, improving his time around the 2.238-mile Laguna Seca Raceway to 1:25.728 sec for an average speed of 93.981 mph.

"At this point in the season you have to think a lot about the championship, but my goal here is to win the race. Winning the race I'm going to get more points and close the gap even more toward Fogarty," said Rossoni driver of the No. 36 Oil Extreme Dodge Reynard. "I'm having a really good weekend here, dominating every session. But I know that Fogarty can have a similar weekend at Road Atlanta."

Fogarty came back from a heavy crash yesterday to line up fifth, albeit further away from the head of the field than he would hope.

Continuing to show their consistent qualifying form are Matt Plumb of Unionville, Penn. and Jamie Menninga of Pella, Iowa. Winner at the last round in Vancouver a week ago, Plumb appeared at the top of the time sheets fairly late into the 30-minute session to start on the front row alongside Rossoni. His quick lap in the Cam 2 Dodge Reynard was a mere 0.071 off of the pole.

"I was just trying to take it easy (at the beginning of the session) to get a feel for the track," elucidated Plumb. "Midway through the session I just starting putting pretty much everything I had into it, and that's when I started going faster."

Menninga gained one spot over his provisional qualifying effort to start on the inside of row 2. Older brother Chris who now races in the CART Dayton Indy Lights Series got his first Barber Dodge victory at Laguna Seca in 1997. The younger Menninga has proven his speed this year in qualifying but has yet to convert it to a win. Will this be the race?

"Yeah it would be great (to get the first win). It's what I'm shooting for," said Event Marketing Enterprises driver Menninga. "I'd rather have pole but you can win from the top-5 here."

As is the norm in Barber Dodge qualifying, the fastest ten cars are covered by 1 second. Rounding out the Top-10 are Andy Lally, Fogarty, Alexandre Sperafico, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Michael Valiante, Thed Bjork, and Brent Sherman.

One name conspicuously absent from the fastest ten drivers is Dutchman Sepp Koster. He began the session provisionally third and was confident in his Blue Bay Curacao Golf Resorts Dodge Reynard to go faster still in the final qualifying session. On only his second lap as he worked through slower traffic, he was struck from behind and was forced to limp to the side of the track with a broken rear suspension. As a result, his time from the first session was the one he would qualify with. Yet with most of the field going faster Saturday afternoon, he would helplessly sit by and watch that time tumble down the list until it stooped at 18th quick.

The 27-car field will take the checkered flag immediately following the Honda grand Prix of Monterey Presented by Shell Champ Car race at 4:15 p.m. PDT, Sunday Sept. 10.

<pre> ROUND 10 THE HONDA GRAND PRIX OF MONTEREY Laguna Seca Raceway Monterey, California


Grid    Car
Pos     #       Driver/Hometown/Time/MPH
1       36      Nilton Rossoni/Curitiba, Brazil/01:25.728/93.981
2       17      Matt Plumb/Unionville, Penn./01:25.799/93.903
3       7       Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa/01:25.884/93.810
4       62      Andy Lally/Northport, NY/01:26.149/93.522
5       52      Jon Fogarty/Portolo Valley, Calif./01:26.171/93.498
6       20      Alexandre Sperafico/Brazil/01:26.282/93.378
7       31      Ryan Hunter-Reay/Boca Raton, Fla./01:26.394/93.256
8       95      Michael Valiante/Vancouver,Canada/01:26.425/93.223
9       11      Thed Björk/Vretstorp, Sweden/01:26.705/92.922
10      4       Brent Sherman/ North Barrington, Ill./01:26.734/92.891
11      28      Andre Nicastro/Rio de Janeiro, Brazil/01:26.961/92.648
12      8       Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I./1:27.017/92.589
13      23      Marc Breuers/Gladwyne, Penn./01:27.034/92.571
14      9       Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif./01:27.127/92.472
15      73      Jeff Glenn/Oakland, Calif./01:27.148/92.450
16      25      Kip Gulseth/Manitowoc, Wisc./01:27.282/92.308
17      99      Davy Cook/Tallahasse, Fla./01:27.349/92.237
18      5       Sepp Koster/The Netherlands/01:30.762/92.181
19      19      Sara Senske/Kennewick, Washington/01:27.404/92.179
20      97      Ryan Howe/Temecula, Calif./01:27.534/92.042
21      21      Jon Vannini/Hillsborough, California/01:27.723/91.844
22      26      Rhonda Trammell/Pittsboro, Ind./01:27.960/91.596
23      53      Tom Fogarty/Soledad, Calif./01:28.213/91.333
24      77      Scott Mayer/Franklin, Wisc./01:28.743/90.788
25      22      Jay Ricci/Grosse Pointe, Michigan/01:28.774/90.756
26      42      John Hall/Houston, Texas/01:29.345/90.176
27      12      Keith Dusko/Red Bank, N. J./01:31.673/87.886

Track Length: 2.238-mile Qualifying Record: 1:25.424, Will Langhorne 1998

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Series Other open wheel
Drivers Peter Boss , Jon Fogarty , Michael Valiante , Jay Ricci , Andy Lally , Ryan Hunter-Reay , Brent Sherman , Davy Cook , Tom Fogarty , John Hall , Marc Breuers , Roger Yasukawa , Jon Vannini , Nilton Rossoni , Thed Björk , Sepp Koster , Rhonda Trammell , Will Langhorne , Scott Mayer , Matt Plumb