MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 10) - Apparently Barber Dodge Pro Series points leader Jeff Simmons was not happy with second best at Laguna Seca Raceway, even though it earned him a championship and a $300,000 prize. Simmons of East Granby, Conn., the...
MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 10) - Apparently Barber Dodge Pro Series points leader Jeff Simmons was not happy with second best at Laguna Seca Raceway, even though it earned him a championship and a $300,000 prize. Simmons of East Granby, Conn., the reigning Barber Dodge champion, copped the provisional pole for the Barber Dodge race at the Grand Prix of Monterey Friday afternoon.
Simmons finished second at the track twice in 1998, but topped the 30-minute session by nearly half a second with a best lap of 1:26.484 averaging 93.159 mph. A pair of European drivers were hot on his heels, with Iradj Alexander of Switzerland second (1:26.922/92.960 mph) and Sepp Koster of the Netherlands (1:26.967/92.642 mph) close behind.
"I'll just have to start doing my rain dance again," Simmons said. "After a whole day of the CART guys putting rubber down tomorrow, the track should be faster. There's not a lot more I could have gotten out there today."
Alexander pronounced himself happy with his time, but found the challenging 2.24-mile, 11-turn course unfriendly to his go-for-broke method of attacking the corners.
"It's something special and very beautiful, but not for my driving style," Alexander explained. "If you drive fast, you have to drive smooth here to get a good time. I find it easy to be fast, but I like to push the car a little more."
Jon Fogarty of Portola Valley, Calif. (1:27.055/92.548 mph) earned the fourth spot on the grid, followed by Nilton Rossoni of Curitiba, Brazil (1:27.114/92.486 mph). Both driver podium finishes in 1998 at Laguna.
Todd Snyder of Sheffield, Mass. had a pole and won twice at Laguna Seca in 1998, but found himself sixth in the provisional lineup Friday. Simmons was pleased to find his nemesis Snyder (10 points behind in the championship chase with a three-race winning streak) further back than expected.
"It's really important for me to start in front of Todd here. Last year, he showed that this is one of his best tracks," Simmons said. "I'd love for final qualifying to be slower, because there'd be some tough guys in between for him to get through."
Rookie points leader Michael Valiante of Vancouver, B.C. (1:27.307/92.281 mph) was seventh quickest. Townsend Bell of Costa Mesa, Calif. (1:27.458/92.122 mph), Matt Plumb of Unionville, Pa. (1:27.622/91.950 mph) and Peter Boss of Narragansett, R.I. (1:27.657/91.913 mph) completed the Top 10 separated by less than a second from Alexander.
Notes: Barber Dodge track record holder Will Langhorne of Washington, D.C. was the best rookie qualifier in KOOL Toyota Atlantic qualifying with a fourth-place time. Langhorne won the Atlantic race in Vancouver last week.
#MONTEREY, Calif. - Barber Dodge Pro Series provisional qualifying results Friday from the Grand Prix of Monterey on the 2.24-mile, 11-turn Laguna Seca Raceway for Sunday's 40-minute race. Drivers are classified by position, car number, name/hometown and time/speed.
1 (1) Jeff Simmons/East Granby, Conn. 1:26.484/93.159 mph 2 (31) Iradj Alexander/Giubiasco,Switzerland 1:26.922/92.690 3 (7) Sepp Koster/The Netherlands 1:26.967/92.642 4 (52) Jon Fogarty/Portola Valley, Calif. 1:27.055/92.548 5 (36) Nilton Rossoni/Curitiba, Brazil 1:27.114/92.486 6 (11) Todd Snyder/Sheffield, Mass. 1:27.242/92.350 7 (95) Michael Valiante/Vancouver,Canada 1:27.307/92.281 8 (25) Townsend Bell/Costa Mesa, Calif. 1:27.458/92.122 9 (17) Matt Plumb/Unionville, Pa. 1:27.622/91.950 10 (6) Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I. 1:27.657/91.913 11 (85) Brian Pelke/Lansing, Ill. 1:27.706/91.861 12 (8) Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif. 1:27.762/91.803 13 (16) Alexandre Sperafico/Brazil 1:28.365/91.176 14 (2) Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa 1:28.769/90.761 15 (13) R. B. Stiewing/Lime Rock, Conn. 1:29.339/90.182 16 (19) Jason LaPoint/Woodburn, Oregon 1:29.500/90.020 17 (3) Kip Gulseth/Manitowac, Wisc. 1:29.648/89.871 18 (4) Brent Sherman/ Northbrook, Ill. 1:29.974/89.546 19 (77) Scott Mayer/Franklin, Wis. 1:30.434/89.090 20 (66) Tom Fogarty/Copco Lake, Calif. 1:30.811/88.721 21 (23) Jon Vannini/Hillsborough, Calif. 1:31.548/88.006 22 (26) Rhonda Trammell/Pittsboro, Ind. 1:32.463/87.135 23 (38) David Francis, Jr./Cypress, Calif. 1:32.879/86.745 24 (5) Keith Dusko/Red Bank, New Jersey 1:34.557/85.206