(ELKHART LAKE, Wisc.) Aug. 19, 2000 - He's held the qualifying record for the Barber Dodge Pro Series at Road America since 1998. In 2000, Brazilian Nilton Rossoni driving the No. 36 Foster Group Barber Dodge Reynard shattered his own record by...
(ELKHART LAKE, Wisc.) Aug. 19, 2000 - He's held the qualifying record for the Barber Dodge Pro Series at Road America since 1998. In 2000, Brazilian Nilton Rossoni driving the No. 36 Foster Group Barber Dodge Reynard shattered his own record by nearly 1.5 sec. Rossoni took his second pole of the season and the sixth of his Barber Dodge career with a 2:12.509 sec. lap of the 4.048-mile Road America circuit. Starting alongside will be provisional polesitter Matt Plumb, who up to today held the qualifying record. He could not find more speed today, yet fortunately for him neither could any of the other top runners in the series Rossoni aside. Thus, Plumb fell to second on the grid 0.299 sec off of Rossoni's pace. Jamie Menniga's provisional time withstood the challenge of those behind to maintain his third position on the grid.
"When I set the lap I was sure that other drivers had gone faster," said Rossoni, 19. "I just tried to concentrate on one really good lap. The track felt faster to me today, so when (the session was shortened 10 minutes due to a car fire) I was a little bit worried that I would have to go out and improve my time a little more."
Rossoni has the added advantage that his principal rivals in the chase for the $300,000 Career Enhancement Award are several places behind on the grid. The point awarded for pole helps Rossoni to claw away the now 25-point advantage held by American Jon Fogarty who will start Sunday's race from the eighth spot on the grid. Sepp Koster of the Netherlands, third in the championship, will start from sixth.
"The first race that I won in the United States was here," added Rossoni. "I like fast corners and this is a track where you have to be very technical and use the brakes well and maintain your exit speed. This track suits my style very well."
Another American, Matt Plumb awoke this morning, saw some clouds on the horizon and hoped for rain. At the end of the first qualifying session he held the top spot and wondered whether he had anything left to improve on that time. He claimed it was "one of those laps." Indeed it was a good lap, good enough to withstand the challenge of everyone bar Rossoni. Thus he scores a career best qualifying position, starting on the front row alongside the Brazilian.
"I'm glad that I put in a good time yesterday. The track had changed quite a bit and it took me a while to adjust to the changes in the track," said Plumb, driver of the No. 17 Cam 2 Barber Dodge. "I'd much rather be chased than have to chase somebody, so as long as I have a clear view ahead of me, I'll be happy."
Menninga, of Pella, Iowa, was the only other driver to set a time within the 2:13 sec bracket. He too will roll onto the Barber Dodge Pro Series grid with the time he set during the first qualifying session.
"I was on a lap that I think would have been in the high 12 sec (range), but I made a mistake in the Canda Corner and finished with a (2):13.2 lap," recounted Menninga. "I'm happy starting within the top-2 rows and it's a long track so anything can happen at Road America."
The 1999 Barber Dodge Pro Series Rookies of the Year will start fourth and fifth. Roger Yaukawa was two-tenths of a second ahead of Michael Valiante, and both were among the quickest of the session. Had it not been for the abbreviated session, both figured that they could have figured at the top of the time charts. Still, both will enjoy their best starting positions of the season.
The final 10 minutes of the qualifying session had to be aborted when the car of Sara Senske suffered a rare oil fire. She emerged unscathed, but left a trail of oil on the track that could not be cleaned in time to complete the session.
Round 8 of the Barber Dodge Pro Series is set to take the green flag immediately after the CART FedEx Motorola 220 Champ Car race at 3:40 p.m. CDT.
Pos # Driver/Hometown Session 1 Session 2 Best Time 1 36 Nilton Rossoni/Curitiba, Brazil 02:12.941 02:12.506 02:12.506 2 17 Matt Plumb/Unionville, Penn. 02:12.805 02:13.885 02:12.805 3 7 Jamie Menninga/Pella, Iowa 02:12.975 02:13.209 02:12.975 4 9 Roger Yasukawa/Santa Monica, Calif. 02:13.362 02:13.053 02:13.053 5 95 Michael Valiante/Vancouver,Canada 02:13.602 02:13.247 02:13.247 6 5 Sepp Koster/The Netherlands 02:13.780 02:13.302 02:13.302 7 31 Ryan Hunter-Reay/Boca Raton, Fla. 02:13.561 02:13.953 02:13.561 8 52 Jon Fogarty/Portolo Valley, Calif. 02:13.821 02:14.581 02:13.821 9 11 Thed Björk/Vretstorp, Sweden 02:13.948 02:14.192 02:13.948 10 28 Andre Nicastro/Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 02:14.150 02:15.266 02:14.150 11 4 Brent Sherman/ North Barrington, Ill. 02:15.011 02:14.500 02:14.500 12 20 Alexandre Sperafico/Brazil 02:15.802 02:14.605 02:14.605 13 23 Marc Breuers/Gladwyne, Penn. 02:15.517 02:14.739 02:14.739 14 18 Bryan Sellers/Centerville, Ohio 02:14.798 02:15.362 02:14.798 15 8 Peter Boss/Narragansett, R.I. 02:15.034 02:14.844 02:14.844 16 25 Kip Gulseth/Manitowoc, Wisc. 02:15.420 02:15.260 02:15.260 17 53 Tom Fogarty/Soledad, Calif. 02:15.271 02:16.465 02:15.271 18 99 Davy Cook/Tallahasse, Fla. 02:15.810 02:15.272 02:15.272 19 21 Jon Vannini/Hillsborough, California 02:17.049 02:15.978 02:15.978 20 26 Rhonda Trammell/Pittsboro, Ind. 02:16.685 02:16.577 02:16.577 21 73 Jeff Glenn/Oakland, Calif. 02:17.443 02:16.685 02:16.685 22 42 John Hall/Houston, Texas 02:17.222 02:18.632 02:17.222 23 22 Jay Ricci/Grosse Pointe, Michigan 02:17.343 02:17.904 02:17.343 24 19 Sara Senske/Kennewick, Washington 02:17.617 02:18.170 02:17.617 25 77 Scott Mayer/Franklin, Wisc. 02:17.782 02:18.268 02:17.782 26 33 Milka Duno/Caracas, Venezuela 02:18.747 02:18.968 02:18.747
- George Tamayo