MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 16, 2004) -- BimmerWorld drivers James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., Matt Richmond, of Mooresville, N.C., and Seth Thomas, of Cumming, Ga., qualified ninth, 14th and 18th, respectively, Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in...
MONTEREY, Calif. (Oct. 16, 2004) -- BimmerWorld drivers James Clay, of Blacksburg, Va., Matt Richmond, of Mooresville, N.C., and Seth Thomas, of Cumming, Ga., qualified ninth, 14th and 18th, respectively, Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, in preparation for Sunday's SCCA SPEED World Challenge Touring Car season finale.
Clay, who is coming off his first-career SPEED Touring Car podium finish, hopes to duplicate that effort in Sunday's season finale. However, if Clay is to accomplish that feat, he will have to pilot his No. 36 BimmerWorld/Ground Control/Wheel Chair Foundation BMW 325i to the front from his ninth spot on the grid. Clay turned in a qualifying lap of 1:39.609 (80.884 mph).
"It's not bad," Clay said of his starting position. "Although, I don't know that I a real happy with it. We were working on our issues and dialing in our suspension all weekend. During the qualifying session, all of a sudden the track was very different and it kind of caught us by surprise. So, we made the best of it and did fairly well. It's [the car] in the top 10, which is good.
"Since it is the last race of the year, I expect a lot of attrition and I do expect a pretty tough race," Clay added. "I think that there is going to be a lot of movement in the field."
Clay has qualified in the top-10 in his the last five races.
Driving the No. 37 BimmerWorld/Ground Control/Wheel Chair Foundation BMW 325i, Richmond qualified 14th with a time of 1:40.081 (80.502 mph) on the 2.238-mile, 11-turn circuit.
"In the grand scheme of things, it wasn't too bad," Richmond said of his spot on the grid. "The car did not feel right at all, yet it was only a tenth off [the pace]. I really wanted to qualify great here and have a fantastic weekend for the guys. So I feel like I have let them down. But, you can't focus on that. I just have to go out and give 100 percent tomorrow."
Richmond has recorded one top-five and three top-10 finishes in the last three races, including tying his career-best finish of fifth at Road Atlanta.
Thomas qualified his No. 38 BimmerWorld/Ground Control/Wheel Chair Foundation BMW 325i 18th on the grid with a time of 1:40.663 (80.037 mph).
"I think it was the track conditions," Thomas explained of his qualifying position. "We were expecting the track conditions to be a little bit colder. And, right before we went out, it got a little bit warmer. It warmed up probably five to 10 degrees. So, the setup we went out with was off and I think my [qualifying] time shows it. I felt like I never got a full lap at speed and that affects your qualifying time."
Thomas is coming off a career-best fourth place finish at Road Atlanta, where he also set a new fast race lap record en route to winning the urbanracer.com Hot Lap of the Race award.
The team takes the track for Round 10 of the SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Championship at 10:25 a.m. (PDT) Sunday, Oct. 17. For live timing, visit www.world-challenge.com.
For more information on Bimmerworld Racing, visit www.bimmerworldracing.com.