von Kluge on Pole in Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Race 1 at Miami Grand Prix HOMESTEAD, Fla., 6 March -- Jason von Kluge of Ann Arbor, Mich. driving the No.19 JVK Motorsports Ford Mustang FR500S will lead the field into turn 1 in the opening ...
von Kluge on Pole in Ford Racing Mustang Challenge Race 1 at Miami Grand Prix
HOMESTEAD, Fla., 6 March -- Jason von Kluge of Ann Arbor, Mich. driving the No.19 JVK Motorsports Ford Mustang FR500S will lead the field into turn 1 in the opening round of Ford Racing Mustang Challenge at Homestead Miami Speedway. Alongside is Frederick, Maryland's George Winkler in the No. 12 Winkler Racing Mustang, with Pratt Cole of Salt Lake City, Utah in the No. 88 RP Motorsports entry rounding out the Top-3.
Drawing on the experience of his first Mustang Challenge season in 2009, von Kluge, 30, opened the 2010 account with a strong qualifying performance. By taking full advantage of the crisp morning air and a fresh set of BF Goodrich tires, he was the only driver to dip into the 1:28 sec bracket around speedway's 2.3 mile combination oval-road course. Officially, von Kluge stopped the clocks at 1:28.676 seconds, nine minutes into the 20-minute qualifying session. Knowing that he had gotten the most he could from the tire's "golden" lap, von Kluge parked his Mustang in pit lane and waited to see if anyone would better his time.
"I'm excited for the race. It's my first pole in this series and in any professional race series. We've got the car working well and I'm confident with it," said von Kluge. "That's the way it goes with qualifying in this series in that you have to go out and get your time early in the session so I'm glad to be upfront. Hopefully, this afternoon, I can run away from the front (of the field)."
Outside front row starter George Winkler comes into the 2010 Mustang Challenge with a more simplified approach over last year. He's vowed to focus on his driving and not let engineering the car get in his way. So far, so good. Winkler let much of the field go out ahead of him to put a few laps in on the dew-dampened track before making his qualifying attempt. Halfway into the session, he went out to lay down at lap at 1:29.440 seconds.
"This year the team is myself, my wife and my son. I'm putting the emphasis on me and my driving and being more hands on to help keep my head in the game," said Winkler. "Now, I'm looking forward to a good, clean, smart run this afternoon."
Pratt Cole's lap of 1:29.571 seconds stood as second best time for much of the session until he was just nudged down a spot by Winkler's late session effort. Nevertheless, Cole was content to have what may be the more advantageous inside position of the third spot on the grid.
Turns 1 and 2 at Homestead-Miami Speedway unfurl over a substantial distance as the cars veer off of the oval's front straight onto the infield. The lengthy brake zone before the tighter, left-hand turn 2 grants the cars on the inside more opportunity to force the cars on the outside to take a longer slower line before heading down the subsequent long straight.
"I'm happy to be on the inside for the start, so I'm not at all discouraged to lose the position." said Cole. "I went out early to put down my lap and then got of out of the car. On these new 2010 spec BF Goodrich tires I could really feel the difference from last year. They have a bit more bite, especially in turn 7, which was really sweet. I don't know what else I can say other than I'm ready to get back to racing."
Tony Buffomante and Dan Aweida rounded out the Top-5, who were all within two-tenths of a second of the outside pole. Steve Phillips , Zach Lutz, Brad Adams, Richard Golinello, Robert Benoga and John Scarlett round out the field.
The 45-minute Mustang Challenge Race 1 gets underway at 11:00 AM EST. Qualifying for Race 2 and the second race of the weekend will take place on Sunday.