Utah: Series qualifying report

Ave Takes Second Pole of 2010 SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series Season at Miller TOOELE, Utah (June 5, 2010) -- No driver in the 2010 SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series has been as consistently fast in qualifying thus far this season than Tony Ave,...

Ave Takes Second Pole of 2010 SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series Season at Miller

TOOELE, Utah (June 5, 2010) -- No driver in the 2010 SCCA Pro Racing Trans-Am Series has been as consistently fast in qualifying thus far this season than Tony Ave, and the veteran racer proved it once again in qualifying for Sunday's third round of the 10-race championship at Miller Motorsports Park.

Ave, of Maiden, N.C., drove his No. 4 Tony Ave Racing/Pro Motor Engines Chevrolet Corvette to a best lap of 1:28.750 (89.239 mph) to take his second Trans-Am pole position in three races this season. To do it, however, Ave was forced to face down a stiff challenge from Mike Skeen, who pulled out all the stops to take pole for his first Trans-Am start of the season.

Driving the No. 81 Baker Manufacturing/Next Table Chevrolet Corvette for Agee Racing, Skeen, of Charlotte, N.C., threw down the gauntlet with a lap at 1:28.827 (89.162 mph) to take the pole away from Ave early in the session. However, Ave was able to wring just a bit more speed out of his white Corvette to retake the top spot on the starting grid. It will be his third front-row starting position of the year, following a pole for the season opener at New Jersey Motorsports Park last month and a second-place starting spot at Mosport International Raceway two weeks ago.

"It went pretty much as expected, except I didn't think Skeen would be that fast," said Ave. "But no, he was fast this morning. I went what I thought was as fast as I could without hurting the tires, and nobody else except Michael was very close. Then, he just beat it, so then I had to go back out and put a couple more laps on it. Fortunately, he wasn't able to quite beat that. It was a little too close for comfort, but I wanted the points and qualifying is the most fun part of the weekend for me, so I don't mind going back out, I guess."

Though he obviously would have liked the pole position, a front-row starting spot is just fine with Skeen, who is making his 2010 Trans-Am Series debut this weekend. He competed in three Trans-Am races last season, earning a best result of second after starting from the back of the grid in the 2009 season opener at Road Atlanta. He had planned on running the full 2010 Trans-Am season but missed the first two rounds due to a mechanical problem his car suffered in testing at New Jersey.

"Qualifying itself went really well," Skeen said. "The car wasn't quite as good as it was in practice earlier this morning, but I can't complain at all. We went out and had provisional pole there for the first half and then Tony went back out. We saw he went faster, so we went back out and tried. I messed with the sway bars in the car to try to get it quicker, but we just went slower. I think we've got a great car for the race tomorrow. When we ran in practice this morning on full fuel and old tires, the car was good and we were very close to everybody else that was running less fuel. I'm really excited about tomorrow for our first race with Agee Racing."

Starting third will be series points leader RJ Lopez, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in the No. 6 Disco 106/ECR Engines/Goodyear Chevrolet Corvette for Lopesport. Lopez, who has finished second in each of the first two races this season, posted a best qualifying lap at 1:29.765 (88.230 mph), despite battling a brake issue throughout the session.

"I thought we were going to end up, maybe, fourth, so qualifying third isn't bad," Lopez said. "Really, I didn't have any brakes. We put new calipers in, and I guess when you've got new calipers, you've got to bleed them a few times. My brakes were just on the floor, although I did get my fast lap with my brakes on the floor, so maybe I've just been braking too much all weekend. We feel pretty good. The car is running good, but it's not running perfectly. It could be better, but I think we've got a good shot tomorrow."

Lopez will be joined on the second row by defending series champion Tomy Drissi, of Hollywood, Calif. Drissi turned a best qualifying lap at 1:29.820 (88.176) in the No. 5 THE A-TEAM: THERE IS NO PLAN B Jaguar XKR from RSR. He heads into Sunday's race looking for his second victory of the season after a triumph to open the year at New Jersey. Drissi qualified one spot ahead of his RSR teammate, Daniel Ramoutarsingh, of La Romain, Trinidad. Ramoutarsingh clocked a best lap at 1:30.225 (87.780 mph) in the No. 8 Trinrico Steel & Wire Products Jaguar XKR.

-source: scca pro racing

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Tony Ave , Mike Skeen , Daniel Ramoutarsingh