VIR: Series Saturday practice report

Graf Fastest In Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Practice At VIR ALTON, Va. (April 18, 2009) -- German Klaus Graf was the fastest in Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am practice today at VIRginia International Raceway, in preparation for Sunday's Round Two ...

Graf Fastest In Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am Practice At VIR

ALTON, Va. (April 18, 2009) -- German Klaus Graf was the fastest in Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am practice today at VIRginia International Raceway, in preparation for Sunday's Round Two race. Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C., and Jim Goughary, of Jupiter, Fla., were second and third quickest, respectively.

For the second straight day, Graf continued his assault on the Trans-Am track record at VIR. Yesterday, he turned a lap time nearly three seconds under the record set by Stu Hayner (1:49.329, 107.675 mph) in 2002. Today, under hotter conditions than yesterday, Graf still turned a lap time 1.5 seconds under the track record with a 1:47.776 (109.227 mph). His No. 6 Pickett Racing/Muscle Milk Jaguar XJR looked hooked up going through Turns Three, Four and Five, while other competitors fought the slick conditions.

"We are really pleased with the car," Graf said. "This afternoon, it was quite warm and the track was not in the best shape, which is what probably explains the difference in the lap time from yesterday. But still, I was very pleased with the Muscle Milk car. The guys did a really good job. We were right on the money, but we've got to keep it up heading into qualifying. The qualifying session tomorrow morning will be completely different in terms of weather conditions [from what we saw this afternoon]. But, we've got to keep the momentum going."

Ave, who was the Round One pole winner at Road Atlanta and who is coming off a disappointing 13th-place finish, hopes his luck will change this weekend. He was second fastest today in his No. 10 McMahon Group/Stumpf Ford Ford Mustang. He turned a 1:49.681 (107.329 mph) around the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course. Despite running a harder compound tire than Graf, Ave was still pleased with his lap times despite being nearly two seconds slower than Graf.

"We are in good shape because Klaus is on 250s, which is the softest tire," Ave said about the difference in the tire compounds. "We are on 430s, which is the hardest tire and I haven't put a set of stickers on yet. So, he is going to be faster. I'm sure he'll get the pole. But, as long as I can start somewhere in the top four, I'll be fine. I only care about leading the last 10 miles or so."

Goughary, piloting the No. 72 Luna Sueno Tequila Chevrolet Corvette, turned the third quickest lap time with a 1:49.708 (107.303 mph).

"It was very slippery," Goughary said. "It seemed to be very greasy and hot. It was hotter than it's been all weekend. My car had a pretty big push going in and it was pretty loose coming out of the corners. It was an oily, hot, greasy race track today. I think everybody struggled."

Rookie RJ Lopez, of Bal Harbour, Fla., was fourth fastest his No. 06 WabashPower.com/Mobil 1 Chevrolet Corvette with a 1:50.035 (106.984 mph), while Jorge Diaz turned a 1:50.979 (106.984 mph) in his No. 2 JD Racing Jaguar XKR.

Muscle Milk SCCA Trans-Am qualifying is set for 8:55 a.m. (EDT) Sunday, with the Round Two green flag set to drop at 3:15 p.m. later in the day.

-credit: scca

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About this article
Series Trans-Am
Drivers Klaus Graf , Tony Ave , Jim Goughary , Stu Hayner , Jorge Diaz