Grand-Am Rolex Series Daytona Prototype Pole of Season Friday at Infineon Raceway
Still looking for first career victory, Valiante moves to front after Frisselle’s time is disallowed
Michael Valiante was awarded his third Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 pole position of the season in Friday's qualifying for the Armed Forces Grand-Am 250 at Infineon Raceway.
Valiante ran a lap of 1:25.957 (103.447 mph) in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Dallara on the 2.47-mile, 12-turn course, and captured the top starting position following post-qualifying inspection. He will lead the field in Round 13 of the Rolex Series, a 250-mile/102-lap race with a two-hour, 45-minute time limit. The race will be televised at noon ET Sunday on SPEED.
This was the fourth pole of the season for the SunTrust team, with Max Angelelli leading qualifying for the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen in a Pontiac Riley in June. Brian Frisselle appeared to score his second consecutive - and second career - pole position after running a lap of 1:25.659 (103.807 mph). However, both the No. 61 AIM Autosport Exchange Traded Gold Ford Riley and the No. 76 Krohn Racing Pontiac Lola qualified fourth by Nic Jonsson were moved to the back of the grid after failing post-qualifying technical inspection. The No. 61 car was found to be too wide, while the No. 76 was too low.
David Donohue will start second in the No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley, running a lap of 1:26.344 (102.983 mph). Starting third will be Jon Fogarty, who joined co-driver Alex Gurney in winning last year's race at Infineon Raceway, who ran a fast lap of 1:26.790 (102.454 mph) in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley. Joining him on the second row will be Bill Auberlen in the No. 23 Ruby Tuesday Porsche Riley, who clocked in at 1:26.799 (102.444 mph).
Memo Rojas, a six-time winner this season with Scott Pruett in the No. 01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates, qualified fifth at 1:26.862 (102.369 mph). He and Pruett enter the race with a 49-point lead over Fogarty and Gurney, the defending Daytona Prototype champions. He will be joined on the third row by Ricky Taylor, who qualified at 1:27.446 (101.686 mph) in the No. 47 Brach's/CDOC Ford Dallara he co-drives with Burt Frisselle.
Rounding out the top 10 qualifiers were John Pew, Brad Jaeger, Mark Patterson and Shane Lewis.
Saturday's schedule opens with a 30-minute practice session at 10:45 a.m. PT. The race is scheduled to take the green flag at 3:21 p.m. PT.
NEWS & NOTES
- This is the fourth pole position of the season for the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac machine and the third this season for Michael Valiante.
- The No. 10 Pontiac - contested as a Dallara and a Riley this season - has a season-best four poles. The team is still looking for its first victory in 2008.
- Six drivers broke the previous track qualifying record, set by Jon Fogarty in 2007 at 1:28.028 (103.058 mph).
- Three manufacturers - Pontiac, Porsche and Lexus - and three different chassis makes - Riley, Dallara and Lola - were in the top five.
- Sixteen of the 17 cars took times during the session. A mechanical problem on the No. 16 Cheever Racing Crown Royal Cask No. 16 Pontiac Coyote kept the team from qualifying.
POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES (TOP-THREE QUALIFIERS)
Michael Valiante (No. 10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Dallara): "Starting on the pole is very important here, because the first corner is very sharp. I think we have a great car for this race because it's consistent. I think we can win this race. I was surprised by how quick we went, because it was a lot quicker than we went in practice."
David Donohue (No. 58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley): "The guys at Brumos Racing did an amazing recovery from yesterday when we were really off the pace. Joe LaJoie, our engineer, really put his head to the grindstone with the guys working on the car. The car was really good in practice this morning, and got even better in qualifying. I think we have a good car for the race."
Jon Fogarty (No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley): "We've been searching a little bit all weekend. This has historically been a good track for us, but we will keep working at it. We're fortunate to have a half hour practice before the race tomorrow and we will try a couple of more things.
"We'll go racing tomorrow, do everything we can and we are right there with who we are in the championship battle with."