No. 01 - Scott Pruett - powers through turn 1 en route to becoming the fast qualifier for the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen. [Joe Jennings Photo]
Pruett And Jordan Taylor Pole Winners At Watkins Glen
by Joe Jennings
Watkins Glen, N. Y. - Championship driver Scott Pruett raced his BMW Riley Daytona Prototype to the pole position for the Sahlen's Six Hours of the Glen during qualifications mid-day on Saturday. The 31st running of the famed race will take place Sunday, and it marks the eighth race of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series season.
Navigating his way smoothly around the 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course at Watkins Glen International, Pruett attained a speed of 120.818 miles per hour to give the Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates BMW Riley team its first pole in two years and their fourth for the six-hour race. For Pruett, his records continue to grow as he earned his 14th Rolex Series pole.
"I am shocked we got the pole, and it is great to be back (on the pole)," said Pruett of his last-minute fete. "It is the first one in a long time for the TELMEX team. It was all we had, and we wrung every ounce out of the car. We made several changes this morning, and then it was a matter of stepping in, stepping up in the saddle and trying to yank one off. The car had good balance, and we were able to roll the speed through the turns."
Memo Rojas serves as co-driver with Pruett.
Antonio Garcia topped the leader board until Pruett surpassed him at the end, and he had to settle for second place in the Spirit of Daytona Corvette. His speed was 120.474 mph. For Sunday's event, Oliver Gavin and Richard Westbrook will co-drive with Garcia.
Said Garcia about his run, "The car pretty good and I ran a couple of consistent laps. I held back for one lap, and then decided to go for it. It probably wasn't my best lap, so I told my crew guys I probably wasn't fast enough but they told me to pit. At that point, I thought I was still in the lead, but then Scott (Pruett) went faster. I thought I could go for another one, but this is a six-hour race and we are in the front row."
Joao Barbosa put the Action Express Racing Corvette into the third position with a speed of 120.393 mph. Darren Law and J. C. France co-drive with Barbosa.
Max Angelelli timed fourth fastest in the SunTrust Racing Corvette at a speed of 120.082 mph. Ricky Taylor co-drives with Angelelli.
The Starworks Motorsport Ford of Alex Popow and Lucas Luhr timed fifth ahead of the second Action Express Racing entry of David Donohue and Terry Borcheller.
Five additional Daytona Prototypes qualified for the upcoming race.
In GT qualifications, Jordan Taylor jumped into a new car, the Stevenson Motorsports Camaro GT.R, to claim the pole. The young Floridian scored his fifth career pole with the most recent pole coming in this race a year ago.
His speed was 110.475 mph, and his co-drivers are Matt Bell and Ronnie Bremer.
Said Taylor, "It was unexpected. We had been struggling all weekend, and we had our work cut out for us. The car came to life once we put on new tires and fuel. On the qualifying laps, I was flat-out all the way and luckily I stayed on all four wheels. And it was good enough for the pole."
Second fastest in class was the APR Motorsport/Audi Sport Customer Racing Audi R8 of Frank Stippler and Marc Basseng.
Stippler made the qualification run and was chagrined to have missed out on the pole. "A Mazda spun in front of us on my first lap, so my second lap was destroyed," he said. "I am quite pleased with second place and being in the second row. It wasn't a perfect lap, and it would have been a dream to be on the pole."
Third in class was the AIM Autosport Team FXDD Ferrari 458 of Emil Assentato, Jeff Segal and Anthony Lazzaro.
Thirty-two cars qualified for the second-longest race of the Rolex Series season.
SPEED will telecast the Sahlen's Six Hour of the Glen live starting at 11 a.m. on Sunday.