Date: June 20, 2008
Event: EMCO Gears Classic
Series: Daytona Prototype division of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series
Location: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Lexington, Ohio (2.258-mile, 13-turn road course)
Pole Winner: David Donohue of Brumos Porsche (1:17.883 at 104.372 mph)
SunTrust Racing: Sixth by Michael Valiante (1:18.789 at 103.172 mph)
The No. 10 SunTrust Pontiac Riley of Wayne Taylor Racing (WTR) will start Saturday’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series EMCO Gears Classic from the outside of the third row after qualifying Friday afternoon at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington.
Michael Valiante toured the 2.258-mile, 13-turn road circuit with a fast lap of 1 minute, 18.789 seconds (103.172 mph) to put the SunTrust Racing machine he’s co-driving with Max Angelelli sixth on the 41-car starting grid for Saturday’s scheduled 250-mile race.
“We’ve just got to keep on improving the car,” Valiante said after the team’s sixth top-six qualifying effort in seven starts this season. “That was everything the car had for qualifying today. But we’ve been making gains over the course of the weekend, so I think we’ll have a really good race car even though the qualifying pace wasn’t the quickest. It hasn’t really mattered this year where people have started. You can start from the back and win. Most important is to make sure we have a good-handling car that’s going to last us the whole race. And you never know what’s going to happen because we’ll have GT cars out there with us, as well. With traffic in the mix, there’s going to be a lot going on tomorrow.”
The SunTrust Pontiac was knocked out of the top-five on the very last lap of today’s 15-minute qualifying session when Memo Rojas posted the fourth-fastest time in the championship-leading No. 01 Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates entry he’ll share with Scott Pruett on Saturday. Rojas handled all of his team’s practice and qualifying today as Pruett was at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., practicing and qualifying for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race.
David Donohue qualified the No. 58 Brumos Porsche on the pole with a last-lap effort of his own. It was Donohue’s third pole of the season, this time by a mere two-thousandths of a second over the No. 99 Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac.
“I think we will have a good race car, for sure,” Angelelli said. “I am very happy that we are back racing again with the GT cars on track with us at the same time because it really gives everybody a chance. We have a lot of practice time left tomorrow to keep improving the car.”
The top-five in qualifying were the following teams:
1. Brumos Porsche (No. 58 Porsche Riley) with David Donohue and Darren Law (1:17.883 at 104.372 mph)
2. Gainsco/Bob Stallings Racing (No. 99 Pontiac Riley) with Jon Fogarty and Alex Gurney (1:17.885 at 104.369 mph)
3. AIM Autosport (No. 61 Ford Riley) with Mark Wilkins and Brian Friselle (1:18.109 at 104.070 mph)
4. Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates (No. 01 Lexus Riley) with Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett (1:18.219 at 103.924 mph)
5. Krohn Racing (No. 76 Pontiac Lola) with Nic Jonsson and Ricardo Zonta (1:18.612 at 103.404 mph)
Two more practice sessions are left on the schedule, the first at 9:35 a.m. and the other at 1:25 p.m. EDT. Race time is 5 p.m. with SPEED-TV carrying the 250-mile (or 2-hour, 45-minute) event live. Complete results from all on-track sessions, as well as live timing and scoring during the race, can be found at www.grand-am.com.