Pruett Claims Rolex 24 Pole as Ganassi Sweeps Front Row
Grand Am Rolex 24 - Daytona International Speedway
Scott Pruett captured his third career pole position at the Rolex 24 At Daytona on Thursday, a 1:40.553 (127.455mph) lap at Daytona International Raceway. Going for a record-tying fifth overall victory in the race, Pruett won the TOTAL Pole Award driving the No. 01 TELMEX/Target Chip Ganassi Racing BMW Riley.
"We knew we had a pretty good balance with the car, but I knew I had to yank one off. I gave it all I had, and took a few chances going through the bus stop," related Pruett. "I don't know how many more years I'll be doing this, so I'll see if I can start up near the front as much as I can.
"Winning the pole is big for us. A lot of people have been talking about a lot of sandbagging, but I can absolutely tell you, we laid out all of our hand on the table for qualifying. That's what we're supposed to do. We're racers.
“There is a little sadness, though. One of our guys from our Concord (N.C.) shop, Sammy Gonzalez, unfortunately passed away from cancer today, so I dedicate this pole to him.”
The gap back to Scott Dixon in the second-place No. 02 Target TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing entry was just 0.093sec, despite a lack of seat time for the IndyCar star.
“Qualifying was the first time I was in the car all week," Dixon related. "We've had a lot of problems with the steering and all kind of things, and even the handling-wise, we haven't done too well with that. I'm surprised we're only a tenth off. I think the car's going to be quick – there still is some speed in our car.
"It's kind of funny. Both of our cars don't even come to the open test (Roar Before the Rolex 24) very similar, and then we gravitate away from each other even more. I couldn't even tell you what they're (the No. 01) running.”
Dane Cameron qualified third for Team Sahlen's at 1:41.213 (126.624mph) in the No. 42 BMW Riley.
Nick Tandy won his first Rolex Series GT pole with a lap of 1:47.631 (119.074mph) in the No. 32 Konrad Motorsport/Orbit Porsche GT3. The reigning Porsche Cup winner was 0.197sec clear of Andy Lally – last year's GT race winner – in Magnus Racing's No. 44 Porsche GT3.
“It was our strategy to wait a few laps and see what the pace was, and play it from there," said Tandy. "We managed to get one clean lap in – which was all we needed. The car is really good on race pace, which is everything. But it's nice to start the race with Porsche 1-2 at the front. Winning the pole sounds very good to me. Let's see if we can translate that to, ‘Nick Tandy, champion of the Rolex 24.'”
Sean Edwards qualified third for MOMO/NGT Motorsport in the No. 32 Porsche GT3 at 1:48.007 (118.659mph).
Shane Lewis went into the record books as the first pole winner in GX. He set a time of 1:54.606 (111.827mph) in Porsche Napleton Racing's No. 16 Porsche Cayman. Ryan Eversley qualified second at 1:58.221 (108.407mph) in the No. 38 BGB Motorsports Porsche Cayman. Andrew Carbonell was third for Freedom Autosport/SpeedSource in its No. 25 Mazda 6 at 2:00.740 (106.145mph).
"Obviously, we can't run this kind of pace during the race," Lewis said of his Cayman's 3.6sec margin over second. "We're going to have to take care of it, but it's a great car with a lot of street parts. We're going to have to balance between performance and endurance.”
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