TEAM NEWS: All Banner Pontiac GXP.R Front Row At Mid-Ohio

Photo by John ThawleyThe Banner Pontiac GXP.R racers will start one and two for tomorrow's EMCO Gears Classic at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course GT race and round seven of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve.

The No. 07 Banner GXP.R qualified by Kelly Collins will start from the pole with a time of 1:25.329. Teammate Leighton Reese in the 06 Pontiac will start second, with the Connolly Motosports GTO.R starting fourth and the No. 30 Racers Edge GXP.R going away in fifth.

Collins held the crowd at Mid-Ohio in high drama as he waited until the waning laps to put in his pole time. The top of the time sheet was crowded with Pontiac teams until it finally sorted itself out at the very last seconds of the session. Collins will lead the GT field to the green tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. EDT and then turn the GXP.R over to co-driver Paul Edwards.

"I had traffic early in the session," Collins said. "I had to find a hole and then was able to put a clear lap together which resulted in a good time. Half way through the session the rear started to get a little loose, so I made a small sway-bar adjustment and that really helped. With Leighton starting next to me we should be able to control the start. The Banner guys put a good car under me today, Paul and I are hungry for a win."

The No. 06 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R qualified by Leighton Reese turned a time of 1:25.551, good for the outside front row starting spot. Reese, like Collins, had to adjust the ride on the fly to maximize the handling of the GXP.R. Reese is teamed with Tim Lewis Jr. for the two-and-one-half hour race.

"The car was really good," Reese said. "I had to make a couple of bar adjustments, but that is common to take full advantage of the track conditions and weather. I put my lap in late in the session which we usually can't do with these tires, so I hope that is a good sign of our tire wear for the race. Kelly did a great job to get the pole and it will be nice to see the Banner cars lead the field to the flag tomorrow."

Shawn Price in the No. 21 Pontiac GTO.R put in a lap of 1:25.704, which will see the new Pontiac team start from the second row. Price, an off-road motorcycle racer, likes the team's prospects for the race. Price is teamed with Hal Prewitt and team owner Matt Connolly.

"The car was great," Price said. "The Connolly guys really had hit the setup right off of the truck. The car here has good balance and we able to put the power down. We were pretty fast at Laguna once we got some miles under us in the race. We are looking toward having a solid finish tomorrow."

In the No. 30 Racers Edge Pontiac GXP.R Drew Staveley laid down a lap time of 1:25.748 that will see him start in fifth position. Staveley and teammate Mark Pavan have been competitive all season and should prove to be a factor on Sunday.

"I had a pretty good fast lap," Staveley said. "I caught a slower car on my good lap and that cost just a little bit. The tires were starting to go off at that point and I really couldn't improve my time. Fifth is a good spot, probably even better than fourth since I will be on the inside going into the first turn. The Racers Edge team is really consistent and we are improving every time out."

The Daytona Prototype cars will take the green today at 5:45 p.m., the race will be televised, taped delayed, on SPEED Channel the same day starting at 8:00 p.m. EDT. The GT race will go off tomorrow, Sunday, June 24 at 11:00 a.m. EDT, and will start on SPEED one-hour later at 12:00 p.m. EDT.

Top 10 Grand-Am GT Mid-Ohio Qualifiers:

1. Edwards, Collins Pontiac GXP.R 1:25.329

2. Lewis, Reese Pontiac GXP.R 1:25.551

3. Tremblay, Ham Mazda RX-8 1:25.572

4. Prewitt, Price, Connolly Pontiac GTO.R 1:25.704

5. Pavan, Stavely Pontiac GXP.R 1:25.748

6. Miller, Werner Porsche GT3 1:26.284

7. Bunting, Cicero Corvette 1:26.514

8. Farnbacher, Keen Porsche GT3 1:26.517

9. Nastasi, James Mustang 1:26.523

10. Wilkins, Lacy Porsche GT3 1:26.535

Pontiac Powered Grand-Am Teams Entered for Mid-Ohio:

#06 GT, Banner Racing, Pontiac GXP.R, Reese, Lewis

#07 GT, Banner Racing, Pontiac GXP.R, Edwards, Collins

#10 DP, SunTrust, Angelelli, Taylor, Cochet

#11 DP, SAMAX, Carpentier, Szekeres

#12 DP, RVO Motorsports, Schramm, Bell

#21 GT, Connolly Motorsports GTO.R, Connolly, Prewitt

#30 GT, Racers Edge Motorsports, Staveley, Pavan

#75 DP, Krohn Racing, Braun, Papis

#76 DP, Krohn Racing, Krohn, Jonsson

#91 DP, Riley-Mathews Motorsports, Mathews, Hunter-Reay

#99 DP, GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, Gurney, Fogarty

« GRAND AM NEWS: Collins Takes Record Grand-Am Rolex Series GT Pole as Banner Racing Sweeps Front Row in Qualifying at Mid-Ohio | Main | TEAM NEWS: SunTrust Racing Friday report »

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