Friday
Jul202007

GRAND AM NEWS: Banner Racing Teammates Collins, Reese Will Share Front Row in Saturday's Grand-Am Rolex Series GT Race

Photo by John Thawley BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (July 20, 2007) – If qualifying is any indication, things are shaping up for a banner weekend for Banner Racing in Saturday’s Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve GT class race at Barber Motorsports Park.

Kelly Collins placed the No. 07 Banner Racing/Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R on the pole position for the race, which starts at 3 p.m. CT (Live, on SPEED) Saturday at the Birmingham track, running a time of 1:29.513 (92.500 mph). Collins and co-driver Paul Edwards have qualified on pole four times in the past five races, but are still searching for their first win of 2007.

“Craig (Stanton) was second in line and I was third to start the qualifying session,” Collins said. “David Murry (who was first in line) let us go by. I was going to try to go by Stanton, but he took off. I decided to give him some ground and give me something to chase after. Our Banner Pontiac GXP is the best it’s been in the past two days. We were good this morning but then went the wrong direction this afternoon, so we went back to this morning, used a softer front bar, and ran consistent laps and ran it as hard as we could until we ripped the tires off.”

Starting alongside Collins in the front row is the second Banner Racing entry, the No. 06 Banner Engineering Pontiac GXP.R driven by Leighton Reese. Reese, who will co-drive with Tim Lewis Jr., qualified in a time of 1:29.738 (92.268 mph). Both Collins and Reese set their fast laps on the second lap of the 15-minute qualifying session.

“For my personal ego, we’d like to be P1, but if the 06 or 07 does well, it’s a victory for Pontiac and a victory for Banner,” Reese said. “That’s all we care about right now. Good job for Kelly Collins, he ripped off a flier, and we squeaked one out over Craig Stanton and the Farnbacher guys. It should be a good battle tomorrow.”

Stanton, co-driving the No. 85 Farnbacher Loles Motorsports Shoes For Crews/Recaro Porsche GT3 with Ian Baas, fell just short of Reese with a fast lap of 1:29.747 (92.259 mph) to qualify third. The No. 85 is also searching for its first win in 2007.

Nick Ham will start the race in the No. 70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8 alongside of Stanton, after lapping the 2.3-mile, 16-turn permanent road course in 1:30.184 (91.812 mph). Ham and co-driver Sylvain Tremblay have won three times this season. Eric Curran’s No. 03 Georgian Bay Motorsports SCADAPack Corvette is the fourth engine manufacturer in the GT class qualifying top-five, after Curran turned a lap of 1:30.405 (91.587 mph). Curran – who will also start on the Grand-Am KONI Challenge Series Street Tuner (ST) – teams this weekend with Jamie Holtom.

Rolex GT championship points leader Dirk Werner will co-drive in tomorrow’s race in the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Motorsports Marquis Jet/IPC/Recaro Porsche GT3 with Bryce Miller, who qualified in seventh place.

The GT machines will fire up Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. CT (Live on SPEED) for 109 laps (250.7 miles, 400 kilometers) or two-and-a-half hours. Live coverage of the event – including live Timing & Scoring data and audio webcasts – is available on the official web site of Grand-Am, www.grand-am.com.

Friday
Jul202007

SCCA NEWS: Aschenbach Fastest in SPEED GT Practice at Mid-Ohio

Photo by John Thawley LEXINGTON, Ohio (Jul. 20, 2007) - Lawson Aschenbach, of West Palm Beach, Fla., was the quickest car in practice for SCCA SPEED World Challenge GT at Mid-Ohio Presented by Trenton Forging. Doug Peterson, of Bonita Springs, Fla., and Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla. completed the top three.

After closing out the morning practice session in eighth place, Aschenbach topped the afternoon practice times with a 1:26.172 (94.332 mph) in his No. 1 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/Bose Cadillac CTS-V. The time is under the current SCCA SPEED GT qualifying lap record at Mid-Ohio and was the fastest time of the day.

Peterson was fastest in the morning session and slipped to second in the afternoon session with lap of 1:26.274 (94.220 mph) in the No. 87 3-Dimensional Services Chevrolet Corvette.

Driving the No. 8 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/Bose Cadillac CTS-V, Pilgrim put two Cadillacs in the top three after turning a lap of 1.26.404 (94.079 mph).

Current SCCA SPEED GT Drivers' Championship leader Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., finished the day fourth fastest in a No. 22 K-PAX Racing LLC/Jim Haughy Porsche 911 GT3 with a 1:26.449 (94.030 mph). Brian Kubinski, of Plainfield, Ill., completed the top five with a 1:26.932 (93.507 mph) in his No. 12 Diamond Contrustion/Blackdog Racing Chevrolet Corvette.

Tomorrow"s SCCA SPEED Touring Car qualifying is scheduled for 7:50 a.m. (EDT). Visit www.world-challenge.com for the latest results, live timing and lap notes.

Friday
Jul202007

SCCA NEWS: Wittmer Fastest In Final Mid-Ohio SPEED Touring Car Practice

Photo by John Thawley LEXINGTON, Ohio (Jul. 20, 2007) - For the second-straight race, Canadian Kuno Wittmer topped the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car practice charts, leading the field into Saturday's qualifying for this weekend's SPEED Touring Car race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Presented by Trenton Forging. Charles Espenlaub, of Lutz, Fla., and Seth Thomas, of Cumming, Ga., completed the top three.

Ninth in the first practice session, Wittmer turned a fast time of 1:33.279 (87.145 mph) in his No. 44 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Racing Acura RSX as the sun set on the 13-turn, 2.258-mile circuit. Espenlaub was just 0.033-second behind in his No. 97 Mazdaspeed/Tindol/Oakley/Sparco Mazda 6.

Thomas was third in his No. 38 Bimmerworld BMW 325i with a quick time of 1:33.349 (87.079 mph), followed by teammate Joey Hand (No. 37 Bimmerworld BMW 325i), with a 1:33.629 (86.819 mph). Peter Cunningham, winner of the most recent round at Toronto, completed the top five in his No. 42 Acura Certified Pre-Owned/RealTime Racing Acura TSX, with a fast time of 1:33.715 (86.740 mph).

Qualifying for Sunday’s Round Seven race is scheduled for bright and early Saturday at 7:25 a.m. (EDT). Live timing and scoring as well as session notes are available via the SCCA Pit Board at www.world-challenge.com.

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