LONG BEACH, Calif. (April 9, 2006) – Tommy Archer, of Duluth, Minn., captured his first SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship pole since 2004, and will lead the field on its Round Three standing start as part of today’s Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Lou Gigliotti, of Dallas, will start alongside Archer’s Viper on the front row.-30-
NASCAR Craftsman Truck star Todd Bodine, taking his first laps in the series Sunday morning, qualified 12th.
Driving the No. 5 c3controls/Autohaus Dodge Viper SRT, Archer turned a fastest time of 1:26.346 (82.051 mph) after a brief red flag in the 20-minute session to remove a stalled car. It is the 2004 SCCA SPEED GT Champion’s first pole since Portland 2004, and the third pole of his 38-race SPEED World Challenge career.
“We bolted on new tires for the first time, and the track was very slippery because we were the first out this morning,” Archer said. “The new tires worked good. The new engine was a good thing. Sometimes when you change them, even though they come out a certain percentage of each other, they don’t all run the same. But, this one seems to be as good as the last one, so I’m happy about that.
“There were a couple of accidents on the track during the session that can upset your mindset. But, I just kept my mindset that I had to go do one hard one and see where I would come out. I had no idea we could turn a lap that fast. I figured we could pull three or four tenths off, not a full second.”
Archer’s performance comes one week after crashing out of the Round Two race in St. Petersburg, Fla., an incident that would cost him all of his Championship points. After the St. Petersburg incident and a blown engine at Sebring’s opening round, Archer earned a precious five points for today’s pole.
“You never know how these things are going to go,” Archer said. “Things happen, as we saw at St. Pete. I was running up front there, and I made a mistake, which caused the Banner Engineering car to have a bad day, along with myself. You just have to stay clean, and I typically run clean races.
“This is a tight series. Just about everyone one of us [in the top five] are racing for a different manufacturer, and you have to protect your brand. Things happen sometimes, but I’d like to score some points now and get back into the game. My plan is to stay clean, score points and see where the chips fall at the end of the season.”
Driving the No. 28 LG Pro Long Tube Headers Chevrolet Corvette C6, Gigliotti was just 0.370-second away from taking his second-straight pole, turning a lap of 1:26.716 (81.701 mph) around the 1.968-mile circuit. Like, Archer, Gigliotti has experience on the Long Beach circuit in the Trans-Am series, where he won in 2001.
Sebring winner Mike McCann, of N. Canton, Ohio, will line up third in his No. 82 McCann Plastics/K&N Filters Dodge Viper with a time of 1:26.917 (81.512 mph). Team Cadillac/XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/On Star Cadillac CTS-V teammates Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., and Ron Fellows, of Missisauga, Ontario, completed the top five in the morning qualifying session.
Bodine, who finalized a deal Saturday evening to drive the No. 30 Whelen Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette C5, turned a fastest time of 1:28.516 in his first laps driving a SPEED GT car and will line up 12th this afternoon. Bodine was in attendance of the event as part of the Toyota Celebrity race in Saturday. He currently sits third in Craftsman Truck points, with one win.
Today’s Round Three race will make its standing start at 4 p.m. (PDT). To follow Live Timing and Scoring Presented by SRT and up to the minute lap notes, please launch the SCCA Pit Board available through www.world-challenge.com.
Today’s race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel Sunday, April 16 at 2 p.m. (EDT), 11 a.m. (PDT).
To forward this release, use this link: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=552