After a second-place finish earlier in the day, Nick Evans, of Powell, Ohio, qualified on the pole for Sunday's SCCA Pro Racing Playboy Mazda MX-5 Cup race at Autobahn Country Club, part of the Harrah's Autobahn Grand Prix presented by Mazda.
Evans' No. 28 Team MER/Mazda/Sparco Mazda MX-5 earned the nod to start at the front of the field after posting a best time of 2:44.413 (77.950mph) in the 30-minute session. It's the second pole position in MX-5 Cup competition for Evans, who finished second to Brad Rampelberg in the weekend's first of two races.
The time establishes a new qualifying record, bettering Rampelberg's pole time of 2:44.520 (77.899mph) set Friday.
"It was obviously a good run for Team MER," Evans said. "I think it's pretty important to get the lap early when the tires are fresh. There seems to be kind of a fall-off period where they're not quite as quick. Being this late in the day, it's important that you get a lap in when the track is in its prime. Obviously, it ended up being the first lap, so that's when I was able to get mine in. After that, I kind of figured that it was going to hold up."
Rampelberg, of San Jose, Calif., will start on the outside of row one in Sunday's race after a time of 2:44.717 (77.806mph) around the 19-turn, 3.56-mile course. The No. 4 AMG Racing/Mazda/Cobalt Brakes MX-5 was just 0.304-second from pole position.
The second row for Sunday's race is identical to Saturday's, with championship leader Justin Piscitell and Michael Cooper filling positions three and four.
Piscitell, of Weston, Conn., will start behind his Team MER teammate in the No. 89 Team MER/DAMG Worldwide/Merchant Services MX-5 after posting a time of 2:44.915 (77.712mph). Piscitell both started and finished third during Saturday's race as well.
Like Piscitell, Cooper will start behind his teammate after qualifying the No. 84 AMG Racing/Bromante Landscaping & Design MX-5 with a best time of 2:44.958 (77.692mph).
Row three features the No. 77 ALARA Racing/Coolgas.com MX-5 of Jesse Combs on the inside for the second-consecutive day after a best time of 2:45.254 (77.553mph). Like the first two rows, an AMG car is on the outside after Mark Carpenter qualified his No. 14 AMG Racing/GGS Technical Publication MX-5 in 2:45.312 (77.526mph).
Jeff Mosing (No. 30 Team MER/Frank's International/Race Now For Autism MX-5) starts seventh after a time of 2:45.358 (77.504 mph), matching his efforts from a day earlier. Ara Malkhassian (No. 11 ALARA Racing/Bulldog Productions MX-5) is eighth after posting a best time of 2:45.409 (77.480 mph), less than a second from Evans' pole time.
Lyonel Kent (No. 13 ALARA Racing/Bulldog Productions MX-5) and Alfred Caiola (No. 09 AMG/B & L Management MX-5) compose row 10.