BRASELTON, Ga. (Oct. 2, 2008) – Chip Herr, of Lititz, Pa., earned his sixth-career pole position in qualifying for Friday’s SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Finale Presented by Toyo Tires®, part of the 11th Annual Petit Le Mans Presented by the Totally New MAZDA6 at Road Atlanta. Rookie Patrick Lindsey, of Santa Barbara, Calif., will start a career-best second.
After topping the early practice session on Wednesday, Herr continued to show tremendous speed in the No. 97 Mazdaspeed/Tindol Motorsports MAZDA6, clocking the fastest qualifying lap around the 12-turn, 2.54-mile circuit.
“We’ve been making changes from the first session out in the car,” Herr said. “We have all people from Ohlins [shocks] here - obviously with Martin [Ohlin] in the car, and we’re looking at data and shocks constantly. There are three shock guys here and his father is here. We’re making changes, whether it’s a new change or going back to something we had before. The change we made for the sticker tires - it worked. The car was perfect for that lap. I brought it in and I was hoping that lap would do it, because I wanted to save my tires for the race.”
It did, in fact, only take one lap, his first of the 20-minute session, to turn a 1:33.181 (98.131 mph) and take the pole, the second-consecutive Road Atlanta pole for Tindol Motorsports.
“It is important to Tindol Motorsports to get a one-two finish,” Herr added. “We had that plan for qualifying and the race. It really didn’t matter who got it, whether it was Michael [Galati] or me. It’s good to see Patrick Lindsey up front. If we can keep it that way in the race, a Mazda podium will be a great way to end the year.”
Just as sweet as a pole position, Lindsey earned his highest-ever qualifying spot by putting his No. 57 Horton Motorsports/Sloan Securities MAZDA6 second on the grid. The rookie entered a time of 1:33.336 (97.968 mph). Lindsey’s previous best qualifying effort was 12th.
Last year’s Road Atlanta race winner, Michael Galati, of Olmsted, Ohio, qualified his No. 95 Mazda North America/Tindol MAZDA6 third. With a lap of 1:33.373 (97.929 mph), Galati put Mazdas one-two-three on the grid for Friday’s race.
Championship contender Pierre Kleinubing, of Coconut Creek, Fla., was the highest qualifying Acura. Kleinubing will start fourth in the No. 43 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Oil Acura TSX after turning a 1:33.452 (97.847 mph). With four points earned for qualifying, Kleinubing now pulls himself to within eight points of Kuno Wittmer and 12 points of Championship leader Peter Cunningham.
Eric Curran, of East Hampton, Mass., who started on pole here in 2006, completed the top five in the No. 45 Acura/RealTime/Eibach/Red Line Oil Acura TSX. Curran entered a qualifying time of 1:33.626 (97.665 mph).
Current point leader Cunningham put his Acura TSX sixth on the grid, followed by the BMW 325i of Georgia driver Seth Thomas.
Jim Daniels (MAZDA6), Charles Espenlaub (MAZDA6) and James Clay (BMW 325i) completed the top 10.
Wittmer, who is second in the Drivers’ Championship qualified his Acura TSX 11th, giving himself quite a bit of work to do in the race should he hope to capture the title.
The SCCA SPEED Touring Car Finale Presented by Toyo Tires is set for 10:20 a.m. (EDT) on Friday. Live timing and lap notes will be available at www.world-challenge.com. The race will air on SPEED, Wednesday, Oct. 15 at 2 p.m. (EDT).
BRASELTON, Ga. - Starting lineup for Friday's SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge Touring Car Finale Presented by Toyo Tires, part of the 11th Annual Petit Le Mans Presented by the Totally New MAZDA6 at Road Atlanta, with position, car number in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, fastest lap time, and speed in miles per hour.
1, (97), Chip Herr, Lititz, Pa., MAZDA6, 1:33.181, 98.131.
2, (57), Patrick Lindsey(R), Santa Barbara, Calif., MAZDA6, 1:33.336, 97.968.
3, (95), Michael Galati, Olmsted, Ohio, MAZDA6, 1:33.373, 97.929.
4, (43), Pierre Kleinubing, Coconut Creek, Fla., Acura TSX, 1:33.452, 97.847.
5, (45), Eric Curran, East Hampton, Mass., Acura RSX, 1:33.626, 97.665.
6, (42), Peter Cunningham, Milwaukee, Wis., Acura TSX, 1:33.778, 97.506.
7, (38), Seth Thomas, Cumming, Ga., BMW 325i, 1:33.816, 97.467.
8, (75), Jim Daniels(R), Germantown, Tenn., MAZDA6, 1:33.877, 97.404.
9, (73), Charles Espenlaub, Lutz, Fla., MAZDA6, 1:33.941, 97.337.
10, (36), James Clay, Blacksburg, Va., BMW 325i, 1:33.960, 97.318.
11, (44), Kuno Wittmer, Montreal, Quebec, Acura TSX, 1:33.968, 97.309.
12, (74), Jason Saini(R), Fort Worth, Texas, MAZDA6, 1:34.249, 97.019.
13, (96), Charlie Putman, Mills, Wyo., MAZDA6, 1:34.423, 96.840.
14, (46), Glenn Bocchino, Delray Beach, Calif., Acura TSX, 1:34.552, 96.708.
15, (34), Nick Esayian, San Diego, Calif., BMW 325i, 1:34.617, 96.642.
16, (94), Martin Ohlin, Sweeden, , Mazda6, 1:35.048, 96.204.
17, (52), Byron Smith, Salt lake City, Utah, BMW 330i, 1:37.638, 93.652.
18, (24), Jim Osborn, Ooltewah, Tenn., Volkswagen Jetta TDI, 1:39.571, 91.834.
19, (49), Carl Hober(R), Cape May, N.J., Acura TSX, 1:40.536, 90.952.