SEBRING, Fla. (March 16, 2006) – Leighton Reese, of Minnetonka, Minn., took the SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT pole Thursday, running a 2:08.764 (103.445 mph) in his No. 6 Banner Engineering Chevrolet Corvette C6 and setting a new SPEED GT Sebring qualifying record in the process. Mike McCann, of North Canton, Ohio, will start second alongside Reese, and Tommy Archer, of Duluth, Minn. qualified third for the Round One race, which will run as part of the 54th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring.-30-
After taking the top spot in the combined practice sessions Wednesday, Reese appeared stronger still Thursday, blistering the 3.7-mile, 17-turn road course to earn his third pole of the past two seasons and give Chevrolet the first qualifying point of the year in the SPEED GT Manufacturers’ Championship Presented by RACER Magazine.
“Well, it’s a good thing we came in and did the test day, because we were a mess the first couple of sessions,” Reese said. “We found a good balance on the car, and the car has basically been a top-four machine ever since then.
“I’ve got to hand it to my crew chief. He has just been relentless on the car’s chassis. He is forever checking things and working until 11 at night. This is a game of details and he covers all of them. We’ve been on the pole a number of times over the past two years, and I need to convert one of these.”
McCann, the 2004 SPEED GT Rookie of the Year, was third during the early part of the 20-min. qualifying session before posting a 2:08.926 (103.315 mph) near the halfway point in his No. 82 McCann Plastics/K&N Filters Dodge Viper.
Tommy Archer, of Duluth, Minn., appeared to have a handle on the front-row, outside slot in his No. 5 c3controls/Autohaus Dodge SRT Viper until McCann slipped past him. Starting third in Friday’s race, however, still gives Archer a solid chance to defend his 2005 win at Sebring.
Lou Gigliotti, of Dallas, Texas, put two Corvettes in the first two rows by qualifying fourth in his No. 28 LG Pro Long Tube Headers Chevrolet Corvette C6, while reigning SPEED GT Drivers’ Champion Andy Pilgrim, of Boca Raton, Fla., will start fifth in the No. 1 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/On Star Cadillac CTS-V.
The SCCA SPEED GT race, part of the 54th Annual Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring, is scheduled for 4:50 p.m. Friday.
To watch the race via live lap notes and timing and scoring presented by SRT, visit www.world-challenge.com and click on the Sebring event homepage. Friday’s race will be broadcast on SPEED Channel at 4 p.m. on Sunday. All times are Eastern.
To forward this story, use this link: http://www.scca.com/News/News.asp?Ref=531