ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (Aug. 18, 2006) – Leighton Reese, of Minnetonka, Minn., jumped to the top of the charts with less than two minutes of SCCA Pro Racing SPEED World Challenge GT Championship practice remaining Friday to pace the field in preparation for Sunday’s Round Seven race, part of the Generac 500 weekend at Road America. Michael McCann, of N. Canton, Ohio, and James Sofronas, of Newport Beach, Calif., completed the top three.
Driving the No. 6 Banner Engineering Chevrolet Corvette, Reese uncorked a 2:16.380 (106.854 mph) at the end of the day to pace the field, but by just 0.014-second over McCann’s No. 82 McCann Plastics/K&N Filters Dodge Viper and 0.029-second over Sofronas’ No. 14 Global Motorsports Group Porsche 911 GT3.
“The car’s great,” Reese, who earned the pole at Sebring this year, said. “We basically went out there and practiced a qualifying run. In this series you never know if everyone else is showing their cards or not, but we are. We knew we’d be a little faster every session, I think some of that’s natural. The Vipers are gonna be tough here, but I think we’ve got a good long run car. The car’s really easy to drive and it’s making decent power and the car’s really handling well.
“We’re good qualifiers. It’s something we’ve learned and something you’ve gotta learn how to do for this series ‘cause it’s so difficult to pass, especially when the parity’s good. I knew we had a good lap going there, but I’m surprised we’re at the top of the sheets. I know the Vipers will be awful strong here.
“This track’s famous for being a power track, but honestly it’s got 14 very technical turns and some of them are extremely fast like Turn One, and The Kink and The Carousel, which are long periods of time that you’re in those corners, and our cars are very good there.”
Ron Fellows ended up fourth on the day, with a 2:16.575 (106.701 mph) in his No. 16 XM/Mobil 1/Motorola/On Star Cadillac CTS-V. Tommy Archer, of Duluth, Minn., was fifth in his No. 5 c3controls/Dodge Motorsport Dodge Viper, with a 2:16.668 (106.629 mph).
Qualifying for Sunday’s race is set for Saturday morning at 9:25 a.m. (CDT). To view Live Timing & Scoring Presented by SRT and live notes, visit www.world-challenge.com.