Richard Westbrook hopes Spirit of Daytona's success at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will help turn around what has been a disappointing season for the team. On Saturday, the defending winner captured his second consecutive TOTAL Pole Award at the 2.238-mile circuit in qualifying for Sunday's Continental Tire Sports Car Festival powered by Mazda.
Westbrook lapped the 2.238-mile road course in 1 minute, 21.557 seconds (98.787mph) to give the No. 90 VisitFlorida.com/Go-Pro Corvette DP its first pole of the season, edging out Max Angelelli in the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP by a mere 0.021 second.
“I like this place,” Westbrook said after winning his fourth career pole – and second in two attempts at Mazda Raceway. “It was not easy for us here last year, but the competition is so much stronger this year, you really have to work to get an advantage. We're not happy with the way this season has gone; it's been really tough for everyone. I'm proud of the way the team has bounced back. Tomorrow is very important for us.”
Westbrook's co-driver is Ricky Taylor, whose younger brother Jordan Taylor is teamed with Angelelli on the all-Corvette DP front row.
Dane Cameron qualified third in the No. 42 Team Sahlen BMW/Riley co-driven by Wayne Nonnamaker. He will be joined on the second row by Indy 500 winners Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon in the No. 02 Cessna BMW/Riley.
The top 10 contenders for the DP championship are separated by only five points with two races remaining, led by Angelelli and Jordan Taylor. Other contenders include Christian Fittipaldi and Joao Barbosa, who start fifth in the No. 5 Action Express Corvette DP; defending champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas, starting seventh in the No. 01 Telcel/TELMEX BMW/Riley; Alex Gurney and Jon Fogarty, starting eight in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP; and Ryan Dalziel and Alex Popow, starting ninth in the No. 2 Starworks Motorsport/Soloson BMW/Riley.
In qualifying for the production-based GT class, John Edwards captured his third pole of the season with a lap of 1:27.529 seconds (92.05 mph) in the No. 57 Stevenson Auto Group Camaro. Edwards edged out road course veteran Boris Said, who will start from the outside of the front row in the No. 31 Marsh Racing Corvette.
“We've got a really good car on (new) sticker tires,” Edwards said. “Our goal for tomorrow is to get better on older tires.”
Looking to win his third straight race and contend for the championship in the new GX category, 17-year-old high school student Tristan Nunez won his first pole with a lap of 1:33.533 (85.64mph) in the No. 00 Visit Florida Racing/SpeedSource Mazda 6.