Aaron Downey leads Matt Reynolds through E Production qualifying.
Mark Weber/SCCA photo)
Eleven different drivers set official qualifying records on the opening day of the 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs a Road America. Cool temperatures and a light cloud cover provided optimal conditions for each of the 28 classes on the first of three qualifying days in advance of the National Championship races to be held Friday through Sunday.
Two different drivers moved to the provisional SafeRacer pole positions in a pair of classes before lunch on Tuesday.
Lawrence Loshak, of Grafton, Wis., set a new qualifying record in the Formula 1000 No. 2 JDR/ETE Reman/Moon Super Cycle JDR F1000/Suzuki of 2:04.786 (115.398 mph), running 1.5 seconds quicker than the existing record. Loshak jumped out of the quick formula car and into his H Production No. 02 ETE Reman /RWM Auto/Hoosier Honda CRX in the very next 30-minute session, putting it on the pole in that class.
Not to be outdone, Andrew Aquilante, of Chester Springs, Pa., scored a pair of fast qualifying times. Aquilante destroyed the Touring 1 field on the opening day of qualifying, putting his No. 36 Phoenix Performance/Hoosier/Hawk Chevrolet Corvette 4.996 seconds in front of the second-quickest car with a 2:14.673 (106.926 mph). Aquilante’s GT-2 provisional pole was much closer, as his lap of 2:14.320 (107.207 mph) in the same car with class adjustments was just 0.140-second ahead of Trent Hindman. Hindman, of Ocean, N.J., currently sits on the provisional front row in the No. 41 Cirocco & Ozzimo/DFL Interiors Porsche GT3 Cup and has his 18th birthday on Friday, the day of the race.
Lee Alexander, of Las Vegas, Nev., opened Tuesday with a qualifying record in C Sports Racing. Alexander turned a lap of 1:59.638 (120.363 mph) in the No. 48 Factory 48/APE Raceparts Stohr WF1/Suzuki, becoming the second SCCA Club Racing driver to ever drop under the two-minute milestone.
Fifteen Spec Miata drivers breached the existing three-year-old qualifying record of 2:42.983 around the four-mile circuit, with defending Champion Jim Drago’s No. 2 East Street Racing Mazda Miata leading the way. The Memphis-native turned a time of 2:41.862 (88.965 mph), 0.388-second ahead of drafting partner Craig Berry’s No. 29 Berry Marble and Granite/East Street Racing Mazda Miata.
James Weida, of West Lafayette, Ind., set the Formula 500 record in the No. 22 Weida Apartments/Formula X-1 Scorpion S1/Rotax with a 2:21.517 (101.755 mph) and defending Super Touring Under champion Rob Huffmaster, of Clarkston, Mich., lowered The Super Touring Lite class record with a 2:32.995 (94.521 mph) to lead four drivers below the record.
While they didn’t lower the track record, the top six E Production drivers fell within a second of each other in a diverse class. Aaron Downey, of Rossmoor, Calif., led the way in his No. 5 RoundPeg.com/MAZDASPEED Motorsports Mazda RX-3 with a 2:29.795 (96.131 mph). The RX-3 was hotly contested by the No. 76 TheRacingInsiders.com Mazda Miata and the No. 71 Reynolds Bros Racing/Jesse Prather Motorsports Mazda Miata of Jim Daniels and Matt Reynolds, the No. 2 GlenMartin Nissan 260Z of Greg Ira, the No. 02 PayPal/Carbotech/Team JBS BMW Z3 of Chris Dryden, and the No. 34 Jesse Prather Motorsports/MAZDASPEED Mazda MX-5 of Jesse Prather, in order.
The final group of the day featured three new official track records, as the classes were reconfigured for 2013. Chad Gilsinger, of Marysville, Ohio, topped Touring 3 with a lap of 2:31.631 (94.967 mph) in the No. 07 BFGoodrich/HPD/H&R/BRM Acura TL, with Michael Scornavacchi, of Matthews, N.C., taking the Touring 4 provisional pole in the No. 2 Angry Sheep Motorsports/Carbotech Ford Mustang. Joel Weinberger, of Hinsdale, Ill., led the first B-Spec qualifying session as an SCCA National Championship class.
Each of the 28 classes will get a 30-minute qualifying session on Wednesday, and a final session on Thursday to set the grids for National Championship races on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Provisional polesitters following Tuesday’s qualifying sessions for this week’s 50th SCCA National Championship Runoffs at Road America, with class: provisional pole sitter, hometown, car, fastest time (speed); second place driver, hometown, car, fastest time (speed). * – Denotes better than existing track record.
American Sedan: Tom Sloe, Newbury, Ohio, Ford Mustang, 2:26.570 (98.247); Andy McDermid, Howell, Mich., Ford Mustang, 2:27.864 (97.387).