Stephen Simpson set the pole for Saturday’s Northeast Grand Prix in his No. 85 JDC/Miller PC after recording a 0.49.055 just prior to the halfway point in the 15-minute qualifying session. A red flag brought a temporary halt to the action when Todd Slusher spun and clouted the wall with the No. 16 Bar1 Motorsports PC, and at the time of the red, James French was second, albeit 0.777 seconds behind Simpson in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports PC (0.49.832). RSR’s Chris Cumming was third in the No. 11 car (0.50.004).
Although the 15-minute session expired just as Slusher’s car was extricated, IMSA extended the session to ensure they reached the minimum period of time required to make qualifying official. Light drizzle was introduced into the mix as drivers made desperate attempts to topple Simpson’s time, and while French lowered the gap from 0.777 to 0.642, the top-3 remained unchanged.
“First, congratulations to JDC/Miller Motorsports; it’s their first pole in the TUDOR Championship,” said the proud South African who also scored his first PC pole. “[I’m] very pleased for the team.”
The GT Daytona championship-leading Paul Miller Racing team saw Dion von Moltke capture his second GTD pole of the year in the No. 48 Audi R8 LMS with a strong lap of 0.54.004 seconds. His quick tour of Lime Rock was almost spoiled by Ben Keating in the No. 33 Riley Technologies Dodge Viper SRT whose 0.54.013 was an impossibly small 0.009 seconds slower than the R8.
The 0.54.251 set by Patrick Lindsey in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT America sealed GTD’s top-3.
“It was a little too close for comfort,” said von Moltke, whose ailing father is at Lime Rock. “My dad got his scan back, he’s cancer free, and my drive was for him.”
Keating rued losing out on pole, but said it wasn’t for a lack of trying.
“We had a spin and were sliding around; I put down a pretty good lap, but Dion got me,” he noted. “After I heard that, I was out there pushing really hard to squeeze another one-hundredth from the car but it didn’t have it. I was giving it my all for sure.”
Along with Simpson, Texas-born von Moltke’s mother and father are from South Africa, giving IMSA a pair of polesitters who share the same family origins and drive for teams with at least one owner bearing the name Miller.