It’s been nearly 20 years since Chris Dyson raced around the traditional Lime Rock Park configuration, but the hometown driver handled the 1.53-mile course’s challenges effortlessly on Monday, laying down the fastest lap early in the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli qualifying session to take pole position for the TA class.
With a time of 50.262s in the No. 20 Plaid Ford Mustang, Dyson set a modern-day Trans Am qualifying record.
“This place is all about momentum and flow; it’s the closest road course to an oval that we can get,” said Dyson. “The Plaid Ford Mustang has been quick from the get go, really giving me confidence leading into the race. And there’s no better spot to start the race from in front of all my family and friends who came out to support me.”
Dyson almost missed out on the Trans Am Memorial Day Classic: A violent accident in Thursday night’s Hoosier 100 in Indianapolis left him too sore to compete in Friday’s Silver Crown Series event at Lucas Oil Raceway as planned. However, with some rest and much determination, Dyson was cleared medically to compete at Lime Rock.
“I am [still] sore, but considerably better than Friday morning, and I’ve made a big step since testing and practice,” said Dyson, who was fastest in testing and practice on Saturday. “I am quite a bit better with adrenaline, the support from my family and friends being here, and, of course, having a fast race car has really helped me forget about any pain.”
Separated by just .047 of a second, Ernie Francis Jr. and Josh Hurley rounded out the qualifying top three and will start second and third in Monday’s 100-mile feature race. In a last-minute substitution on race day, versatile SCCA and IMSA veteran Hurley replaced Jim McAleese in the No. 3 McAleese and Associates Chevrolet Camaro. McAleese tested and practiced on Saturday, but fell ill and was unable to participate in Round 4.
“It’s always a good day when you come away from qualifying feeling disappointed about finishing third,” said Hurley. “We had some transponder issues early on so my fastest times weren’t recorded. I really think we could have taken pole, but we are going to make some slight adjustments to the car to show these boys what’s up in the race. I love these cars and I’m happy to be here.”
Rounding out the top five, TA championship contender Tomy Drissi in the No. 8 Godzilla May 31/Lucas Oil Chevrolet Camaro will start fourth while Paul Fix in the No. 4 Ave Motorsports Ford Mustang will try to keep his Lime Rock win-streak alive, lining up fifth.
Drissi’s Burtin Racing teammate Lawrence Loshak, who holds a solid 29-point lead in the TA standings, did not enter the Memorial Day weekend event.
Driving the No. 46 Beverage Flavors International Porsche 991 GT3, Mark Boden claimed pole in the SGT class while Steven Davison in the No. 22 Davinci Plastic Surgery Aston Martin Vantage was the polewinner for the GT division.
The 100-mile or 65 minute (whichever comes first) TA/SGT/GT feature starts today at 1:25 p.m. EDT. For full results and live scoring, visit http://www.gotransam.com.