Dane Cameron shattered the Road America track record with a lap of 1m48.715s as the No. 6 Team Penske Acura ARX-05 continued to run the table at the IMSA Road Race Showcase.
Cameron and teammate Juan Pablo Montoya led all three practice sessions prior to the 15-minute qualifying session, which included a three-minute red flag and uncertainty with the weather.
“I love this place — it suits me so well, and I’m hoping to get another win here,” said Cameron after his fourth career pole. “We led every single session and we’re leading the championship in the No. 6 car, so we really have this program where we need it to be at the right part of the year. There’s a lot to play for before the end of the year, but the view’s always better from the front.”
Earlier, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship qualifying was red-flagged 10 minutes into the GTD session due to a severe weather warning for lightning in the area. The storm never materialized, although the GTLM competitors began their session in a light drizzle under sunny skies and 84-degree temperatures, with a few damp spots on the 4.048-mile circuit.
Helio Castroneves gave Team Penske a front-row sweep on his final lap, running 1m48.731s in the No. 7 Acura. That demoted Oliver Jarvis to third, at 1m48.949 in the No. 77 Team Joest Mazda RT-24P.
Matt McMurry beached the No. 52 PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA Gibson eight minutes into the session, bringing out a red flag. Quick work by the response team extricated McMurry and allowed the final four minutes to be run under green, making the session official.
McMurry lost his fastest two laps, giving the LMP2 pole to James French, at 1m52.037s in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA Gibson. It was his 12th career pole.
The GTLM session began under sunny skies, in a drizzle on a mostly dry track with a few damp patches. That proved to be the liking of BMW Team RLL driver Tom Blomqvist, who captured his first career pole with a track record lap of 2m00.344s in the No. 25 BMW M8 GTLM.
“[Winning the pole] was my goal,” said Blomqvist, racing at a WeatherTech Championship circuit with GTLM experience for the first time. “We knew we had a quick car — the track really suits us. But it was a really tricky session. If I’m honest, I thought we went a bit early. The last corner was still a little wet, and it was just getting dryer and dryer. But we were able to group up and manage a couple of laps for pole, so I’m really happy.”
Ryan Briscoe stepped up on his checkered-flag lap to apparently take second in the No. 67 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, running 2m00.658s, but the lap was disallowed for exceeding track limits in Turn 1.
Oliver Gavin was therefore restored to second, at 2m00.663s in the No. 4 Corvette Racing C7.R, followed by Jesse Krohn in the No. 24 BMW and Briscoe in the No. 67 Ford GT.
Dirk Muller was seeking his fourth consecutive pole for Chip Ganassi Racing, but could only manage fifth fastest in the No. 66 Ford GT.
Ben Keating ran a fast lap of 2m05.250s to capture his first career pole in WeatherTech Championship competition in GTD qualifying as different manufacturers took the top seven positions.
“It’s shocking,” said the driver of the No. 33 Riley Motorsports Mercedes-AMG GT3, who had qualified second on eight occasions. “I’ve been racing in IMSA for six years, and it’s pretty exciting to get my first pole. I love this place. Kudos to the Riley guys — we came off the truck with a perfect car, and it’s enabled us to drive here like I’ve never been able to drive before, because I didn’t have the car for it. I knew my third lap was going to be my best one, and everything came together perfectly.”
Corey Lewis was second, at 2m005.663s in the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3, followed by Matt Plumb, 2m005.723s in the No. 76 Compass Racing McLaren 720s. Next came the No. 9 Pfaff Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R of Zach Robichon; the No. 86 Meyer Shank Racing Acura NSX GT3 of Trent Hindman, the No. 96 Turner Motorsport BMW M6 GT3 of Robby Foley, and the No. 14 AIM Vasser Sullivan Acura NSX GT3 of Richard Heistand.
UP NEXT: There will be a 20-minute WeatherTech Championship warm-up Sunday, beginning at 8:30 a.m. CT. The IMSA Road Race Showcase, a two-hour, 40-minute event, begins at 1:35 p.m. CT. The race will be televised on a same-day delay on NBCSN, from 6-9 p.m. ET.