Acura Team Penske had the measure of its rivals in qualifying for IMSA’s penultimate WeatherTech SportsCar Championship round of 2019 as Ricky Taylor led a 1-2 for the brand — just as it did in morning practice — as the No. 7 Acura ARX-05 took command of the 11-turn road course (1m15.053s).
Teammate Juan Pablo Montoya was second (+0.308s) amid the unusual mid-September heatwave in Monterey and Wayne Taylor Racing’s Jordan Taylor in his No. 10 Cadillac DPi (+0.453s) mirrored the same order from Saturday morning with nearly identical margins between the three protagonists. Taylor’s immediate thoughts after climbing from the car turned to dear friend and sports car champion Max Angelelli, who is fighting colon cancer.
“First of all, thinking about Max this weekend — he’s obviously going through a tough time but he’s the toughest guy I know,” he said. “I was the only one on the team without a pole and I feel like I had to pull my weight. To lock out the front row shows what a great team this is. We’ll have to keep the tires under us tomorrow.”
GT Le Mans featured a welcome turnaround for BMW Team RLL as Jesse Krohn sent a message in the No. 24 M8 GTE with an emphatic run to pole. With every GTLM team looking to save their tires and minimize the number of laps turned in qualifying, the Finnish aced the test with a 1m21.557s tour around Laguna Seca to displace Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Dirk Muller (+0.127s) in the No. 66 GT and BMW teammate Tom Blomqvist in the sister No. 24 entry (+0.334s).
“I like a good one-lap banger,” he said. “Just go out there and [pit]. As little laps as qualifying you can do helps you. I’m really happy for the team. The way they transformed the car from FP3 to now is incredible.”
GT Daytona qualifying was halted shortly after it began to retrieve the battered No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by team owner Patrick Lindsey. Having spun on the exit of Turn 10 and shot across the track into the barriers, the Porsche suffered front and rear damage, but the lanky Californian stepped from the car without assistance.
Once the session resumed, little time was left on the clock and a flurry of fast laps were recorded. Meyer Shank Racing’s Trent Hindman looked set for GTD pole until Paul Miller Racing’s Corey Lewis took it away on the final lap. With the No. 48 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 he shares with Bryan Sellers perched in the top three in every session leading up to qualifying, the car’s pace was always going to be a problem for PMR’s rivals.
“We knew we had one shot to do it, I knew we had the pace, just with the track conditions being so inconsistent we had to dig deep,” Lewis said. “I’m proud of that one, proud of the whole Paul Miller Racing Organization. It’s been a long time coming for me so I’m stoked I know we have a race car that can win this race the biggest thing will be making sure we can keep the car going in the long run.”
Hindman will line up second for Sunday’s 2h40m race in the No. 86 MSR Acura NSX GT3 (+0.101s) and at the track sponsored by his father’s company, Cooper MacNeil qualified third in the No. 63 WeatherTech Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 (+0.156s).
In LMP2, Performance Tech Motorsports’ Kyle Masson (1m18.251s) maintained a sizeable margin over PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports’ Matt McMurry (+0.801s).
UP NEXT: Warmup, 8:00 a.m. PT