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Ave captures Trans-Am Series pole at VIR
Tony Ave, of Maiden, N.C., continued his dominance at VIRginia International Raceway by capturing his third consecutive SCCA Pro Racing Tran-Am Series at this venue. Ave grabbed the pole by 1.878-seconds over RJ Lopez, of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Simon Gregg, of Ponte Vedra, Fla., will start third on the grid.
Ave will start from the pole at VIR (photo credit: F & S Enterprises)Ave has never won at VIR, but he has been fast all weekend in the No. 4 Lamers Racing/Bebee Racing/Optech/PME Engines Chevrolet Corvette. In fact, he has been fast in every session including capturing the pole with the top qualifying time of 1:47.437 (109.571 mph).
“We thought we’d go faster than that,” Ave said after qualifying. “It [the car] didn’t hook up as well as I thought it would. We got a good lap right away. My second lap, Amy [Ruman] spun in front of me and I had to slow down. So, we lost a bit of time there. I was doing the next one and RJ had his problem. I was disappointed we did not go faster, but obviously we were fast enough. Our car is really good. We’re going to run during the warm-up [tomorrow morning] because there are some things I want to try in terms of race setup. But, I am happy that I am on the pole for sure.”
Lopez will start second in the No. 6 Disco 106/ECR Engines/Goodyear Chevrolet Corvette after turning a 1:49.315 (107.688 mph) lap around the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course. Lopez’s qualifying wasn’t without incidence, however. He brought out a red flag with about five minutes left in the session when he went off course at Turn 14 and into the tires.
“On my second lap, I was really pushing it down the back straight over one of the hills and the car bottomed out,” Lopez said. “Apparently, when it bottomed out somehow it knocked a brake pad out of the left rear caliper. When I went to brake the car got loose on me. But, I was able to make it through the corner. I coasted my way back around and still on that lap I turned a 49.5. So, that lap was really going to be a good lap. It was definitely going to be in the 48s. I don’t know if I had something for [Tony] Ave, but it would have been a 1:48 something.
“Then, going down the back straight on my in lap, not going fast, I went to get on the brakes for the turn and there were no brakes. That was it. I tried to save it, but I couldn’t do it. There was a ton of mud there. So, if you get it a little bit wrong, you’re going to go off. When you have no brakes, you get it a lot wrong.”
Gregg will roll off the grid third in the No. 59 Derhaag Motorsports Chevrolet Corvette after turning a time of 1:52.772 (104.387 mph). He is looking for his second consecutive podium finish. He finished third two weeks ago at Miller Motorsports Park.
Driving the No. 00 Pinnacle Autosports Chevrolet Corvette, Doug Harrington, of Kemah, Texas, will start fourth thanks to a qualifying time of 1:52.929 (104.245 mph). John Baucom, of Charlotte, N.C., will start fifth in the No. 86 Baucom Motorsports Ford Mustang after a time of 1:53.061 (104.120 mph).
Bob Stretch, of Arlington, Texas, was the top qualifier in the TA2 class with a 2:01.015 (97.277 mph) in the No. 98 Wheels America Racing Chevrolet Camaro. Kurt Roehrig, of Greensboro, N.C., was the second fastest in class with a 2:02.356 (96.211 mph) in the No. 16 Roehrig Enders Suspension Chevrolet Monte Carlo. J. Thomas Graham, of Clearwater, Fla., will start third in the No. 7 Ford Taurus after turning a lap of 2:04.464 (94.581 mph).
The green flag will drop for Round Three of the Trans-Am Series at 1:30 p.m. (EDT) Sunday. It will be a 31-lap, 101.370-mile race.
ALTON, Va. - Results from Saturday’s qualifying in preparation for this weekend’s SCCA Trans-Am Series Round Three race at VIRginia International Raceway, with position, class, car number in parentheses, driver, hometown, car, fastest lap time, and speed in miles per hour.
1, TA, (4), Tony Ave, Maiden, N.C., Chevrolet Corvette, 1:47.437, 109.571.
2, TA, (6), RJ Lopez, Santo Domingo, DR, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:49.315, 107.688.
3, TA, (59), Simon Gregg, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., Chevrolet Corvette, 1:52.772, 104.387.
4, TA, (00), Doug Harrington(R), Kemah, Texas, Chevrolet Corvette, 1:52.926, 104.245.
5, TA, (86), John Baucom, Charlotte, N.C., Ford Mustang, 1:53.061, 104.120.
6, TA, (87), Doug Peterson(R), Rochester Hills, Mich., Jaguar XKR, 1:53.220, 103.974.
7, TA, (18), Daniel Ramoutarsingh, La Romain Trinidad, , Jaguar XKR, 1:53.479, 103.737.
8, TA, (60), Ryan McManus(R), Westfield Center, Ohio, Ford Mustang, 1:54.739, 102.598.
9, TA, (77), Glen Jung, Osteen, Fla., Mazda RX-7, 1:55.288, 102.109.
10, TA, (9), Jordan Bupp(R), Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 1:56.439, 101.100.
11, TA, (70), David Jans(R), Mundelein, Ill., Ford Mustang, 1:57.177, 100.463.
12, TA, (3), Kenny Bupp, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 1:58.038, 99.730.
13, TA2, (98), Bob Stretch(R), Arlington, Texas, Chevrolet Camaro, 2:01.015, 97.277.
14, TA2, (16), J. Kurt Roehrig(R), Greensboro, N.C., Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 2:02.124, 96.393.
15, TA, (35), Bob Monette(R), Milton, Ga., Ford Mustang, 2:02.356, 96.211.
16, TA, (28), Paige Alexander(R), Milton, Ga., Chevrolet Corvette C6, 2:03.029, 95.684.
17, TA2, (7), J. Thomas Graham, Clearwater, Fla., Ford Taurus, 2:04.464, 94.581.
18, TA2, (40), Gregg Rodgers(R), Southlake, Texas, Chevrolet Camaro, 2:05.514, 93.790.
19, TA2, (19), Ricky Sanders, Fayetteville, Ga., Chevrolet Monte Carlo, 2:07.841, 92.083.
20, TA, (23), Amy Ruman, Kent, Ohio, Chevrolet Corvette, 2:14.810, 87.322.
21, TA2, (37), George Lutich(R), Palm Harbor, Fla., Chevrolet Camaro, 2:18.710, 84.867.
22, TA, (22), Carlos deQuesada(R), Coral Gables, Fla., Jaguar XKR, 2:21.223, 83.357.
23, TA2, (2), Ron Farris(R), Lynchburg, Va., Chevrolet Impala, no time.
24, TA2, (53), Mel Shaw(R), Voorh, N.J., Chevrolet Monte Carlo, no time.
25, TA, (92), Charles Wicht, Big Pine Key, Fla., Chevrolet Monte Carlo, no time.
26, TA, (99), Zach Monette(R), Milton, Ga., Ford Mustang, no time.
27, TA2, (07), Steve Dunn(R), Hanover, Pa., Chevrolet C6 Monte Carlo, no time.
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