Three drivers went head-to-head for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype Challenge (PC) class pole Friday night at Kansas Speedway with lap times dropping throughout much of the 15-minute session.
With just a few minutes remaining, Chris Cumming jumped to the top of the leaderboard with a lap of one minute, 11.839 seconds/118.766 mph in the No. 08 RSR Racing ORECA FLM09 he shares with Alex Tagliani. He then held off Frankie Montecalvo and Sean Rayhall over the remaining minutes to earn his first career TOTAL Pole Award.
Thanks to a unique two-segment race format for Saturday’s Grand Prix of Kansas, Cumming got the rare opportunity to qualify the entry normally qualified by Tagliani. The qualifying driver will run the first 45-minute race Saturday at 4:15 p.m. CT, with the results setting the starting grid for the second 45-minute race at 10:15 p.m. CT. Points will be awarded based on the results of the second race.
"It's been a couple years since I qualified and what a thrill to get back out there and really have to put it all on the line," said Cumming. "It was a good battle there, the team calling out my position. I knew I was close, but I knew I had to put in a good one the last couple of laps there. It’s a different format, of course, but I get to start out front and bring it to Alex in the same spot and set him up for race two."
It was the third consecutive pole for RSR Racing with the team’s No. 09 ORECA FLM09 earning poles at Sebring International Raceway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the hands of Bruno Junqueira.
|Jon Bennett No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA|
Cumming, Montecalvo and Rayhall each held the provisional pole at least once over the final five minutes of the session. Cumming took the top spot for good with two minutes left, nipping the 1:11.878 (118.701 mph) lap by Montecalvo in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA FLM09 by 0.039 seconds. Rayhall was third in the No. 25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09 at 1:11.989 (118.518 mph).
Duncan Ende qualified RSR Racing’s No. 09 entry at Kansas and wound up fourth with a lap of 1:12.541 (117.616 mph). Jon Bennett qualified the points-leading No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 fifth at 1:12.597 (117.526 mph). Bennett’s co-driver Colin Braun swept the day's three practice sessions.
Bennett had the dubious honor of taking to the track for qualifying without having turned a single lap in practice. The 15-minute qualifying session was his first glimpse of the 2.37-mile road-course/oval. When forced to choose between his son’s high school graduation in Rock Hill, S.C., and the opening rounds of Kansas practice, Bennett chose his son Austin’s graduation. He hopped on a plane with his son immediately after the ceremony and arrived at the track shortly before qualifying at 10:45 pm local time.
Without any previous experience on the circuit, Bennett used the qualifying session to get his bearings. He qualified an impressive fifth place in his first-ever TUDOR qualifying session with a lap of 1:12.597 (117.526 mph).
Saturday’s Grand Prix of Kansas is the fourth race of the season for the TUDOR Championship PC class. Both races will be run in conjunction with the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites powered by Mazda.
Saturday night’s race will mark the debut of an unusual format for the PC and Prototype Lites series.
The race will be divided into two 45-minute sprints. The amateur drivers in the PC tandems drove the car in Friday night’s qualifying session and must drive the first segment on Saturday night. That first segment will not pay series points but will set the starting grid for the second, points-paying segment.
In the second segment the pro drivers will be allowed to take over the wheel.
In both segments, the PC and slower and smaller Lites cars will be on the track at the same time.
Diversity ruled Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge qualifying Friday evening at Kansas Speedway, with TRG-AMR driver Kris Wilson leading five different manufacturers atop the Grand Sport (GS) field for Saturday’s Grand Prix of Kansas.
Not happy with his times early in the 15-minute session, Wilson put together a lap of 1:21.953 (104.108 mph) in the No. 07 TRG-AMR Aston Martin Vantage to score his third career TOTAL Pole Award. It was the second GS pole for the team, which debuted on the pole last season at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
“I made a couple mistakes and the guys actually called me in, but I asked to do one more lap because I felt I could clean up a few things, and it worked," said Wilson, who won his lone Continental Tire Challenge race in 2007 at Watkins Glen. He is co-driving with James Davison, who recently finished 16th in his first start in the Indianapolis 500 and is a regular for TRG-AMR in the TUDOR Championship.
Nick Longhi took the early lead in qualifying, running a lap of 1:22.124 (103.892 mph) in the No. 13 Rum Bum Racing Porsche 911, but brushed the wall and sat out the rest of the session. Longhi – who will start second – and fellow 2013 GS co-champion Matt Plumb won the most recent Continental Tire Challenge race at Lime Rock Park.
Trent Hindman will start third in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 at 1:22.252 (103.730 mph), followed by Andrew Davis in the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R at 1:22.310 (103.657 mph). Brad Jaeger completed the top five in the No. 14 Doran Racing Nissan NISMO 370Z RC with a lap of 1:22.356 (103.599 mph).
Kurt Rezzetano originally qualified third in the No. 35 Phoenix American Ford Mustang Boss 302.R, running a lap of 1:22.161 (103.845 mph). However, post-qualifying technical inspection revealed that the No. 32 machine had its grill and duct work illegally taped, relegating Rezzetano to the back of the grid for Saturday’s race.
Rebel Rock’s Lewis Claims First ST Pole In Porsche Cayman
Porsche Caymans swept the front row in Street Tuner (ST) qualifying, with Corey Lewis taking his first TOTAL Pole Award in the No. 87 Rebel Rock Racing entry. Lewis, a 22-year-old driver from Nazareth, Pa., ran a lap of 1:27.809 (97.165 mph) to give the team owned by Grammy Award-winning music producer Jim Jonsin its first pole in its third season of competition.
“Tonight was a bit more difficult than any other qualifying session I ever had," said Lewis, whose best career finish in four races was 12th at Sebring earlier this season. “Kansas is all about the draft, about managing the gap coming onto the oval and trying to time everything right – and tonight it paid off."
Qualifying Results (PC Only)
|8||8||PC||8||Schultis/van der Zande||1:12.958||116.944||1.119||11||ORECA FLM09|