Grand Am – Miami Grand Prix – Qualifying
Good GT, Disrupted DP
© Russell Wittenberg

The Daytona Prototype Qualifying session unfolded in a manner befitting the disjointed day the Rolex competitors have endured. The day started with a cold, cold for South Florida at least, and wet morning practice. The teams then should have had a lengthy break until the next practice at 1:00 pm. Word came down from the authorities at approximately 11:00 that the next session would be run instead at 11:30. Teams had now just 30 minutes to get ready for practice - instead of two hours. As the weather went from rain to sun another schedule change was issued: Qualifying would now be at 4:45 pm. That would give any teams that were rushed by the practice change plenty of time to prep. their cars. Unfortunately there was one more change coming. Qualifying would now begin at 1:00 pm for GT and 1:20 for DP.

GT took the track promptly at 1:00 and a fairly good battle ensued between the PTG BMWs of Joey Hand and Justin Marks, and the Tafel (not Baldwin any more) Porsche of Andrew Davis. The M3 took the early lead but then Davis claimed the top spot and very strongly held it through most of the session. It appeared the pole was Andrew Davis’s, as his teamed called him in; one lap too soon. On the last lap, Bryan Sellers, the young hot shot from TRG-East, got free of traffic and posted the quickest GT lap of the meeting, a 1:21.238.

Peter Baron: “We made some changes earlier and actually went backwards. The guys were complaining about the car. Luckily they are too young to know any better. They are both really quick.”

Bryan Sellers: “That was really great. The team has done a super job with the car. We made some changes just before the session that actually hurt us. I think that’s why it took a long time and a lot of work to get that lap. We will need to make some adjustments so it will be a little more comfortable to race. This is our first time racing a Porsche, it is a lot of fun, but very different than the formula cars we are used to.”

While mid-conservation with Bryan, Andrew Davis bounds up with a huge grin on his face. He gave the pole winner a hearty congratulation then added, “my team called me in too early, if I would have stayed out that one more lap I would have gotcha!”

The Synergy Porsche with David Murray behind the wheel was third quickest, with the really young hot shot, Colin Braun in the TRG #64, grabbing fourth. Colin Braun: “Qualifying went really well, the guys did a great job getting the car ready and we’re still working on dialling in some different changes. Hopefully, the race tomorrow goes well – we should do great having Brad in the car, because I think we’re consistently quick. Too bad we couldn’t keep on top in qualifying, like we were in the session before.”

dailysportscar.comNot nearly as much fun next - DP Qualifying. The session barely got underway, only two green flag laps, and a skirmish between the #67, #54 and #02 cars brought what turned out to be a session ending yellow flag. It is still somewhat unclear what actually happened, as we have conflicting stories from different drivers. We do know the results were that Cort Wagner lost the nose of the #02 and both he and Tracy Krohn ended up in the gravel. The track crews were unable to get both cars out and the track clear of debris quickly enough to restart the session. Needless to say, there were quite a few disappointed teams.

However, the #58 Brumos FABCAR team was one of a few that was very happy with the outcome. “It’s about time we got a break!” was overheard from the Brumos pit as the Race Officials called the session to an end.

Darren Law was able to post a respectable 1:15.433 before the yellow came out and that would be good enough to give him the pole. Darren commented, “We’ll take it. Straight off the truck yesterday we were only a half second off the fastest guys. That’s not bad, it’s been a long time since we have been that close. Brumos, Porsche and FABCAR have been working really hard. Changes are coming for this car.”

dailysportscar.comSecond quickest in the abbreviated session was Matteo Bobbi in the Doran Lexus. Borkowski in the Shank Riley will start third followed by Diaz in the Ganassi Riley. Mike Borkowski: “I should be happy with third, but it’s a bit disappointing because we were gunning for the pole, and know we had the car to get it. We waited in the pits at the beginning of the session to find a gap in traffic, and that worked well to get me some space on the track, but unfortunately it also meant that we only got one real lap in because of the yellow flag, and it was basically just my out lap and the tires weren’t really up to temperature, so it’s a bit frustrating.”

Rolex 24 winner Wayne Taylor will start well back in tenth, while the Riley of Wagner and Johansson, which was quickest in practice, ended up 34th overall.

The start of the race should be very interesting as eleven cars in the ‘dry’ practice on Thursday were quicker than today’s qualifying time.


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