With a record-breaking performance, Jon Fogarty and co-driver Alex Gurney will lead the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Special Reserve Daytona Prototypes to the green flag in Friday's Crown Royal 200 at The Glen at Watkins Glen International.
Fogarty turned a qualifying lap of 1minute 07.020seconds (131.603 mph) in the #99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing Pontiac Riley, breaking the previous Daytona Prototype 2.45-mile, 11-turn short-course record of 1m 07.496s (130.674 mph) at Watkins Glen, set by Gurney in the same car last season.
The pole position is the team's eighth consecutive, besting the seven consecutive pole positions set by Chip Ganassi Racing drivers Scott Pruett and Max Papis in 2004. Fogarty has seven total individual pole positions this season, tying a record set by James Weaver in 2001 and Papis in 2004.
“It's great,” Fogarty said. “We're really gunning for this championship, but it's always nice to be acknowledged for these accomplishments. It's the car; it's all of us together. My hat's off to the team. Hopefully we can get some sort of record by coming back and winning the championship.”
Fogarty and Gurney currently sit in third place in the Rolex Series Championship battle – nine points behind leader Scott Pruett – on a Watkins Glen course that has served the team well. The #99 team won the pole and the Sahlen's Six Hours of The Glen in June. That race took place on Watkins Glen's 3.4-mile long course.
“The biggest difference this time is the duration of the race,” Fogarty said. “It's a six-hour race we ran earlier this year here versus a two-hour race this weekend. We've got to race clean and really can't make any mistakes. With the abbreviated circuit, it's going to be a little bit more difficult to overtake, so starting up front is going to give us a little bit of an advantage.”
Starting alongside Fogarty in the front row is Nic Jönsson, who will co-drive the #75 Krohn Racing Pontiac Riley with Colin Braun. Jönsson, who turned a lap of 1m 07.645s (130.387 mph), participated and actually led in last week's NASCAR Busch race at Montreal but is concentrating solely on his Daytona Prototype activity this weekend. Krohn Racing is still searching for its first win this season.
“Overall, we were very consistent during that session,” Jönsson said. “Hopefully we can go out there and have a good run. We're just here to focus on the Daytona Prototype race this weekend and shoot for a strong finish.”
Qualifying third is Memo Gidley, co-driving the #10 SunTrust Racing Pontiac Riley with championship contender Max Angelelli. This will be the second time Gidley will drive the #10 this season, as he has been brought to assist Angelelli in taking over the championship series points lead. Gidley and Angelelli finished third in the Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park.