As temperatures warmed dramatically from opening practice, so did Memo Rojas' form, as the #01 TELMEX Chip Ganassi Racing driver ran a lap of 1min 19.874secs to capture pole position for Sunday's Grand-Am Rolex Series Verizon Wireless Festival of Speed at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

Rojas became the first multiple Daytona Prototype pole winner of 2009, and added a third career pole to his personal tally, with top spot in California, doubling up on his only other qualifying effort this season, at Virginia International Raceway.

"We were really struggling yesterday, and our car was out of the window of where we wanted it to be," the Mexican said, "We took really strong decisions with the set-up to begin this morning, and it worked. My hat's off to this team. Even though we struggled yesterday, we didn't panic, and we took the right direction pretty quick. Then we won the pole."

Rojas said that Friday's cooler temperatures had played a role in the TELMEX team's struggle but, while it was 57 degrees Friday afternoon, it warmed up to 85 degrees for qualifying.

"It was the cold temperatures that messed us up yesterday," he said, "We didn't have the tyre pressures set up for that kind of weather, and we were lost with that. Now that it warmed up, we took the right direction and the car was great."

Brian Frisselle ran a lap of 1min 20.254secs to put the #10 SunTrust Ford Dallara on the outside of the front row.

"The car was awesome out there today, it was very consistent," Frisselle said, "I ran three laps that were similar to my qualifying time - that points out we should have a pretty good race pace. The car has given me a great car that we can win the race with tomorrow."

Starting on row two will be Jon Fogarty, in the #99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Pontiac Riley co-driven by Alex Gurney, and Mark Wilkins, in the #61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley he shares with Burt Frisselle.

"It's a tough field out there," Wilkins noted, "We have to work harder and harder to bring our A-game to every event."

Rounding out the top ten starters will be Romain Dumas(Penske Racing #12 Porsche Riley), Nic Jonsson (#76 Krohn Racing Ford Lola), Mark Patterson (#60 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley), the impressive Ricky Taylor (Beyer Racing #13 Pontiac Riley), John Pew (# 6 Michael Shank Racing Ford Riley) and Daytona 24 Hours winner Darren Law (#58 Brumos Porsche Riley).

The Acxiom GT class also saw its first two-time pole winner of the season, with Nick Ham putting the #70 Castrol Syntec/Mazda Mazda RX-8 out front with a lap of 1min 27.251secs.

Ham won his second pole of the season, while the #70 Mazda notched up its third after co-driver Sylvain Tremblay was fastest in qualifying for the season-opening Rolex 24. It was Ham's eighth career pole position, tying him for sixth in all-time GT poles with Cort Wagner and Joao Barbosa.

"This is our home track, so I feel like I had to put it on pole," Ham said, "Dave Haskell, our engineer, and our team did a great job. They've worked hard all weekend fine-tuning this car. We came here pretty fast off the truck, and now we've got a great car for the race. We've got a lot of confidence right now that we can win it for Mazda and Castrol."

Leh Keen, winner of the most recent GT round at New Jersey Motorsports Park, will start second in the #87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3, after running a lap of 1min 27.531secs. The team changed its plans following that victory, keeping Dirk Werner in the car for this event since the team is three points out of the point lead.

"Dirk would have been running another race this weekend, but we wanted to go with the championship," Keen revealed, "We hope to continue the success we've been having lately and keep our momentum going. Our last race was great, now we're front row, so Dirk and I plan to keep this going. We're extremely happy right now."

Bryce Miller qualified third in the #30 Marquis Jet/IPC RX-8 co-driven by Dane Cameron, and will be joined on the second row by Andrew Davis, who joins Robin Liddell in Stevenson Motorsports' #57 Bryan Mark Financial Pontiac GXP.R.

Rounding out the top ten starters will be Thomas Merrill, Eric Lux, Kelly Collins, Emil Assentato, Justin Marks and Ted Ballou.


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