With the Daytona Prototype championship on the line between three teams, Jon Fogarty planned to approach Saturday's season-ending Grand Prix of Miami like any other event on the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series.
However, in typical fashion, Fogarty captured his fifth consecutive pole - and sixth in seven races - to lead the field in the #99 GAINSCO Pontiac Riley co-driven by Alex Gurney. Fogarty broke David Donohue's year-old mark with a lap of 1min 12.879secs but will be joined on the front row by title rival Brian Frisselle, who ran a lap of 1min 13.163secs in the #10 SunTrust Ford Dallara co-driven by Max Angelelli.
Fogarty and Gurney enter the finale with an eight point lead over Frisselle and Angelelli, with seventh-fastest qualifier Memo Rojas and Scott Pruett another two points back.
"There is no margin in this series, and you can't leave anything to chance or on the table," said Fogarty, who shared the 2007 Daytona Prototype title with Gurney, "It's so competitive and aggressive out there that we've got to operate this way all season long, and that's the zone we're comfortable in. The best thing we could do this weekend is to continue with that high level of intensity and aggression. That's what I did in qualifying, and it paid off."
Romain Dumas qualified third fastest in the #12 Verizon Wireless Porsche Riley, and will be joined on the second row by Mark Wilkins, whose #61 AIM Autosport Ford Riley will be co-driven by Burt Frisselle.
Leading the third row was Ryan Hunter-Reay, who is pulling double duty alongside the headlining IndyCar Series finale, in the #95 Supercar Life/Edata Solutions BMW Riley shared by Scott Tucker, with Darren Law's #58 Brumos Porsche Riley alongside.
Nick Ham, meanwhile, captured his fifth Acxiom GT pole of the season, running a lap of 1min 18:848secs in the #70 SpeedSource/Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8 co-driven by Sylvain Tremblay. Ham will be joined on the front row by Paul Edwards' #07 Team Drinkin' Mate Pontiac GXP.R.
"I knew we had a good shot, because we had a fast car all weekend," Ham said, "We've struggled like everybody else this weekend with our set-up but, on new tyres, the car is fantastic. We made a few changes this morning that helped a bit, and then I made a sway bar adjustment during the qualifying session that got us the pole."
Kelly Collins, who co-drives with Edwards, is the only driver who can take the GT title from Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche drivers Leh Keen and Dirk Werner, but the drivers of the #87 Porsche GT3 need to each drive 30 minutes to share the crown, while Collins needs to finish first or second and the Porsche fail to complete 30 minutes. Keen qualified fifth with a lap of 1min 19.812secs.
Andrew Davis qualified third in the #57 Stevenson Automotive/BryanMark Financial Pontiac GXP.R co-driven by Robin Liddell, and will be joined on the second row by Jeff Segal's #69 FXDD Mazda RX-8.