March 30, 2012
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Richard Westbrook saved his best for last in qualifying for Saturday’s Porsche 250 at Barber Motorsports Park, capturing his first career GRAND-AM Rolex Series pole on his final lap of qualifying on Friday morning.
Westbrook’s last lap at 101.695 mph (1:21.420) in the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP supplanted Jon Fogarty and brought the new Corvette DP program its first Rolex Series pole position. In fact, Corvette DPs swept the top-three positions in qualifying.
“[The Corvette DP] is an absolute joy to drive,” Westbrook said. “The aero on the car is absolutely unbelievable. It’s still a very new car and it’s going to get better.
“The competition here is very, very strong, there’s a lot of quality. I’m new to this format and I’ve got a lot to learn, but it’s a good place to start, that’s for sure.”
Fogarty was looking to add to his Rolex Series-leading 19 career poles in the No. 99 GAINSCO Auto Insurance Corvette DP with a lap of 101.603 mph (1:21.494) but wound up second. David Donohue will start third in the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP with a best lap at 100.511 mph (1:22.379).
Paul Edwards nearly missed GT qualifying after crashing the No. 88 Autohaus Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro GT.R during morning practice. However, his team was able to repair the front-end damage, allowing him to participate in qualifying – where he made it up to the team by winning his eighth career pole with a lap of 1:30.762 (91.228 mph).
Emil Assentato joins Edwards on the GT front row after a lap at 91.004 mph (1:30.985) in the No. 69 FXDD Ferrari 458 Italia Grand Am. It is Assentato’s first Rolex Series front-row start.
In Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge qualifying, Lawson Aschenbach captured his first career pole with a lap of 1:36.401 (85.891 mph) in the No. 01 CKS Autosport Chevrolet Camaro GS.R. In Street Tuner, Andy Lally captured his second consecutive pole with a lap of 1:41.374 (81.678 mph) in the No. 10 Kia of America Kia Forte Koup.
The Rolex Series Porsche 250 takes the green flag at 1:15 p.m. ET (SPEED, 4 p.m. ET, MRN live) on Saturday, while the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge Barber 200 begins at 5 p.m. ET (SPEED, April 8, noon ET).