Lee, driving the No. 20 Best IT/Chevrolet Camaro, blew past the GTS track record of 1:21.936 (79.086 mph) set in 2011 by Eric Foss driving a Ford Mustang FR500S. Lee set the new record at 1:20.778 (80.219 mph), and looks to carry the momentum into Saturday’s race after a runner-up finish in 2012.
“It’s a big first step, and totally unexpected as well,” Lee said. “There’s something about St. Petersburg that goes well with our car and our team, and for me, I guess. We were on pole last year, and that was our first pole in World Challenge, so it’s just nice to be back up here. Hopefully we can make it stick this time.”
Jack Baldwin found himself near the top of the GTS standings once again, flirting with earning the class pole, but Lee had his number by 0.127 seconds. Baldwin put in a lap of 1:20.905 (80.094 mph) in his No. 73 Motul/StopTech/Invoice Prep/Porsche Cayman S and will start on the outside of row one.
The No. 16 Porsche Cayman S driving by Kevin Gleason will take the green flag right behind Lee on the inside of row two. Gleason posted a time of 1:21.169 (79.833 mph).
Lawson Aschenbach starts his 2013 campaign for the GTS championship starting on the outside of row two, setting a time of 1:21.203 (79.612 mph). The two-time Pirelli World Challenge Champion pilots the No. 10 Blackdog Speed Shop/Chevrolet Camaro.
Seven-time champion Peter Cunningham will start fifth in the No. 42 Acura/HPD/RealTime Racing/Acura TSX. Cunningham’s with a time of 1:21.394 (79.612 mph).