GS points leader Trent Hindman will start fifth in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 co-driven by John Edwards.
“I thought we had the handling to have a front-row car, but it’s difficult when you get into a horsepower battle with the muscle cars,” said Hindman, who leads Davis and Liddell by 11 points, 242-231. “We’re not worried. We’ve got a great handling race car, and we’ll be fine for the race.”
Nineteen of the 21 GS qualifiers bettered Ken Wilden’s existing track record of 2:02.611 (96.011 mph), set in 2009. Saturday’s race will be the 14th for the Continental Tire Challenge dating back to 2001, but the first since 2011.
While the conditions improved enough to allow GS competitors to qualify, rain just prior to the Street Tuner (ST) qualifying session led IMSA officials to abandon qualifying in favor of a 15-minute practice session. The class grid was set according to points putting Will Nonnamaker on the pole for the first time in 11 years. He joins Jeff Mosing on the front row of the ST grid.
Nonnamaker will start the No. 42 Team Sahlen’s Porsche Cayman co-driven by his brother Wayne, the ST points leader. Mosing drives the No. 56 Murillo Racing/Mosing Motorcars Porsche Cayman co-driven by Eric Foss, who enters the race eight points behind Nonnamaker, 232-224.
“We’re very fortunate to be starting up front, because sometimes incidents happen on the first lap,” said Will Nonnamaker, whose last pole was in GS at Mid-Ohio in 2003. “There’s a definite advantage to starting up front. I think we have the pace to stay in the top five. We can’t worry about the championship at this point – we need to keep getting those results and keep earning our points.”
Murillo Racing team owner Ken Murillo was not disappointed to see the qualifying session abandoned. After running a BMW 328i in the opening eight races, the team is continuing to work on its new Cayman which debuted with a 13th-place finish in the most recent race at Road America.
“That was win-win for us,” Murillo said. “We needed an extra practice, and it’s great to be starting up front.”
Starting in the second row will be Tyler Cooke, driving the No. 81 BimmerWorld Racing 328i with Greg Liefooghe, and defending ST champion Mike LaMarra, who won two weeks ago at Road America in the No. 23 Burton Racing BMW 128i he shares with fellow champion Terry Borcheller.