“Obviously, Christian [Szymczak] is just running away with it right now, so we’ll have to come up with some plan to stay with him. If that comes through raw speed that would be perfect, but it we have to get into a battle with him that would be the next best route.”
Malkhassian, driving the No. 11 ALARA Racing ALARA Garage MX-5, will take Friday’s standing start on the inside of row two, behind his teammate, Szymczak. The two will try to work together to put some distance between themselves and the rest of the field, early in the race.
“I love starting on the inside here, so that’s good,” Malkhassian said. “I’m right behind my teammate, so hopefully we’ll be able to make a break, pair up, and get away from the crowd. That’s always the goal, but we’ll see how it plays out. The car is really solid on new tires and old tires, so I feel really good about the race tomorrow.”
Gallagher, in the No. 28 MAZDASPEED Motorsports Development MX-5, will also start behind his C.J. Wilson Racing teammate, on the outside of row two, after setting a time of 1:41.999 (78.989 mph). Gallagher will try to hook up with his teammate in order to take the battle to the two ALARA drivers before the field gets strung out.
The No. 8 Bimmerworld/Sick Sideways MX-5 of Nathanial Sparks will line up for Friday’s race one in fifth. Sparks, of Spanish Fort, Ala., set a best a best qualifying time of 1:42.056 (78.945 mph).
Kenton Koch, of Glendora, Calif., took pole in the Skip Barber MAZDASPEED Pro Series class. Koch’s lap of 1:43.771 (77.640 mph) is a new lap record in class.
Thursday’s session set the grid for both of this weekend’s races, with Playboy MX-5 Cup rules setting the grid for Saturday’s Round Four on the second quickest time. Szymczak earned the pole for that race as well with a time of 1:41.422 (79.438 mph). Skeer, Malkhassian, Sparks and Gallagher will follow, in that order.