Westbrook Delivers Detroit SportsCar Pole

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Ryan Dalziel and Marc Goossens will join the Spirit of Daytona VisitFlorida.com Racing team in 2016. (Richard Dole/LAT Photo)
Richard Westbrook earned the Prototype class pole for Saturday's TUDOR United SportsCar event at Belle Isle Park. (Richard Dole/LAT Photo)
Richard Westbrook earned the Prototype class pole for Saturday’s TUDOR United SportsCar event at Belle Isle Park. (Richard Dole/LAT Photo)

DETROIT – A revolving door in Prototype (P) qualifying Friday on the Detroit Belle Isle street circuit resulted in seven lead changes during a heated 15-minute session.

When the door stopped, the No. 90 Spirit of Daytona Racing Corvette DP driven by Richard Westbrook had captured the TOTAL Pole Award for Saturday’s Chevrolet Sports Car Classic presented by Metro Detroit Chevy Dealers.

Those seven changes involved five drivers, with Westbrook assuming the top spot three times. He secured the pole as the session was ending, posting a time of 1 minute, 25.011 seconds/99.517 mph. He’ll co-drive in the one-hour, 40-minute race with Michael Valiante.

“There was just so much chatter on the radio, you’re P1, now P2, now P1, now P2,” Westbrook said. “I think I did a 21-1 (1:21.10 lap) with three laps to go and I thought that was it, I’m done now. I did a cool- down lap and fortunately they came [back] on the radio and said ‘You’re going to need to do a 25-0 (1:25.0 lap).’

“I just threw all caution to the wind. Sometimes on a street circuit you get rewarded or sometimes, it can bite you.”

Memo Rojas, in the No. 01 Telcel Ford EcoBoost/Riley, was the session’s initial leader and stayed atop the chart until midway through the session when he was bumped by Christian Fittipaldi, driver of the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP. Jordan Taylor briefly led the session in the No. 10 Konica Minolta Corvette DP before a Westbrook-Fittipaldi-Westbrook exchange sequence.

In the session’s final minute, Ryan Dalziel blazed to the top spot, in the No. 1 Tequila Patrón HPD ARX-03b/Honda of Extreme Speed Motorsports, only to have Westbrook pull off his last-gasp, pole-winning lap.

Dalziel, who will co-drive with Scott Sharp, ended up second-fastest at 1:25.029/99.495 mph. Fittipaldi, who will co-drive with Joao Barbosa, qualified third at 1:25.139/99.367 mph.