Grand Sport qualifying Wednesday afternoon (March 15) for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 never really got started due to two red flags. As a result, BGB Motorsports’ Thomas Collingwood will start from pole in Thursday’s two-hour race.
The first red flag flew when CarBahn Motorsports with Peregrine Racing’s Sean McAlister went off-course in turn 5. McAlister was ok, but his Porsche had to be removed from the circuit.
Shortly after the session resumed, Rebel Rock Racing’s Frank DePew crashed his Chevrolet Camaro GT4.R in turn 3. That brought out a second red flag. No one was able to even complete their out lap from the pits.
By the time that clean up was complete, the time had run out on the session with no laps set. As per IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge rules, if a session is delayed to the point where no one could set a time, the class would be set by points using IMSA’s “Other Means To Set The Grid” protocol. Normally, this would mean that the points leaders would start on the overall pole.
Collingwood will start from pole by virtue of his second-place finish in Daytona. Murillo Racing’s Kenny Murillo will be second on the grid. Crucial Motorsports’ Aurora Straus will start third in her McLaren, then Anthony McIntosh in his Mercedes. Jeff Mosing in the second Murillo Racing Mercedes will start fifth.
In TCR, things were a bit quieter. LA Honda World Racing’s Mat Pombo set a lap at 102.158 mph just before the halfway point of the session. At the time, he was more than a second faster than anyone else. That lap held up to win the TCR pole in what will likely be the final race for the team’s current Honda Civic Type-R TCR.
Pombo’s lap was .110 seconds quicker than JDC-Miller MotorSports’ Chris Miller in his Audi. Bryan Herta Autosport teammates Mason Filippi and Harry Gottsacker will start third and fourth, while Van der Steur Racing’s Bryan Ortiz was fifth.
VGRT’s Victor Gonzalez Jr. did not go out during the qualifying session after running into trouble during the opening practice session. He’ll have to try to defend his class victory from last year from the rear of the field.
The Alan Jay Automotive Network 120 is scheduled to go green at 1:20 p.m. ET Thursday afternoon. The race will be streamed live on Peacock.
About the author
Phil Allaway has three primary roles at Frontstretch. He's the manager of the site's FREE e-mail newsletter that publishes Monday-Friday and occasionally on weekends. He keeps TV broadcasters honest with weekly editions of Couch Potato Tuesday and serves as the site's Sports Car racing editor.
Outside of Frontstretch, Phil is the press officer for Lebanon Valley Speedway in West Lebanon, N.Y. He covers all the action on the high-banked dirt track from regular DIRTcar Modified racing to occasional visits from touring series such as the Super DIRTcar Series.
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