Race Weekend Central

Kenny Murillo Wins Sahlen’s 120 Pole In Shortened Qualifying

WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. – Murillo Racing’s Kenny Murillo will start from the overall pole in Saturday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Sahlen’s 120 at the Glen after the Grand Sport qualifying session failed to reach the 10-minute minimum Friday (June 23).

“I feel a little lucky, but the Murillo Racing [crew] did an amazing job setting up this Mercedes-AMG GT4,” Murillo said after the session. “I’m really grateful to be in this position here at Watkins Glen.”

Qualifying was red-flagged for a little more than six minutes in when KohR Motorsports’ Bob Michaelian spun his Ford Mustang GT4 exiting the Inner Loop and hit the tire barrier. The crash required repairs that would have extended the session well beyond the scheduled ending; resuming would have delayed practice for IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship teams.

IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge does not have a 10-minute rule in qualifying, unlike the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. If a session is stopped after times were set and did not reach the 10-minute mark, the times from the session will still be used. This scenario came into play at Lime Rock Park last year.

See also
John Capestro-Dubets Wins Lime Rock Park 120 Pole

Murillo had turned in the fastest Grand Sport lap in qualifying prior to the red flag, but no one had gotten fully up to speed at that point. Murillo’s best lap (105.577 mph) was third overall, but eight-tenths of a second off the fastest laps in practice.

Murillo’s lap was .473 seconds faster than TeamTGM’s Hugh Plumb. Van der Steur Racing’s Rory van der Steur, driving a repaired car after Robert Megennis mounted it in Detroit, will start third. McCumbee McAleer Racing’s Jenson Altzman and Megennis rounded out the top five.

In TCR, teams got the full 15 minutes for qualifying, but LA Honda World Racing’s Mat Pombo didn’t need many of them. Pombo was the first driver to set a time in qualifying. That lap was best of everyone early on.

The second lap Pombo turned in, hitting a 106.346 mph average speed, set a new TCR track record for Watkins Glen. The remainder of the TCR drivers tried, but could not beat it, giving Pombo the pole.

Pombo’s lap was .732 seconds faster than the Audi of JDC-Miller MotorSports’ Chris Miller. Van der Steur Racing’s Bryan Ortiz was third in his Hyundai, followed by Bryan Herta Autosport’s Harry Gottsacker. Teammate Mason Filippi was fifth.

IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Sahlen’s 120 At The Glen Qualifying Results

The Sahlen’s 120 at the Glen is scheduled to go green at 3:45 p.m. ET Saturday afternoon. The race will be streamed live on Peacock starting at 3:40 p.m. ET.

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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