Race Weekend Central

Parker Thompson Claims Maiden Michelin Pilot Challenge Pole At CTMP

Hattori Motorsports’ Parker Thompson claimed the overall pole Saturday morning (July 8) for the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 120 with a lap at 107.518 mph. It is Thompson’s first career Grand Sport pole in his first-ever start. It is also the first-ever start in Michelin Pilot Challenge for Hattori Motorsports, a sister operation to NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series/ARCA Menards Series team Hattori Racing Enterprises.

Thompson’s lap was .558 seconds faster than Van der Steur Racing’s Rory van der Steur. Murillo Racing’s Kenny Murillo was third, then TeamTGM’s Hugh Plumb. Motorsports In Action’s Alex Filsinger was fifth in class.

The Grand Sport session was red-flagged just before the halfway point for two separate incidents. First, Rebel Rock Racing’s Frank DePew went off-course in turn 3. In addition, Rennsport One’s Eric Filguerias stopped of course in turn 1.

At the time, neither driver had posted laps during the session. As a result, the standard loss of the two best laps really doesn’t apply in this instance. Both drivers will start from the rear of the GS class.

The situation that resulted was very similar to what happened in Watkins Glen two weeks ago. Less than half of the session was completed before it was neutralized.

See also
Kenny Murillo Wins Sahlen’s 120 Pole In Shortened Qualifying

In Michelin Pilot Challenge, unlike the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, there is no 10-minute rule. As a result, getting laps early is critical.

Murillo, who won the pole under these circumstances in Watkins Glen, was quick early in his Mercedes. However, Thompson was able to eclipse him five minutes into the session. That time ultimately held up for the pole.

In TCR, JDC-Miller MotorSports’ Chris Miller earned his second pole of the 2023 season with a lap at 106.327 mph, good enough for fifth overall. The lap was just .036 seconds faster than LA Honda World Racing’s Mat Pombo, driving a repaired Civic after a crash at Watkins Glen.

Bryan Herta Autosport’s Harry Gottsacker will start third in his Hyundai Elantra N TCR, while the similar Hyundai of van der Steur Racing’s Bryan Ortiz will be alongside. Mason Filippi will start fifth.

IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 120 Qualifying Results

The Canadian Tire Motorsport Park 120 is scheduled to go green just after 4 p.m. ET Saturday afternoon. The race will be streamed live on Peacock starting at 3:55 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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