Turner Motorsport’s Robert Megennis turned in a lap at 108.011 mph in the closing minutes of qualifying Saturday (Aug. 5) to win the pole for Sunday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Road America 120. It is Megennis’ first pole of the year, but the second for the team as Megennis’ teammate Cameron Lawrence won the pole at Detroit earlier this year.
Megennis’ lap is an official track record for Grand Sport at Road America. However, it is nearly eight-tenths of a second slower than the fastest lap in practice.
Megennis’ lap was .734 seconds faster than Rennsport One’s Eric Filguerias. McCumbee-McAleer Racing’s Jenson Altzman will start third in his Ford Mustang GT4, followed by series debutant Ryan Yardley in the Murillo Racing Mercedes. Patrick Gallagher, a late call-up for Accelerating Performance in place of Moisey Uretsky, will start fifth in his Aston Martin.
Grand Sport qualifying is supposed to be a 15-minute session where drivers go all out to snag the pole. However, Lone Star Racing’s Anton Dias Perera spun off at the Kink and brought out the red flag less than halfway through the session.
While Dias Perera was able to drive his Mercedes back to the pits, the interruption came before everyone could set representative times. That meant that when the green came back out with a little more than five minutes to go, it was a sprint to be able to get back around to the start-finish line as quick as possible in order to start timed laps.
Ultimately, drivers only got two shots at putting down their best laps. Megennis’ first lap at speed was good enough to win the pole by itself. He then improved on it by a quarter of a second.
In TCR, we saw similar tactics from Bryan Herta Autosport that they used at Lime Rock two weeks ago. While everyone else went out immediately, they chose to play the long game. Unlike Lime Rock, lap times at Road America are such that you’re going to get a limited amount of laps. You can only wait so long.
From there, Lewis kept his foot down and ultimately turned in a lap at 106.178 mph. At that point, Lewis chose to park his car in the pits.
The rest of the class had six minutes to try to beat the time. Sure enough, Lewis’ teammate Harry Gottsacker was able to better it with a lap at 106.178 mph. That lap held up for the pole.
The Road America 120 is scheduled to go green at 3:55 p.m. ET Sunday afternoon. Coverage of the race will be streamed live on Peacock starting at 3:50 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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