INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – The Indianapolis Motor Speedway's brand-new scoring pylon saw its first day of official duty on Thursday, and at the end of the Grand Sport qualifying session for the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series (CTSCC) that afternoon its LED lights showed the Doran Racing #14 Nissan NISMO 370Z RC solidly in sixth place, just 0.292 of a second off the pole.
Brad Jaeger of Charlottesville, Va., was at the wheel of the car, and he duplicated his best qualifying result so far this year when he posted a time of 1:35.113 on lap four of the seven laps he made of the 2.439-mile, 14-turn road course during the qualifying session. That translates to an average speed of 92.315 mph. Jaeger will start the 2.5-hour race tomorrow and then be relieved by his co-driver, B.J. Zacharias of Cincinnati.
"I think we're looking wonderful for the race tomorrow," said Jaeger. "We might have missed the set-up just a tiny bit for our best all-out speed, but we have a great car for the race. I think we have a set-up that is going to be easy on the tires, and that's going to be very important tomorrow. A good finish Friday is definitely doable."
Tim Bell Racing's #28 370Z NISMO qualified twelfth with Bell at the wheel, just a half second slower than Jaeger. Time Bell will team with Dane Cameron in Friday's race. Cameron had a top five time in earlier practice sessions Thursday.
John Farano of Toronto qualified 17th in the team's sister car, the #41 Tower Events Nissan 370Z. His best lap was a 1:36.334 (91.145 mph). He shares the blue and white Nissan with another Toronto-based driver, David Empringham. The two were champions of this series just two years ago.
Series veteran Empringham is optimistic: "In practice we had a suspension issue, but the team worked hard and had it fixed for the qualifying session. We used to run Turn 1 of the oval reverse of what it is now, but now there are two or three slow corners of the road course instead. I was worried that our gearing might be off for those changes, but actually our gearing is quite good."
Friday's race will be carried live on imsa.com, and on a tape-delayed basis at noon Eastern/ 11 a.m. Central August 3 on Fox Sports 1.
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