Adam has been a race fan since the first time he went through the tunnel under the Daytona International Speedway more than 30 years ago. He has had the privilege of traveling to races all across the state of Florida (as well as one race in Ohio), watching nearly everything with a motor compete for fame and glory, as well as participating in various racing schools to get the feel of what racecar drivers go through every week.
Adam spent several years covering motorsports for Examiner.com., where he had the opportunity to see the racing world from behind the scenes as well as the grandstands. He invites everyone to follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and Google Plus, and looks forward to sharing his enthusiasm for all things racing with the readers of SpeedwayDigest.com.
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Sloan Urry drove away from the field Friday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park to earn his first victory of the season in Round 9 of the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama. Urry, from Park City, Utah, beat championship leader Colin Thompson to the checkered flag by 12.966 seconds on the 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit. It was the largest margin of victory this season in the series, one of 19 global Porsche one-make championships.
I'm just so happy right now," Urry said. "It's amazing to be at the top of the podium. We've been working so hard to get here. It's where you always want to be. Last year I had a couple of wins, so I knew I had it in me. It was just a matter of time for me and JDX to start clicking, and we're here now."
"It was an unexpected race," added Nielsen. "We weren't quite there with the car. It didn't quite fit my driving style, but overall we kept pushing because you never know what happens in racing, and today was our luck. It's always important to keep trying no matter what. That's what we did today. I finally had some luck. Lime Rock was my first podium this year, and I feel like it was fully deserved. I had the speed there, and it was nothing to do with luck. It was just our commitment that really showed through. But this time, we had a bit of luck, but we also didn't make any mistakes that cost us anything, and that's why we are on the podium today. It's great to have a second podium this year, and we got some good points for the championship."
Michael Schein, from New York, placed a season-best fourth in the No. 16 Wright Motorsports entry. Kasey Kuhlman, from Cincinnati, rounded out the top five in the No. 15 Wright Motorsports entry and was the leading Platinum Masters (age 45 and older) finisher for the seventh time this season.
"I didn't have what I thought, personally, what it took to run with the very front of the pack, but I was pretty quick and I could kind of hang on to the tail end," stated Kuhlman. "That's what I tried to do, just hang on, put in some consistent laps and not make any mistakes. You could see that others had misfortune, and I picked up three spots, so it ended up being a good points day for me. Good result, and I'm happy."
Urry started fourth and passed pole sitter Jesse Lazare for the lead between Turns 8 and 9 with 33 minutes remaining in the 45-minute race. He then gradually pulled away and cruised to the finish in the No. 20 JDX Racing Porsche, earning his third career victory in the series.
"It's interesting to see the outcomes when I've been to a track before," Lazare commented. "I'm happy to prove to myself that I can compete with these guys on more of an equal playing field. I've been able to use my experience that I have on this track from the past and bring it to this race. It feels nice to be upfront, and I'm happy for my sponsors because they're based out of Canada, garaga Door Doctor."
Thompson, from Doylestown, Pennsylvania, increased his championship lead to 12 points over second-place Angel Benitez Jr. with his sixth podium finish of the season in the No. 14 Kelly Moss/Porsche of Bucks County entry. He took over second place with 12 minutes remaining when Benitez served a drive-through penalty for earlier contact that shoved Lazare into the tire barrier in Turn 3.
"You can't complain about moving up five spots in any race, especially at a track like this one," stated Thompson. "We didn't have the fastest car out there, but we just ran a smart race. Others made big mistakes that cost them, and we just capitalized on everything we could. At the end of the day, it's all about the championship and points, and second place is solid points."
Lazare, from Montreal, continued after the incident with Lazare and finished 25th in the No. 31 Door Doctor/Moorespeed Porsche. Benitez, from Valencia, Venezuela, ended up sixth in the No. 05 Formula Motorsport/Avid Motorsport car.
David Calvert-Jones was the second finisher in Platinum Masters in the No. 12 Competition Motorsports/Curb-Agajanian entry.
"We had a pretty good start," Calvert-Jones added. "I was following Kasey Kuhlman around and being pretty tight with him, and I had Santiago Creel behind me. He tried to put a few moves on me early down the back straight, but I was able to pull away from him. I made one little mistake on lap five and spun out, and Creel got past me. Luckily I was able to reel him back in but just didn't have enough to get anyone else. I was doing the same lap times as the guys up front but was just too far back. Other than that one mistake I feel like I drove pretty well and am happy with the race. Thanks to Competition Motorsports, all the team and crew for giving me a good car and our great sponsor Wheels Up."
"From where I was, it was a clean race," said Putman. "It doesn't always happen that way, but it was a really nice race. There was a lot of traffic, a lot of nose-to-tail racing for a long time. There were a lot of cars running together, so sneaking out a pass was difficult. You had to wait for the guy in front of you to make a mistake. It was just solid, solid, hard driving the entire time."
"It's been an absolutely amazing day," added Mosing. "We've done really well in this series with the Porsche and we're actually on pole for the Conti race tomorrow. I really love this track. It used to be one of my top three tracks, but I guess I wouldn't do it service if at this point I didn't call it my favorite track. The race was good. I avoided the first turn incident that I have typically seen in the past and I think my opponents had to deal with it momentarily and dice it up. That allowed me to just hot lap and bring it home."
"I had a tough, tough race today," Madsen commented. "First of all, my cool suit didn't work. At the beginning, (Michael) Levitas got a tow on me on the backstretch there, took me on the outside and put me to third place. Unfortunately for him he had a broken throttle cable and pulled in. That put me back to second place. I drove my heart out to catch (Jeff) Mosing, but between the Platinum cars trying to get by and everything else, I lost some pace. It was a tough race,so I am happy to bring it in second place."
He was followed by Kristin Treager in the No. 52 Wright Motorsports entry.
"I had a fantastic start," stated an elated Treager. "That seems to be my strong point. I am super-excited about a podium finish. This is my first time at this track, and I love it. The high speed seems to suit me well. I like these fast, high-speed tracks, and I am pretty dang happy!"
Oscar Arroyo was the second-finishing Gold Masters driver in the No. 89 JDX Racing Porsche.
"It was a very tough race," stated a tired Arroyo. "This track is so fast. At the beginning, there were many accidents, and you need to be very smart in order to not crash. The (Turns) 5A and the 5B in the first lap is very crazy because you need to take care about everything. The rest of the race was very competitive. It's very hard to pass other competitors, but the track is great. The speed is marvelous. The cars are great, and everything was nice today."
Mark Llano earned his first career Gold Masters podium finish in the No. 24 NGT Motorsport entry.
"Unbelievable race," added Llano. "It was hot and it was tight, but it was just incredible, an incredible race. I am very excited to be able to get my first podium, especially at such a tough track like this. I do want to thank NGT and the crew for being with me from day one. They gave me an incredible car today, especially when you consider this is my backup car. I couldn't do it without them and the incredible people around me."
Jay Patel won the Yokohama Hard Charger Award, finishing 14th after starting 21st in the No. 00 Dempsey Racing Porsche.
"At the start of the race, I was focused on the cars in front of me. In Turn 1, there were a couple of cars that went off, and I decided to go to the inside of a car that spun in front of me," stated Patel. "After that, I saw a couple of cars battling and I got into a good battle with Jeff Mosing for a good while. Eventually I got by him, and the race just sort of came to me toward the end. I just have to stay aware of things that are happening in front of me. My team helps me out, keeping me informed and out of trouble, and when you can do that you can get good results."
The second 45-minute race of the weekend - Round 10 of the season -- will start at 10:10 a.m. Saturday. The race will be streamed live at FansChoice.TV, and live updates will be provided @IMSALive on Twitter.
This weekend the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge visit the Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Ontario, Canada for the Mobil 1 Sportscar Grand Prix presented by Hawk Performance.
Saturday, July 12
The weekend kicks off today with the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge two-hour, 30-minute race streaming live on IMSA.com at 1:15 p.m. ET.
Qualifying - TUDOR United SportsCar Championship qualifying will be streamed live on IMSA.com beginning at 5:20 p.m. ET.
Sunday, July 13
GT Daytona, GT Le Mans and Prototype classes of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will be in action on Sunday in a two hour and 45-minute race on the 2.45-mile circuit. The field takes the green flag at 2:05 p.m. ET live on FOX Sports 1.
Kenton Koch, of Glendora, California, led Saturday’s Round Seven SCCA Pro Racing Mazda MX-5 Cup Presented by BFGoodrich Tires race from start to finish, as part of the Mobil 1 SportsCar Grand Prix at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Nathanial Sparks, of Spanish Fort, Alabama, and Patrick Gallagher, of Thornville, Ohio, completed the podium, in that order.
Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's gifted young pilot, Cameron Beaubier, entered the GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round hoping to rediscover his mojo following three consecutive demoralizing races. The 21-year-old appeared to be back on top of his game on Friday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, picking up the pace late to claim the provisional pole for Sunday's 23-lap AMA Pro SuperBike contest.
Beaubier ripped off a 1:24.433 near the end of Friday's qualifying to displace his three-time champion teammate, Josh Hayes, from the top of the charts. As an added bonus, Beaubier demonstrated his immense potential with the World Superbike paddock watching on in this unique combined AMA Pro Road Racing/FIM Superbike World Championship event.
The SuperBike rookie's Friday time was even quicker than the lap that put Hayes on pole for last July's AMA Pro SuperBike race in Monterey.
Beaubier said, "I'm glad to start the weekend fresh and strong. I just hope to continue my pace and be ready for Sunday. (My confidence) was pretty low after Saturday at Barber and I just went on Sunday with the mindset of finishing the race and I still made a couple of mistakes that were stupid. I definitely have my confidence back and I just want to continue like this."
"I was struggling a little bit there in the beginning, just getting down to a time," Beaubier admitted of today's session. "We threw a new soft in there at the end and I got a couple good laps in. I made a couple mistakes but then got in a good last lap. So yeah, I'm looking forward to tomorrow to try to better my time and get ready for the race."
Despite losing his spot in first, Hayes wasn't too far removed from the Californian today. The 39-year-old Mississippian stopped the clocks at 1:24.628 on his last lap to come up just 0.195 seconds short of reclaiming the day's fastest time in qualifying.
"Everything is going okay," Hayes said. "Another weekend at Laguna Seca -- it's not quite like the last World Superbike race we did here where he had already raced here once during the year. It's been a while since we've been here, so it took a little while to get up to speed... We didn't get the outright fastest lap, but I've definitely been able to string together some good laps. I feel pretty good."
No other rider was within a second of Beaubier's class-leading time. Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's Martin Cardenas came closest, holding down the final spot on the provisional front row at 1:25.521. He was separated from his teammate, Roger Hayden, by the exact same margin dividing Beaubier and Hayes, with Hayden fourth at 1:25.717, 0.195 back of the Colombian.
Cardenas said, "It was okay. We tried a few things different from this morning and I think the bike is working good. I'm enjoying the track a lot and we'll try to close the gap a little bit tomorrow to the two Yamahas and hopefully we can be there for the race."
KTM/HMC Racing's Chris Fillmore -- who came within a few hundred meters and a few ounces of fuel of claiming a breakthrough podium finish here in last season's finale -- was fifth quick on the day. Perhaps more impressively than his placement was the fact that he showcased speed similar to that of the Yoshimura duo, circulating at 1:25.903.
ADR Motorsports/Sic/Motul Fly Racing's David Anthony, who currently sits second in the championship order behind Hayes, rounded out the provisional second row at 1:26.400.
Proto-Tech Spain Yamaha's Bernat Martinez, TPL Squadra Corse Ducati's Jake Holden, and Team AMSOIL Hero EBR's Cory West underlined the variety to be found in a field represented by seven different marques this weekend.
Third works Suzuki pilot (and Barber Motorsports Park podium finisher) Chris Clark completed the day's top ten.
On Saturday afternoon the top twelve riders following the first two qualifying sessions will advance to Qualifying 3 to determine the front four rows for Sunday's AMA Pro SuperBike race.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Jake Lewis was quickest in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike qualifying on Friday. Lewis earned provisional pole on his Motosport.com/Meen Yamaha with a time of 1:27.452 at the 2.238-mile circuit. Lewis battled with Jason DiSavlo (Castrol/Triumph/Sportbike Track Time) for the top spot in the California sun and the two traded the lead before the young rider emerged as the fastest man on the day.
"In the first practice, I struggled a little bit, and then we made some changes to the bike which seemed to be better for qualifying," said the Kentucky teen. "I came into the weekend with a lot of confidence after finishing second at Barber and I was also a little bit mad about it. So I came in here with a little different attitude and changed some things with myself over the past couple of weeks and I'm ready to go for the race."
Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha's Garrett Gerloff joined them on the third row. Gerloff was fast despite the fallout from breaking his arm in an Alabama crash.
Earning spots on the second row were DAYTONA 200 winner Danny Eslick, of Riders Discount Racing Triumph, Elkhart Lake winner Jake Gagne (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull) and Gerloff's teammate J.D. Beach.
They held off Alabama double winner Dane Westby (Yamalube/Westby Racing) who earned seventh on the day.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series
Reigning AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series champ Steve Rapp reconfirmed the fact that he's back in the fight with a dominant showing during Friday's provisional qualifying session.
The Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson superstar led the way by nearly a second, throwing down a 1:35.279 on his final circulation to claim provisional pole by a wide 0.880-second margin.
He was followed by Ruthless Racing's Danny Eslick, who is well positioned to take the points lead with another strong weekend. Young Gage McAllister (Folsom Harley-Davidson), who is looking to return to the podium for a second-time this season, completed the provisional front row in third.
Rapp, who checked out from the field in both the season's most recent race at Barber Motorsports Park and the series' most recent visit to Monterey, will attempt to lock down the pole tomorrow morning and then kick off a new win streak in tomorrow afternoon's 11-lap final.
About AMA Pro Road Racing
AMA Pro Road Racing is the premier motorcycle road racing series in North America and is universally regarded as one of the most competitive road racing organizations in the world. The series is comprised of four production-based classes: AMA Pro SuperBike, AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro SuperSport and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series. Learn more about AMA Pro Road Racing at www.amaproracing.com/rr/.
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.
(AMA Pro Racing PR)
After a messy qualifying session,Performance Tech Motorsports captured the pole position for Round 7 of the Cooper Tires Prototype Lights Powered by Mazda on Friday at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, as Hayden Duerson took the top spot.
"It feels like a long time coming this season," Duerson said. "We've been so competitive so many times and have had such bad luck. From last race having the suspension go to the race before that having caught fire. It's just great for the Performance Tech team; I've been wanting this all season. Hopefully we can turn it into a win tomorrow."
Drivers were forced to turn their hot laps quickly as nearly 10 minutes of the 20-minute session was wiped away by an early red flag. Situation aside, Performance Tech's rising stars found themselves on the top of the time charts in qualifying. Rookie Duerson landed the first pole position of his career in the series, followed by Robert Alon, who had his best qualifying efforts of the season landing in fourth.
"Turned out better than I expected," Alon said. "As usual, Performance Tech obviously knows what they are doing. The No. 10 car kind of popped on me on my hot lap. But regardless I think we did all right in the end."
Craig Duerson was hot on Alon's heels in fifth place, winning the pole position in Masters.
"A great team effort once again," Duerson said. "We're really feeding off one another with car setup, and we're just working well as a team. I'm really happy for Robert and Hayden. I didn't throw down a lap when I needed to. I'm very comfortable with the track and my race conditions. I've been up front in all my practices. Now it's just a little racecraft, and hopefully the old man will be there."
Joel Janco qualified 10th in the L1 category and third in Masters.
"It was really greasy compared to this morning," Janco said. "So it was like driving a completely different track. We wound up about where we were in practice and we were third in Masters, which was good for us, and we're pretty happy. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."
This is the second time this season Team Principal Brent O'Neill has seen one of his drivers take home the pole position. With everyone performing well, he is at ease for the upcoming races on the difficult 10-turn, 2.459-mile CTMP track.
"Good qualifying effort by Hayden and the whole team," O'Neill said. "We're P1, four and five. I think we're going to have a good race car for tomorrow. Hayden did an awesome job; he's getting better and better. Robert now qualifying in the top in P4, it shows that are two younger guys are moving toward the front of the field. It was a good effort by everybody. Now we just get ready for the race tomorrow."
Masters competitor Jon Brownson will not participate in this event with the team after a mishap in a test day earlier this week.
"Jon had a big one in Turn 2 during testing and jammed his shoulder pretty hard, and we decided it was better off just parking it," O'Neill said. "He's going to rest up and get ready for Road America."
The 30-minute Race 1 takes place at 6:45 p.m. Saturday, July 12, and the 45-minute Race 2 is scheduled for 9:50 a.m. Sunday, July 13. Follow live timing and scoring atscoring.imsa.com/prototype-lites/ and also follow the action live at @IMSALive on Twitter.
First-time Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America drivers Aaron Povoledo and Corey Lewis will be on the pole for Round 7 of the series Saturday, July 12 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park after leading qualifying Friday, July 11 with a time of 1 minute, 21.180 seconds.
"First and foremost, hats have to go off to Lamborghini for building such an amazing rocket ship of a car," Povoledo said. "This is both of our first times driving these things. They're bloody gorgeous and fast, and they challenge you as a human being to be a better person to drive the thing."
The drivers of the No. 76 Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 fielded by Musante Motorsport and representing Lamborghini Boston are getting their first experience in the series at CTMP. The Musante team spent the night before qualifying making setup changes and getting the car ready to race for the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America rookies.
"It's been a big learning curve for the both us from yesterday to today," Lewis said. "The team has worked really well with us and given us everything we need, and it shows with the huge time gain."
Starting behind the No. 76 Lamborghini on the grid will be the second overall and top Amateur class qualifier, Dillon Machavern, who turned a top lap of 1:21.338 in the No. 07 Gallardo fielded by Mitchum Motorsport.
"We ended up switching tires halfway through because we knew we had a good car," Machavern said. "We just wanted that edge again, so we put new tires on. The car felt really good out of the box, so I just put two fast laps down and ended up in a good position. I'm just looking forward to being able to run my pace and not be in a lot of traffic. That's key in these cars and especially at this track."
Saturday's race will be the first of two 50-minute races in the incredible Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Super Trofeo cars, powered by a 570-horsepower V10 engine.
Race One is scheduled for 8:55 a.m. (ET) Saturday, with Race Two following at 10:55 a.m. Sunday. Both races will be streamed live at http://squadracorse.lamborghini.com/en/live-usa.
The two rounds at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park continue a busy stretch of action worldwide for the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo championship, which continues to reach new levels of success at every round in Europe, North America and Asia.
The Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo North America and Europe competed during the final weekend of June at Watkins Glen International and Circuit Paul Ricard, respectively. The next round of the Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo Europe is July 25-26 at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium. The Asian Lamborghini Blancpain Super Trofeo championship resumes Aug. 30-31 atFuji Speedway in Oyama, Japan.
The Lamborghini Gallardo LP 570-4 Super Trofeo car is the ultimate single-make race car and the only four-wheel drive GT racer in the world. The 570-horsepower, V10 Gallardo LP 570-4 features impressive technology such as paddle shift E-gear transmission, Öhlins race shocks, Brembo brakes, a carbon fiber aerodynamic package that includes a rear wing with 10 adjustable positions, MTA data acquisition, air jacks, center wheel locks and more.
Lamborghini and Blancpain will provide world-class hospitality this weekend for clients and guests of Lamborghini dealers in Montreal and Toronto. Guests also can participate in the IMSA Hot Lap Experience, high-speed rides around the Canadian Tire Motorsport circuit in a Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4. The Lamborghini Huracan LP 610-4 will be displayed at Lamborghini Village at the circuit throughout the weekend.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series set to compete at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend
The newly intensified chase for the 2014 AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series crown comes to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca this weekend for the GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round. Tyler O'Hara on the No. 29 Josh Chisum Racing/Bartels Harley-Davidson XR1200 retains the points lead but the title hopeful has fallen into something of an early season lull, missing out on the podium at the most recent two rounds after being awarded victory in the Daytona International Speedway season opener.
O'Hara will be motivated to get his championship charge reignited this weekend at his home race, and he'll need to with his advantage reduced to just a single point. The Californian put in a strong effort last season when the muscular XR1200s made their debut at the undulating circuit, reeling in a runner-up result to lock down second in the 2013 championship. He's out to do one better in both categories this time around.
Nipping at O'Hara's heels is the inaugural AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series king, Danny Eslick aboard the No. 69 Ruthless Racing Harley-Davidson XR1200. The 2010 champ is hoping to reclaim his throne while pulling double duty (Eslick is also ranked second in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike). The thrill-a-minute Oklahoman has strung together a pair of second-place finishes but is yet to climb atop the podium in Harley-Davidson action this season.
Another man yet to strike is Ben Carlson, pilot of the No. 45 Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson XR1200. In fact, despite his near-constant presence near the front of the pack throughout his three-season tenure in the class, Carlson is still seeking his first-ever AMA Pro Road Racing victory. The Wisconsinite has racked up six podiums, two runner-ups, and even finished second in the 2012 championship order, but the two-time AMA Supermoto national champion is yet to register that breakthrough win. He's knocked O'Hara off the podium in each of his last two rides and appears to have increased both his confidence and his willingness to mix it up with the established frontrunners, so perhaps his shining moment is just around the corner.
A duo representing the new breed of AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series riders currently sits in positions four through six. Gage McAllister on the No. 51 Folsom Harley-Davidson XR1200 leads that group, followed by Nick Hansen and his No. 97 Aerostar Global Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson XR1200.
Reigning champ Steve Rapp on the No. 1 Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson XR1200 finally got his season back on the rails with a dominating effort last time out at Barber Motorsports Park. Last season, Rapp clinched his first-ever AMA Pro Road Racing title at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca by claiming his sixth win of the season. Another effort like that this weekend could signify the realistic possibility of an epic come-from-behind title defense.
Kyle Wyman on the No. 11 KWR/Millennium Technologies Harley-Davidson XR1200 has endured a rollercoaster season, with results and emotions alternating from one extreme to the other. He looked to have taken a dramatic victory in the Daytona opener, only to be later disqualified. Wyman rebounded from that disappointment by winning at Road America, only to crash out of podium contention in Alabama. As a result, he's currently 36 points down on O'Hara and two back of Rapp and similarly in need of an extended streak of terrific rides if he's to have any hope of getting back in the title hunt.
Hayden Schultz aboard the No. 59 Chili Pepper Racing Harley-Davidson XR1200 and Josh Chisum on the No. 10 Josh Chisum Racing/Bartels Harley-Davidson XR1200 round of the championship top ten as the 2014 AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series approaches its midpoint.
The Harley pilots got the combined AMA Pro Road Racing/FIM Superbike World Championship round off and running on Friday morning with their opening practice, which took place at 8:30 a.m. local time (11:30 a.m. ET).
Series rookie Hayden Duerson earned his first career pole in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda on Friday at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. Duerson, from Gulfport, Mississippi, turned a top lap of 1 minute, 14.484 seconds in the No. 39 Performance Tech Motorsports entry in his final trip around the 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit, the only Canadian stop this season in the series. The pole matched the feat set by Duerson's father, Craig Duerson, who won the pole last month at Kansas Speedway.
"It feels like a long time coming this season," Duerson said. "We've been so competitive so many times and have had such bad luck. From last race having the suspension go, to the race before that having caught fire. It's just great for the Performance Tech team. I've been wanting this all season. Hopefully we can turn it into a win tomorrow."
Round 7 of the season, a 30-minute race, starts at 6:45 p.m. (ET) Saturday. Round 8, a 45-minute race, begins at 9:50 a.m. Sunday.
Qualifications were interrupted early for off-course excursions by the No. 68 Quorum Racing entry of Montreal's Guy Laporte and the ONE Motorsports No. 12 of Tony Bullock. The recess of nearly 10 minutes chipped away at precious time in the 20-minute session, as only a handful of competitors had yet posted a lap. A scant five minutes were left for drivers to lay down their fastest time when the round resumed.
North Vancouver resident Mikhail Goikhberg immediately set the mark after the red flag lifted in his the No. 10 JDC Motorsports Lites 1 Élan DP02 powered by a Mazda engine. Goikhberg stayed at the top of the charts until time ran out in the session, but a handful of contenders were still on track looking for the checkered flag, including Hayden Duerson.
Fellow series rookie Matt McMurry also clipped Goikhberg at the end with a fast lap of 1:14.631 in his No. 20 JDC Motorsports entry, good for second on the grid. Goikhberg's fastest lap of 1:14.651 leaves him starting third.
Brian Alder claimed the Lites 2 class pole in his No. 22 BAR 1 Motorsports entry, setting a qualifying lap record of 1:18.235 for the class. Jerome Mee will line up alongside Alder in the No. 95 Alta Velocita Racing entry with a top lap of 1:18.732 during the session. Todd Slusher will start third in his first race in the class with a lap of 1:18.803 in his No. 62 ONE Motorsports entry.
For live updates on all the action, follow @IMSALive on Twitter.
This year is definitely a step in the right direction. Last season LMEM, on behalf of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, took over the organisation of the European Le Mans Series and set in place a series of changes that resulted in teams and drivers deciding that they wanted to race in the ELMS. The increase in the size of the grids showed we were going in the right direction.
Towards the end of the year we talked to the teams about the 2013 season, what worked and what didn't, and a number of changes were made before the start of the 2014 season, including longer races and more track time. This has resulted in a further boost to the size of the grid, with over 40 full season entries.
We have some of the best teams in Europe racing in the ELMS and the presentation of the paddock is very professional. We still have some way to go but we are definitely on the right track to make the ELMS the best continental race series in the world.
Are you pleased that the ELMS teams finished well at the 24 Hours of Le Mans?
The 24 Heures du Mans is the pinnacle of endurance racing and for ELMS teams to go up against the best in the world and win is a tremendous achievement and is something that will make other teams and drivers look at the ELMS in the future.
You have to remember that the overall winners in the ELMS receive an automatic entry for the next 24 Hours of Le Mans and while it is not part of the ELMS calendar, Le Mans is something that every driver and team dream about winning.
Our congratulations go to JOTA Sport for the LMP2 victory and also to TDS by Thiriet Racing and Signatech Alpine for making it a 1-2-3 finish for ELMS teams in LMP2, something we are very proud of.
We are heading the Austria next. There have been some changes to the facilities at the Red Bull Ring because of the visit by Formula One a few weeks ago. What difference do you think this will make to the ELMS event?
The Red Bull Ring is an impressive facility set in a beautiful location in Austria. The track remains as challenging as it was in 2013 and the new facilities will certainly add something to our event next weekend. Many of our drivers choose to race in the European Le Mans Series because of the tracks we visit. ELMS now boasts two current Formula One circuits on its calendar and all five tracks each present a unique challenge which will test both drivers and cars.
After Austria the ELMS will race at Paul Ricard and then at Estoril. What are your thoughts on those events?
The teams all know the Circuit Paul Ricard after the official test in April. The circuit is ideally suited to endurance racing and I am confident that the race in September will be as exciting as the race was in 2013.
Last year Paul Ricard hosted the season finale, while this year we still have the event in Portugal a few weeks later.
The 4 Hours of Estoril will provide the perfect backdrop for the end of season party, with the local promoter working hard to attract a good crowd with plenty of entertainment. Estoril is a very special circuit and like the other four tracks on the calendar will have its own unique challenges to test the competitors to the maximum. The second half of the 2014 season is certainly not going to be boring!