Gurney Captures Rolex 24 Pole
By: MRN Staff on January 23, 2014 | 7:14 P.M. EST
Alex Gurney won the pole for this weekend's Rolex 24 with an average speed of 130.416 mph around Daytona Interational Speedway's road course. (Photo: Getty Images)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Alex Gurney has captured the Prototype pole for this weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona International Speedway, the inaugural event of the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.
Gurney turned a quick lap of 1 minute, 38.270 seconds (an average speed of 130.416 mph) during Thursday's qualifying session behind the wheel of the No. 99 Corvette DP for GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing, which is scheduled to run only five races this season. Gurney also won the pole for this event in 2007.
"I'm really happy and pretty excited about it all,'' Gurney said of his team's effort. "This means a lot to all of us. This is one of our times to shine and it feels good to pull it off.''
Gurney will join co-drivers Jon Fogarty, Memo Gidley and Darren Law for the 52nd running of the twice-around-the clock classic around the 3.56-mile DIS road course. Gurney's father, Dan, won the first Daytona Continental in 1962, the precursor to the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
"(It’s) been a really difficult off-season and I have to say a big 'Thank you' to (owner) Bob Stallings and everybody on the team," Gurney said. "I think most of the teams worked straight through Christmas and New Year's with no real time off, with all the rule changes and a lot of challenges."
Chip Ganassi Racing, the defending Rolex 24 winner, qualified sixth and ninth with its two-car lineup. Scott Pruett, seeking a record sixth Rolex 24 victory, will start from the inside of the fifth row - sharing seat time with co-drivers Memo Rojas, Jamie McMurray and Sage Karam.
In Prototype Challenge, Colin Braun posted a lap of 125.922 mph in his No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 to earn the No. 1 starting spot in class and 14th overall.
Last fall, Braun set a Daytona International Speedway record around the 2.5-mile oval with a lap of 222.971 mph in a Michael Shank Racing-prepared Ford EcoBoost/Riley DP. In 2009, he qualified on pole for a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on the Daytona oval. Braun is sharing the No. 54 entry this weekend with Jon Bennett, James Gue and Mark Wilkins.
"It’s a really cool race and as soon as the green flag drops, everybody forgets it," Braun said of his qualifying success. "So we’ve got to enjoy it while we can. It comes down to preparation here. It’s all about the work done in the off-season because you show up and you only get an hour and a half of practice. You’ve got four or five drivers to run through and lots of red flags, lots of traffic, so it’s all about being prepared and ready to go execute our game plan once we get here."
In GT Le Mans, Marc Goosens put the No. 91 SRT Motorsports Viper GTS-R on the pole with a lap of 1:44.506, 122.634 mph. And the No. 48 Audi R8 LMS with driver Christopher Haase earned the No. 1 starting spot in the GT Daytona class with a lap of 1:46.973, 119.806 mph.
Motor Racing Network will have live flag-to-flag coverage of the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona starting at 2 p.m. (ET) on Saturday, with live streaming at MRN.com.