Corvettes Shine at Daytona
By: MRN Staff on January 24, 2014 | 2:55 P.M. EST
Spirit of Daytona Racing's Corvette DP led three of the four practice sessions this week and starts second in the season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona. (Photo: Brian Cleary/bcpix.com)
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Alex Gurney’s name will go down in history as the first Corvette DP driver to claim the overall pole position for the Rolex 24 At Daytona.
The Californian put his No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing entry at the front of the field for the season-opening race in the 2014 TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. The "Red Dragon" led a Corvette sweep of the top four starting spots in a field of 67 cars over four classes that'll take the green flag Saturday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway.
Gurney’s best lap was 130.416 mph in the Corvette DP he shares with Jon Fogarty, Memo Gidley and Darren Law. Richard Westbrook made it a Corvette sweep of the front row with the second-fastest qualifying speed, 130.129 mph in Spirit of Daytona Racing’s No. 90 entry.
"I’m delighted! It proves we’ve got a quick car," said Westbrook, whose team suffered a setback in off-season testing that forced it to build an entirely new Coyote-based Corvette DP. The group has continued to build confidence.
"Everyone on the team has done a great job so far," Westbrook said. "We gave what we had and I think the No. 99 car was just a little bit quicker than us. I’m happy with the front row here and we're going after it in the race."
Corvettes led all four of the week's practice sessions leading into the twice-around-the-clock sports car classic.
"We were pretty diligent through all the testing we did and concentrated on full-tank runs," Gurney said. "We never really went low-fuel to show what we had. When we pulled the fuel out, the time came. We were pretty happy with the car and it’s nice to get this pole."
The second row of the starting grid will be made up of Action Express Racing Corvette DPs thanks to stout qualifying runs by teammates Christian Fittipaldi and Burt Frisselle.
"Congratulations to Alex Gurney and GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing on their historic qualifying result," said Mark Kent, Chevrolet’s director of racing. "Thursday’s qualifying results are a testament to the collective effort by Chevrolet Racing, Earnhardt Childress Racing, GM Powertrain and our Chevrolet teams. This will be a very demanding race, but our teams are as prepared as they can be for this grueling 24-hour event."
Wayne Taylor Racing, which won the 2013 Daytona Prototype championship in the final year of the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series, will line up sixth for the start of Saturday's Rolex 24 with co-drivers Jordan, Ricky and Wayne Taylor joining Max Angelelli. That's two spots ahead of Chip Ganassi Racing's Scott Pruett, who's seeking a record sixth Rolex 24 victory.
Motor Racing Network will provide live flag-to-flag coverage of the entire Rolex 24 at Daytona starting Saturday at 2 p.m. (ET), with live streaming at MRN.com.