Cumming Captures Kansas Pole

08 car

“It’s been a couple years since I qualified and what a thrill to get back out there and really have to put it all on the line." (Photo: Courtesy of IMSA)

Three drivers went head-to-head for the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship Prototype Challenge class pole Friday night at Kansas Speedway with lap times dropping throughout much of the 15-minute session.

With just a few minutes remaining, Chris Cumming jumped to the top of the leaderboard with a lap of one minute, 11.839 seconds/118.766 mph in the No. 08 RSR Racing ORECA FLM09 he shares with Alex Tagliani. He then held off Frankie Montecalvo and Sean Rayhall over the remaining minutes to earn his first career TOTAL Pole Award.

Thanks to a unique two-segment race format for Saturday’s Grand Prix of Kansas, Cumming got the rare opportunity to qualify the entry normally qualified by Tagliani. The qualifying driver will run the first 45-minute race Saturday at 4:15 p.m. CT, with the results setting the starting grid for the second 45-minute race at 10:15 p.m. CT. Points will be awarded based on the results of the second race.

“It’s been a couple years since I qualified and what a thrill to get back out there and really have to put it all on the line,” said Cumming. “It was a good battle there, the team calling out my position. I knew I was close, but I knew I had to put in a good one the last couple of laps there. It’s a different format, of course, but I get to start out front and bring it to Alex in the same spot and set him up for race two.”

It was the third consecutive pole for RSR Racing with the team’s No. 09 ORECA FLM09 earning poles at Sebring International Raceway and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in the hands of Bruno Junqueira.

Cumming, Montecalvo and Rayhall each held the provisional pole at least once over the final five minutes of the session. Cumming took the top spot for good with two minutes left, nipping the 1:11.878 (118.701 mph) lap by Montecalvo in the No. 52 PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports ORECA FLM09 by 0.039 seconds. Rayhall was third in the No. 25 8Star Motorsports ORECA FLM09 at 1:11.989 (118.518 mph).

Duncan Ende qualified RSR Racing’s No. 09 entry at Kansas and wound up fourth with a lap of 1:12.541 (117.616 mph). Jon Bennett qualified the points-leading No. 54 CORE autosport ORECA FLM09 fifth at 1:12.597 (117.526 mph). Bennett’s co-driver Colin Braun swept the day’s three practice sessions.

Saturday’s Grand Prix of Kansas is the fourth race of the season for the TUDOR Championship PC class. Both races will be run in conjunction with the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites powered by Mazda.

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