Team Sahlen called an audible at the end of Friday morning’s final practice at Road America, only 40 minutes before the start of qualifying for the VISITFLORIDA.com Sports Car 250. After Dane Cameron had the fastest lap in the session, the decision was made to let him qualify the car for a change – he usually follows co-driver Wayne Nonnamaker in the driver rotation – and go for the pole.
Cameron stepped up and did just that, capturing the TOTAL Pole Award with a track record lap of 2 minutes, .028 seconds (121.412 mph) in the No. 42 Team Sahlen BMW/Riley. That made Team Sahlen the first team to win poles in four GRAND-AM’s classes: Rolex Series DP and GT in addition to Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge GS and ST.
The race is set for Saturday at 4 p.m. CT (SPEED and Motor Racing Network, live, 5 p.m. ET).
“It was an off-the-cuff decision,” said Cameron, who won his second career pole and first in DP. “Team Sahlen has always been strong at Road America, and we unloaded much closer [to an ideal setup] than usual and we were quick right out of the gate.”
Jordan Taylor had a three-race pole-winning streak ended, although he qualified second with a lap of 2:00.575 (120.861 mph) in the No. 10 Velocity Worldwide Corvette DP shared with Max Angelelli.
“We’re here for the win, not the pole,” Taylor said. “I still start second, so I’ll have a good view at the start. I think we’ve got a good car for the race.”
Memo Rojas will start third in the No. 01 Telcel/TELMEX BMW/Riley co-driven by fellow defending three-time DP champion Scott Pruett. Sebastien Bourdais qualified fourth in the No. 4 8Star Motorsports Corvette DP co-driven by Emilio DiGuida.
DP point leaders Alex Popow and Ryan Dalziel – winners of the recent Brickyard Grand Prix at Indianapolis Motor Speedway – will start seventh in the No. 2 Soloson BMW/Riley.
Qualifying for the first time since the 2010 Rolex 24 At Daytona, Leh Keen won the GT pole with a lap of 2:11.183 (111.088 mph) in the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 co-driven by Alessandro Balzan. That shattered Nonnamaker’s two-year-old GT track record by more than three seconds.
“This team is all about getting out early,” said Keen, one of nine Rolex Series drivers who will also race in Sunday’s Orion 245 for the American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patrón. “They try to be at the front of the line in every practice session. Sometimes qualifying gets shortened by an incident, so getting out early and putting down a quick flying lap sometimes paid off. It certainly did today.”
Paul Dalla Lana was second-fastest in the No. 94 Turner Motorsport BMW M3 shared by Bill Auberlen and Billy Johnson. Taking third were Patrick Lindsey and Patrick Long in the No. 73 Park Place Motorsports Porsche GT3.
Tom Long took his fourth pole of the season in the GX class, running 1:33.156 (97.926 mph) in the No. 70 Mazdaspeed/Castrol Edge Mazda 6 co-driven by Sylvain Tremblay.