After a disastrous season, which has seen only a single podium finish, Richard Westbrook brought a bit of sunshine to the Spirit of Daytona squad Saturday, by claiming pole for Sunday’s Continental Tire Sports Car Festival.
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The GM driver, normally tasked with watching his co-driver Ricky Taylor qualify, reeled off a best time of 1:21.557 in the Coyote-chassied Daytona Prototype.
He edged out the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Corvette DP of Max Angelelli by a mere 0.021 seconds to give SDR its first pole of the season.
“I wish I could say this pole will put a smile on everyone’s face on the team but we’ve had such a bad season by our standards,” Westbrook said. “It’s unfortunately going to take more than that.
“We have two races left and we need two strong victories. It’s been a really tough year so hopefully we can finish strong and have some momentum heading into the winter.”
The Troy Flis-led squad head into tomorrow’s two-hour and 45-minute race as defending winners, in a race that saw Westbrook also qualify the No. 90 machine.
Could that be what the team needs to help turn their luck around?
“There’s no real story behind [the qualifying] change,” Westbrook said. “It was just something the team wanted to do to freshen things up. I think maybe seeing the 10 car work for them at Kansas made the decision that much easier.”
Angelelli and co-driver Jordan Taylor, whose strategy shakeup at Kansas was rewarded with a victory and the DP points lead, will line up second, ahead of the No. 42 Team Sahlen’s BMW-Riley of Dane Cameron in third.
Dario Franchitti, making a cameo appearance in the second Chip Ganassi Racing Riley-BMW, and the No. 5 Action Express Racing Corvette DP of Christian Fittipaldi, completed the top-five overall and in DP.
The top-13 in DP were separated by less than 1.5 seconds in qualifying, owing to the competitive nature of the category.
The Continental Tire Sports Car Festival takes the green flag Sunday at 5 p.m. ET, live on FOX Sports 1.