Competing in a rare substitute role, Jordan Taylor stepped in and put the No. 01 CKS Autosport Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R on the Grand Sport (GS) pole in Friday’s Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge qualifying at Virginia International Raceway.
Taylor is substituting for Lawson Aschenbach in the Camaro co-driven by Eric Curran, and ran a lap of 1:58.204 (99.591 mph) to win his TOTAL Pole Award in his eighth series start.
The two-hour, 30-minute race begins at 2:05 p.m. ET on Saturday (live, IMSA.com).
It was another career first for the Floridian at VIR. Taylor made his professional racing debut at the circuit in a Continental Tire Challenge race in 2007 at age 16, and won his first professional race at the track in 2011, winning in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series GT class with Bill Lester in a Camaro.
CKS Autosport is coming off its first victory of the season, when Aschenbach led only the final quarter-mile before taking the checkered flag at Road America.
Kurt Rezzetano also had a career-best qualifying effort, posting a lap of 1:58.828 (99.068 mph) in the No. 32 Phoenix Performance Ford Mustang Boss 302R co-driven by Andrew Aquilante.
Sharing the second row will be Lucas Bize, who ran 1:58.974 (98.946 mph) in the No. 78 Racers Edge Motorsports Ford Mustang Boss 302R co-driven by David Levine. Andy Lally took fourth with a lap of 1:59.089 (98.850 mph) in the No. 9 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R.
Andrew Davis originally qualified fourth in the No. 6 Stevenson Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro Z/28.R co-driven by Robin Liddell, but the car failed post-qualifying technical inspection and will start at the back of the GS field.
GS points leader Trent Hindman will start fifth in the No. 46 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 co-driven by John Edwards.
Nineteen of the 21 GS qualifiers bettered Ken Wilden’s existing track record of 2:02.611 (96.011 mph), set in 2009. Saturday’s race will be the 14th for the Continental Tire Challenge dating back to 2001, but the first since 2011.
While the conditions improved enough to allow GS competitors to qualify, rain just prior to the Street Tuner (ST) qualifying session led IMSA officials to abandon qualifying in favor of a 15-minute practice session. The class grid was set according to points putting Will Nonnamaker on the pole for the first time in 11 years. He joins Jeff Mosing on the front row of the ST grid.
Nonnamaker will start the No. 42 Team Sahlen’s Porsche Cayman co-driven by his brother Wayne, the ST points leader. Mosing drives the No. 56 Murillo Racing/Mosing Motorcars Porsche Cayman co-driven by Eric Foss, who enters the race eight points behind Nonnamaker, 232-224.
Murillo Racing team owner Ken Murillo was not disappointed to see the qualifying session abandoned. After running a BMW 328i in the opening eight races, the team is continuing to work on its new Cayman which debuted with a 13th-place finish in the most recent race at Road America.
Starting in the second row will be Tyler Cooke, driving the No. 81 BimmerWorld Racing 328i with Greg Liefooghe, and defending ST champion Mike LaMarra, who won two weeks ago at Road America in the No. 23 Burton Racing BMW 128i he shares with fellow champion Terry Borcheller.
RESULTS: Qualifying (GS)