Virginia GT Qualifying: Speedsource Claims Pole
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Jim Bourn Photo
Nick Ham planned a nice and easy qualifying session Friday at Virginia International Raceway. He stayed out longer than planned, though, and it paid off with the GT pole for Saturday's Bosch Engineering 250, round two of the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16.

He will lead the 18-car GT field for the 2:30 p.m. start on Saturday (SPEED, live).

Ham ran a lap of 1:51.742 (105.350 mph) in the No. 70 SpeedSource/Castrol Syntec Mazda RX-8, winning his seventh career pole and giving the team its second-straight top spot. Co-driver Sylvain Tremblay led qualifying for the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona.

"It was a fantastic, killer lap," Ham said. "As the tire pressure went up, the tires got better and better. Also, I got a bit of a tow on the front straight and again on the back straight."

However, the session did not go as planned.

"It wasn't my intention to win the pole on the last lap," Ham said. "I told Sylvain before I went out that I was going to do two laps, and take that. But on the second lap, I got help up, so I stayed out. I know Sylvain was just about to call me in when I started my last lap - and that was the good one."

Dane Cameron will start second in the No. 30 Racers Edge Motorsports Mazda RX-8 1:51.977 (105.129 mph), giving the 20-year-old his best career start after working his way up the Mazda ladder.

"The car was really good," said Cameron, who will co-drive with Bryce Miller. "The team did a great job and made a lot of strong improvements this morning. We just missed it. I needed one more lap - as always! I think we will be real strong tomorrow."

Starting on the second row are Leh Keen in the No. 87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 co-driven by Dirk Werner, 1:52.293 (104.833 mph), joined by Kelly Collins in the No. 07 Banner Racing Pontiac GXP.R shared by Paul Edwards, 1:52.379 (104.753 mph). Defending race winner Andrew Davis will start fifth in the No. 57 Stevenson Motorsports/Bryan Mark Pontiac GXP.R.

Eight drivers broke Dominik Farnbacher's year-old track record of 1:53.401, with Joe Foster in the No. 40 Dempsey Racing Mazda RX-8, Eric Lux in the No. 86 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 and Emil Assentato in the No. 69 SpeedSource FXDD Mazda also better than the existing mark.
Andy Lallyand Justin Marks, who shared the winning No. 67 TRG Porsche GT3 in the season-opening Rolex 24 At Daytona, will start 10th.