SBN Cleveland G.P. Practice Times: Daly on Top

< Back 06/22/2007

Friday, June 22, 2007 CLEVELAND, Ohio – It was late in the day when the drivers in the BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda got their first laps on Cleveland’s featureless but fun and fast 2.106-mile, 10-turn airport runway layout. The session ended 5 minutes earlier than planned when Juan Pablo Contreras found the tire wall with a big corner-exit oversteering moment in Turn Eight, but most got in nine or 10 laps of practice. When the checker flew, the fastest time was put up by… Conor Daly.

Yes, the son of Derek, Daly – in his first National event, following just a handful of Skip Barber Regional races – put in a 1:27.564 lap, nipping Ricky Taylor’s 1:27.716. Granted, Daly’s Skip Barber Formula 2000 hadn’t yet been ballasted, so the 15-year-old was running light, but still…

Third-quick was A.J. Riley, followed by Gabby Chaves, points leader Joel Miller, Fabio Orsolon, Josef Newgarden, Timmy Megenbier, Chris Wehrheim and Jonathan Gore. The fastest Master Division driver was Jeff Kaiser, followed by Alan Baia, Dom Bastien, points-leader Dick Lippert and Mike Distaulo.

Tomorrow (Saturday) at noon is qualifying. The Champ Car Cleveland Grand Prix weekend schedule allows just one qualifier for the Skip Barber National, so officials have lengthened the session to the maximum that the cars’ fuel cell will allow; each driver’s fastest lap will grid them for race one, and their next-quickest lap will qualify them for race two.

Skip Barber National Friday practice times, Cleveland Grand Prix

1. Conor Daly, 1:27.564
2. Ricky Taylor 1:27.716
3. A.J. Riley, 1:28.130
4. Gabby Chaves, 1:28.145
5. Joel Miller, 1:28.342
6. Fabio Orsolon, 1:28.416
7. Josef Newgarden, 1:28.557
8. Timmy Megenbier, 1:28.716
9. Chris Wehrheim 1:28.807
10. Jonathan Gore, 1:29.104
11. Jeff Relic, 1:29.222
12. Jeff Kaiser (M), 1:29.292
13. Kyle Lawrence, 1:29.387
14. Stevan McAleer, 1:29.402
15. Julien Gerbi, 1:29.690
16. Juan Pablo Contreras, 1:29.710
17. Eliott Bachalart, 1:29.762
18. Alan Baia (M), 1:29.838
19. Jeff Oleen, 1:30.254
20. Dom Bastien (M), 1:30.404
21. Dick Lippert (M), 1:30.542
22. Taz Smith, 1:31.129
23. Juan Carlos Sistos, 1:31.139
24. Mike Distaulo (M), 1:31.164
25. Julia Landauer, 1:31.206
26. Lee Carpentier, 1:31.262
27. Gary Manheimer, 1:32.084
28. Ron Yarab (M), 1:32.898
29. Tom Lehmkuhl (M), 1:33.149
30. Barry Biggin (M), 1:38.691

Here it is, the Mazda-driven ladder system in the flesh: Champ Car’s endorsement of karting, then Skip Barber, Star Mazda and Atlantic.

This weekend’s seminar (Sebring was Danny Sullivan, VIR was Wayne Taylor) was conducted by Derek Daly, ”What Makes a Champion,” a talk derived in part from Daly’s upcoming book by the same name.

Rick Roso

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