Skip Barber National at Barber Park: Qualifying

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Friday, July 18, 2008

The Skip Barber National paddock at Barber Motorsports ParkБ.зЮ
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – At Barber Motorsports Park, BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda points leader Felipe Polehtto qualified second for both races. The driver second in points – 2 points behind – qualified on pole for both races. That would be Josef Newgarden. Actually, he’s not second anymore; each pole is worth a point, so Newgy has tied Polehtto as they head into the first race of the weekend, late Saturday afternoon.

Stevan McAleer qualified third for race one and fourth for race two, while Conor Daly will start fourth in the first race and – you guessed it – third for the second race. Fabio Orsolon qualified fifth and sixth, respectively, but Connor De Phillippi will start… sixth and fifth.

In the first qualifier, the top six drivers were within 8/10s, and Newgarden’s margin over Polehtto was just .074 of a second. In the second qualifier, the first seven drivers were within 8/10s, but Newgy’s margin over Polehtto was a huge – by Skip Barber National standards — .389 of a second.

The full starting grids/qualifying times are below.

[More photos below…]

Friday, June 18, a.m. qualifying/start positions for Saturday race 1
BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda
Barber Motorsports Park, 2.28-mile, 15-turn road course

1. Josef Newgarden, 1:36.698
2. Felipe Polehtto, 1:36.772
3. Conor Daly, 1:36.920
4. Stevan McAleer, 1:37.093
5. Conner De Phillippi, 1:37.215
6. Fabio Orsolon, 1:37.517
7. Hayden Duerson, 1:37.774
8. Sean Rayhall, 1:37.874
9. Victor Carbone, 1:38.129
10. Ben Searcy, 1:38.337
11. Nick Tonkin, 1:38.366
12. Lee Carpentier, 1:38.393
13. Victor Pedrosa, 1:38.444
14. Mark Bumgarner, 1:39.178
15. Peter Tucker, 1:39.213
16. Gustavo Linares, 1:39.244
17. Dom Bastien, 1:39.315
18. Jose Pulido, 1:42.491

Friday, June 18, p.m. qualifying/start positions for Sunday race 2
BFGoodrich/Skip Barber National Presented by Mazda
Barber Motorsports Park, 2.28-mile, 15-turn road course

1. Josef Newgarden, 1:36.852
2. Felipe Polehtto, 1:37.241
3. Stevan McAleer, 1:37.282
4. Conor Daly, 1:37.605
5. Fabio Orsolon, 1:37.617
6. Conner De Phillippi, 1:37.751
7. Hayden Duerson, 1:37.844
8. Nick Tonkin, 1:37.901
9. Ben Searcy, 1:37.966
10. Sean Rayhall, 1:38.057
11. Lee Carpentier, 1:38.164
12. Victor Pedrosa, 1:38.354
13. Mark Bumgarner, 1:38.500
14. Gustavo Linares, 1:38.751
15. Victor Carbone, 1:38.936
16. Peter Tucker, 1:39.151
17. Dom Bastien, 1:39.635
18. Jose Pulido, 1:42.045

As the local racer — Ben Searcy is from nearby Tuscaloosa, Alabama — he got some local ABC-TV airtime. He then went out and put his best-ever qualifying efforts together, 10th and ninth for the weekend’s races.

With two poles and thus two points, Josef Newgarden has tied Felipe Polehtto for the championship lead — before any races have been run.

Though he’s led the points all the way up to this weekend, Felipe Polehtto doesn’t have what Newgy has — a win.

Conor Daly, having won his first SBN race a month ago at Mosport, stays hot with two good qualifying runs. Derek’s son will start third and fourth.

Stevan McAleer is yet again in the frontrunning mix, with two second-row grid spots for the races at Barber Park.

Regardless of how Fabio Orsolon does in the races from his sixth- and fifth-place starting spots, he’ll pass Gabby Chaves for third place in the points standings, as Chaves didn’t enter the Barber Park rounds.

Connor De Phillippi will start both races from the third row.

Words & photos, Rick Roso

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