Multimatic Motorsport driver Jade Buford repeated his performance from Daytona in clinching pole position for the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge race at the Circuit of the Americas.
He ended the session with a late best lap of 2:20.830 to depose long term pole-sitter Lawson Aschenbach, bumping the CKS Autosport Chevrolet Camaro to the outside of the front row. Ashenbach held the top spot for much of the 15 minute session with a 1:20.938 lap, his mark initially a little under a second faster than anyone else could deliver around the Austin track.
However, while he continued to circulate but not improve on his time the combination of Buford, Rum Bum Racing’s Nick Longhi and CKS’s fellow Camaro team Stevenson Motorsports gradually bought the chasing times to within striking distance for the final minutes.
Buford was the first man within half a second before Longhi cut the gap to Aschenbach to matter of hundredths with a lap of 2:21.097. Buford then took the pole with a final lap in the #55 Aston Martin Vantage co-driven by Scott Maxwell.
Longhi’s time will mean the Porsche he shares with Matt Plumb will start third with the Stevenson Camaro of John Edwards and Matt Bell fourth. After being an early factor in the first for pole Brett Sandberg ultimate qualified the Fall–Line Motorsports BMW M3 in fifth.
Daytona winner Jack Roush Jr. and Billy Johnson will start from seventh.
Late laps were factor in qualifying for the ST class too. When the checkered flag fell at the end of the separate session for the second class Marc Miller held a healthy half second advantage over Corey Fergus’ RSR Motorsports Honda Civic.
However, with their final laps both Fergus and Chad McCumbee in the sister C.J. Wilson Racing Mazda MX-5 to Miller’s were both able to lap faster taking the front row spots, former NASCAR Sprint Cup driver McCumbee with a time of 2:28.322 over Fergus’ 2.28.370. Miller, who shares the #5 car with Scot Stevan McAleer will start from third.
The ST session started with Ryan Ellis’ Mazda 3 on pole. Chad Gilsinger’s HART Honda Civic also briefly occupying provisional pole before Miller, McCumbee and Fergus made it a three way fight for class pole for the two hour, 30 minute race.