That new paving job they were forced to do at Daytona International Speedway following the debacle at last year’s Daytona 500 (they had to stop the race twice to patch a big hole in the first turn, remember) has resulted in higher speeds during NASCAR pre-season testing and record times during qualifying for this weekend’s Rolex 24.
According to Nick Jamieson of Toronto, who was in the press room at Daytona, Jorg Bergmeister, who won the pole for this weekend’s 24-hour race, said they’d done a wonderful job with the paving and that they’d even paved the “transitional” areas between the road course and the oval and that was a big reason the sports cars were setting such scorching times.
Bergmeister laid down a Daytona Prototype track qualifying record lap of 1:40.099 (128.033 miles an hour) in capturing the pole for the 49th Rolex 24.
Ironically, Bergmeister's No. 45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche/Riley is the same car that David Donohue used to set the previous record of 1:40.540 (127.492 mph). Donohue went on to win the 2009 Rolex 24 for Brumos Racing, becoming the seventh and most recent driver to win the race from the pole.
"This car has some great history," said Bergmeister, who will co-drive with Patrick Long, Seth Neiman and Johannes van Overbeek.
Bergmeister will be joined on the front row by Max Angelelli, who ran 1:40.133 (127.990 mph) in the No. 10 SunTrust Chevrolet/Riley.
Also under the previous track record were Scott Pruett (128.033 mph), Ryan Dalziel (127.840 mph), Scott Dixon (127.744 mph), Antonio Garcia (127.654 mph), Brian Frisselle (127.563 mph) and A.J. Allmendinger (127.562 mph), all eclipsing Donohue's record.
Top Canadian is Mike Forest of Edmonton, who’s one of the drivers on Dalziel’s team.
The race will get the green flag at 3:30 p.m. (ET) Saturday.
SPEED will provide seven hours of live coverage of the 24-hour race on Saturday beginning at 3 p.m., and resume with seven hours on Sunday beginning at 9 a.m.