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Jun 07, 2014 - 07:10 AM
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Masters Competitor Duerson Wins Overall Pole Under Lights At Kansas
Posted by: newsla on Jun 07, 2014 - 07:10 AM
Sports Cars
Masters Competitor Duerson Wins Overall Pole Under Lights At Kansas


Craig Duerson became the first Masters competitor to win an overall pole for an IMSA Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda race since 2012, taking the top spot Friday night, June 6 under the lights at Kansas Speedway.

 

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Duerson, 50, from Gulfport, Mississippi, turned his top lap of 1 minute, 16.183 seconds in the No. 27 Performance Tech Motorsports entry. The pole lap came on his final trip around the six-turn, 2.37-mile infield road course at Kansas, which also incorporates nearly the entire 1.5-mile oval known for its NASCAR competition.

The last Masters (age 40 and older) competitor to win an overall pole in the series was Anthony Lazzaro in September 2012 at Virginia International Raceway.

"I'm happy to be on pole," Duerson said. "Great for the team, shows we have a good car. Performance Tech put a good car underneath me. It was a drafting situation, and I'm familiar with how to work the draft. So I just put myself in the position where I could get a good draft and get pole."

Andrew Novich, from Novato, California, qualified second at 1:16.308 in the No. 61 Comprent Motor Sports entry after holding the top spot for most of the 20-minute qualifying session.

Matt McMurry, from Phoenix, qualified third at 1:16.393 in the No. 16 Performance Tech Motorsports √Član DP02 chassis powered by a Mazda engine on Cooper Tires. McMurry, 16, will head to France after this event to become the youngest competitor in the history of the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, which has taken place annually since 1923.

Duerson's pole highlighted a dominant performance during qualifying by 2013 Team Championship winner Performance Tech Motorsports. Florida-based Performance Tech placed four drivers in the first six spots on the grid, with Craig Duerson on pole, McMurry third, Robert Alon fourth and Hayden Duerson - Craig Duerson's son - sixth.

Series points leader Mikhail Goikhberg qualified eighth at 1:16.737 in the No. 10 JDC Motorsports car. Goikhberg, from North Vancouver, British Columbia, swept the first two rounds of the series March 13-14 at Sebring, Florida. Duerson finished second and third, respectively, at Sebring in his series debut after winning the Platinum Masters (age 45 and older) championship in the IMSA Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge USA by Yokohama series in 2013.

Just .554 of a second separates the top eight drivers on the grid Saturday at Kansas Speedway. Race 1 is scheduled for 4:15 p.m. (CT), followed by Race 2 under the lights at 10:15 p.m.

The Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda cars will share the track with another category for the first time during both races, competing alongside the faster Prototype Challenge (PC) class from the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship.

For live updates on all the action, follow @IMSALive on Twitter. For more information about Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda, visit www.imsa.com, follow hashtag #CTPL @IMSA on Twitter or IMSA on Facebook.

STATS: Qualifying Results

QUALIFYING QUOTES:

CRAIG DUERSON (No. 27 Performance Tech Motorsports, pole): "I'm happy to be on pole. Great for the team, shows we have a good car. Performance Tech put a good car underneath me. It was a drafting situation, and I'm familiar with how to work the draft. So I just put myself in the position where I could get a good draft and get pole."

ANDREW NOVICH (No. 61 Comprent Motor Sports, second): "Coming to Kansas, I was probably the only one who had laps here, so I was on the pace right out of the gate. The series is so close, like less than two-tenths. It's just so tight. You literally have to go out there and extract everything you can out of yourself. I've never had to work so hard to be up front. Everyone's on Cooper Tires, everyone is on the same wing angle, everyone has the same engine. It's all driver, and you just go out there and try to make it happen."

MATT McMURRY (No. 16 Performance Tech Motorsports, third): "We started good, and then we had a little bit of a brake problem, which made me have to skip one of the practices. But then we went to qualifying, and the car was really good. We had plans to do some drafting, but those fell apart at the start. But eventually we did get someone to get behind and get a tow, and we got up to third."

Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda

The two classes of competition in the Cooper Tires Prototype Lites Powered by Mazda series take drivers and teams down unique, exciting roads of prototype sports car racing. Nimble, high-tech, purpose-built Lites 1 machines pack in the power with a 230-horsepower, 2-liter Mazda engine designed to prepare aspiring professionals for prototype competition in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. Equally capable and affordable Lites 2 machines offer world-class competition for semi-professional drivers. Both formulas take competition to the next level, producing thrilling, high-speed action at premier venues across North America.


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