- 28 April 2017
Alton, VA - David Grant put together a lap in the dying moments of a Friday Atlantic Championship Series qualifying session to vault his No. 29 Polestar Swift 016/Mazda to the pole position for the opening round of the 2017 season at VIRginia International Raceway, scheduled to take place on Saturday afternoon. Grant qualified first for the season opener ahead of Peter Portante and Keith Grant.
On his last flying lap around the 17-turn facility, Grant was looking for every bit of real estate, dropping two wheels in the dirt on his entrance to the back straight, and ultimately taking the pole by just two tenths of a second over K-Hill's Portante.
"The car was on rails. It was great," said Grant. "We sat out a bit at the beginning of the session and it took to the last lap to get everything up to temperature. I knew I had one lap left and knew by the dash readout we had a good lap going."
Grant's pole time of 1:42.743 bettered Portante's 1:42.943, his first ever Atlantic qualifying session in the No. 24 for K-Hill Motorsports.
"Honestly, car is fantastic to drive. It gets better and better the quicker you go and as you learn more quirks about her," said Portante. "I think there a ton of potential for more time, as I have only turned a handful laps at most ever in this car at this point, every session we should be seeing improvements."
Grant's brother and Polestar teammate Keith Grant qualified third, also opting to sit out the first 10 minutes of the session, which proved to be a gamble when a lengthy black flag ate up the clock for clean-up from an incident.
"The stop didn't hurt us, and it actually limited the miles we put on the tires," said Grant, who drives the No. 40. "I just didn't put together a whole lap."
Bob Corliss qualified fourth in the Swift 014/Toyota, but went off late in the session. Comprent is expected to have the car ready for Saturday morning's race-two qualifying session with only light suspension damage.
Teammate Chris Ash qualified fifth in one of his best performances to date. Jenna Grillo and Richard Zober followed in the opening weekend of the 14-race season.
In other news, Spencer Brockman's No. 34 failed to complete a lap in qualifying with the team citing fuel delivery issues. The aspiring racer will have to come from the back of the field in Saturday afternoon's race at VIR in the Swift 014/Mazda.