Millville, NJ: Spirit of Daytona may have had an up-and-down season, but one thing has been certain every weekend – the No. 90 Chevrolet-powered Coyote is fast. Saturday at New Jersey Motorsports Park was no different as driver Antonio Garcia qualified second, earning the team its fifth front row starting position this season with a lap of 1:15.769 around Thunderbolt Raceway’s 2.25-mile configuration.
The pole position went to Ricky Taylor in the No. 10 SunTrust Racing Chevrolet DP with a lap of 1:15.719, just 0.050 seconds ahead of Garcia. Jon Fogarty in the No. 99 GAINSCO/Bob Stallings Racing DP rounded out the top 3, making it a clean sweep for Chevrolet.
“The car has been fast in qualifying all year long we just need to put together an entire weekend,” admitted Garcia, who will start and finish the race Sunday. “We’ve proven that we have a good car we just need to get it to the finish line and we should be in a good position.”
Spirit of Daytona has battled a series of mechanical gremlins the last two races, but has had a clean weekend in New Jersey, even opting to forgo Saturday’s morning session to save tires. Tires – along with cockpit temperatures – will be key in tomorrow’s American Red Cross 250 with temperatures expected in the upper-90s.
To combat heat-related issues with Garcia and co-driver Paul Edwards, the team has opted to make two driver changes as opposed to the traditional one driver change most common in races of less than three hours in length.
“We’re playing a little different strategy, but I think it’s going to help both of our drivers stay fresh,” said team owner/manager Troy Flis. “We’re back to where we were a couple of races ago. The car’s got the speed, it’s just tire conservation is going to be the key.”
While it wasn’t a pole, Flis is happy to be back on the front row after failing to do so each of the past two races.
“Somebody’s got to be second, but it was so close it could’ve really gone either way,” he said. “The whole weekend has been smooth like it was at the beginning of the year, we just have to keep digging.”