Longhi, Foster Take Front Row Starting Spots

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Jan. 27, 2011) – Rum Bum Racing made its series debut a season ago at Daytona International Speedway, and won the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge season opener.

The team is in prime position to repeat.

Nick Longhi won the Grand Sport pole in the No. 13 RumBum.com BMW M3 on Thursday afternoon, with a record time of 1:56.959 (109.577 mph), and will lead a 32-car GS field to the green flag at 1:30 p.m. ET Friday for the GRAND-AM 200. Longhi co-drives with last year’s winner, Matt Plumb.

“It was a combination of a lot of things, including the cooler weather, the new surface and getting almost a perfect draft coming out of the chicane that led to that lap,” Longhi said. “One fast lap makes me feel good, but you have to do it for two-and-a-half hours now.”

Longhi joined Rum Bum Racing near the conclusion of the 2010 season, and he and Plumb won the final two races. A Daytona victory would be the first time since 2005 two drivers have won three consecutive races.

Joining Longhi on the front row will be Joe Foster in the No. 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang Boss 302R, 1:57.228 (109.325 mph). In the second row are defending series champion Charles Espenlaub in the No. 48 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3, 1:57.299 (109.259 mph) and 2009 race winner Matt Bell in the No. 9 Stevenson Automotive Group Chevrolet Camaro, 1:757.546 (109.030 mph).

Al Carter originally set the second quickest time, but his time was disallowed after failing post-race technical inspection. The No. 45 Fall-Line Motorsports BMW M3 was found to have excessive front camber; the car will start at the rear of the field.

In the Street Tuner class, Ryan Ellis – in his first race with APR Motorsport – won the pole with a time of 2:06.818 (101.058 mph) in the No. 171 APR/VW Driver Gear Volkswagen GTI. Like Longhi, Ellis received some assistance on his fastest lap, an ST track record.

“We had to work the draft as well as possible,” said Ellis, who will lead 45 ST cars to the start. “”It’s Daytona; you have to learn how to use the draft.”

Dan Ferguson qualified second with a time of 2:06.827 (101.051 mph) in the No. 71 DeMan Motorsport Porsche Boxster. Both Ellis and Ferguson are competing for the first time at Daytona.

Qualifying third was last year’s Daytona race winner and series champion, David Thilenius, at 2:07.349 (100.637 mph), in the No. 74 Skunk2/HPD Honda Civic Si, while fourth was Jeff Mosing, 2:07.360 (100.636 mph), in the No. 56 RACE EPIC/Murillo Racing BMW 328i.

source http://www.grand-am.com

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