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Thrice as Nice: Stacy, Faulkner Each Earn Third Poles of IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Season


By Mark Robinson

A pair of IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge drivers completed the Motul Pole Award hat trick in qualifying Saturday morning for the first of two races this weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Nate Stacy put the No. 60 KohR Motorsports Aston Martin Vantage GT4 on the overall pole with a lap of one minute, 27.453 seconds (92.950 mph) as the checkered flag waved to conclude the 15-minute Grand Sport (GS) class qualifying session. For Stacy, it marked his third pole-winning effort in the last four events, following those claimed at Road America and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

"The lap was really good; super happy with it," Stacy said. "The guys at KohR Motorsports have been working tirelessly trying to get this car as dialed in as we can get it."

In the Touring Car (TCR) session that preceded GS, Max Faulkner earned his third Motul Pole Award of the 2020 season with a lap of 1:31.267 (89.065 mph) in the No. 23 FASTMD Racing with Speed Syndicate Audi RS3 LMS. Faulkner’s previous poles this season came at Road America and VIRginia International Raceway.Faulkner Edited

"Quite a difficult lap today," Faulkner said. "Obviously early in the morning, quite chilly temperatures here, so getting the Michelin tires up to temperature was a little bit of a struggle. It took a few more laps than normal, but once they came up to temperature, the FASTMD Racing car came to life. It was a lot of fun to do that lap and fantastic to sit on pole again. Just got to convert it later today."

Stacy’s GS pole came at the conclusion of a back-and-forth battle with Tyler McQuarrie, whose best lap in the No. 39 CarBahn with Peregrine Racing Audi R8 GT4 came with just under three minutes left but wound up 0.525 seconds short following Stacy’s session-ending punctuation point. McQuarrie and teammate Jeff Westphal take a one-point lead over Stacy and Kyle Marcelli into the first Mid-Ohio 120, a two-hour race that streams live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold at 1:05 p.m. ET Saturday.

"I couldn’t really ask much more," Stacy said. "The track was a bit cold this morning and we’ve been battling the CarBahn guys, the No. 39 Audi, all year. Really respect those guys, it’s really awesome to race against ’em. We kept watching the clock and as soon as we saw they were on a good lap, we just had to roll back out."

Faulkner, meanwhile, bested the TCR field by a whopping 1.193 seconds in qualifying. Michael Lewis put the No. 98 Bryan Herta Autosport with Curb-Agajanian Hyundai Veloster N in the second starting position with a top lap of 1:32.460 (87.916 mph).

Qualifying for the second Mid-Ohio 120 rolls off at 6:50 p.m. Saturday, with the two-hour Race 2 taking the green flag at 10:35 a.m. Sunday. It will also stream live on TrackPass on NBC Sports Gold.