Doran Racing Qualifies First and Second
With Its Nissan 370Zs at VIR;
Jaeger's Pole Is a New Track Record
ALTON, Va., Aug. 21 — The two Doran Racing Nissan 370Zs will be at the head of the field for the start of the Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge race at VIRginia International Raceway tomorrow afternoon, as the Lebanon, Ohio-based team nailed down the top two spots in qualifying Friday night.
Brad Jaeger of nearby Charlottesville, Va., won the TOTAL pole award with the team's #14 that he shares with B.J. Zacharias of Cincinnati, setting a new track record in the process. Rookie Nic Hammann of Elkhart Lake, Wis., will start second in the team's similar #41 that he shares with fellow rookie Nick McMillen of Salem, Ore.
The two red and white Nissan 370Zs, which advertise Nissan's popular GT Academy that turns gamers into real racers, were only 0.297 of a second apart in the 15-minute qualifying session over the 3.27-mile, 17-turn road course near Danville, Va.
Both turned four laps in the session. Jaeger, who is studying for his Masters degree in business administration at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia, was seventh on his first lap and fourth on his second lap before he rose to the head of the class on his third lap with a 1:58.359. He wasn't done though, as he cut 0.330 of a second off that time on his fourth lap for his pole-winning time and new track record of 1:58.029 (averaging 99.738 miles per hour). It was his first pole ever in this series.
Hammann, who won the 2014 Nissan GT Academy a year after his co-driver did the same, was even more dramatic. He was eighth on his first three laps and then turned a 1:58.326 to put himself beside Jaeger for the start of the 2.5-hour race Saturday at 1:25 p.m. Eastern time. It will be steamed live on imsa.com. Both Hammann and McMillen are making their first starts at VIR.
Zacharias topped the first practice session Friday morning with a 1:58.615 on the sixth of 13 laps the #14 turned in that session for an average speed of 99.245 miles per hour. The #41 was tenth with a 2:00.592.
Friday afternoon the #41 was third in the second practice session with Hammann's 1:59.325 (98.655 mph) on lap six of 21. The #14 was eighth in that session with a 1:59.743.
Earlier in the day Nissan announced that a specially wrapped and equipped 2016 Nissan Maxima will be the pace car leading the two Nissans and the 37 other cars in the race to the green flag.
About six and a half hours before qualifying Doran Racing also learned that it was the winner of the Visual Studio Team to Win Award for the most recent CTSCC race at Road America, where it finished second and fourth. The contest was conducted by an on-line poll that ended at noon Eastern on Friday, and Doran Racing collected 46.96 percent of the votes to beat the other three nominees. The program is part of a larger "team"-themed promotion Microsoft is doing this year.
In addition to the live streaming, Saturday's race will also be shown on a tape-delayed basis from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Eastern on Sunday, Sept. 6 on Fox Sports 1.
Additional information is available on DoranRacing.com and the team's Facebook page.
Driver post-qualifying quotes follow:
Brad Jaeger: "This is the first all-Nissan lockout of the front row in this series as far as we know. It's my first pole in an IMSA event too!
"I came by on that third lap and heard P1, but I had no margin between myself and Jade Buford, who was second at the time. It made me want the pole so bad. I knew someone would likely overtake me if I didn't go faster. That gave me the motivation I needed to improve even more and get an even better flyer on the last lap.
"I'm just so happy for Doran Racing and for Nissan; it means a lot to Rick Kulach and we want to thank him and everyone at Nissan for their support. It's great it happened at a track where Nissan is a primary sponsor too. The team has been giving it their all. Everyone is working as hard as they can back at the shop and at the track. Hats off to Doran Racing!
"It was easy to find a nice gap because the track is over 3 miles long. Everything went well; the car was fast right out of the transporter. Every change we made in practice seemed to make it better too, so it's been pretty awesome. Let's hope it continues tomorrow!"
Nic Hammann: "It was awesome. It took me three laps; I was a little nervous. I made a couple mistakes but then I was able to get a good lap in. It's really cool for Nissan. And if I had to lose to someone it was great it was to Brad and B.J.; without them we wouldn't be where we are. They've both been very helpful.
"In the second practice session I was a little disappointed with my time, but it all worked out. Qualifying second in my first race at VIR is special!
"I'm looking forward to the race, and I hope we can transfer it to a one-two result!"
For more information about the series, see imsa.com.
For more information on Doran Racing, see DoranRacing.com.
The team also has a Facebook page.