Penske Racing and Dumas Claim Grand-Am Pole in New Jersey

May 2, 2009

MILLVILLE, N.J. (May 2, 2009) - Penske Racing's Romain Dumas turned a fast lap time of 1:14.057 to secure the pole position for Sunday's Verizon Wireless 250 at New Jersey Motorsports Park. Dumas proved to be a quick study of the 2.25-mile road course in the No. 12 Verizon Wireless Porsche Riley, turning a qualifying lap at 109.375 mph. The lap was the fastest posted among all Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Presented by Crown Royal Cask No. 16 competitors this weekend.

Dumas and co-driver Timo Bernhard first arrived at the park's Thunderbolt Raceway early Friday morning. To acclimate themselves with the track, Dumas and Bernhard drove their rental cars around the racing surface. It proved to be a worthwhile trip.

While Dumas' qualifying lap is slower than the 2008 Inaugural Grand-Am event in the Garden State, he is credited with setting a new track record because the course has a new configuration this year.

"It's great to come to a track for my first time and set the track record," said Dumas. "For me and Timo, we've never seen [New Jersey Motorsports Park] and it's the same for Penske Racing. We all had to learn the track together and we are excited to get our first (Grand-Am Rolex Series) pole here."

Bernhard was the fastest of the Penske Racing driving duo during all practice sessions. The self-proclaimed "technical driver of the duo," Bernhard carefully studied all of the data after each practice to see where he could pick up a little more speed for future sessions.

"I like to look over the data," said Bernhard. "I want to see where I am breaking too soon, where I can get back in the gas a little quicker, and I like to see where I am consistent.

"I like this track because it is also technical. The Verizon Wireless Porsche Riley has been good getting around the track. (Penske Racing race engineer) Jonathan (Diuguid) is a good listener and (crew chief) Bill (Vincent) is a great mechanic. They pull the entire team together and we continually improve."

Both Bernhard and Dumas are looking forward to Sunday's race. Each driver has their favorite locations on the track for passing and they both feel they have the car to stay in front all day.

"I found a couple of places on the track where I can get around other cars," said Dumas. "Hopefully I will only be passing lapped cars though."

"I believe the Verizon Wireless car is ready to go," said Bernhard. "Verizon Wireless is the sponsor of the race and we would really like to see them at the podium tomorrow."

The Verizon Wireless 250 will be televised live on SPEED with coverage beginning at 1 p.m. ET on Sunday, May 3. The race has a two-hour-and-45-minute time limit.