Atlanta Speedwerks To Start Friday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge Race On First and Fifth Row

WATKINS GLEN, New York (July 1, 2021) – Atlanta Speedwerks will start Friday’s IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge TCR race at Watkins Glen in second and 10th place after Thursday’s qualifying. Brian Henderson qualified the No. 84 Sabelt/Pagid Honda Civic TCR on the front row for the fifth time in as many races, while Scott Smithson gave the race winning No. 94 Qelo/Dinner With Racers/Lemons of Love Honda Civic TCR from less than a week ago a fifth-row starting spot.

Friday’s race gets the green flag at 2:35 p.m. EDT and can be seen live via TrackPass on the NBC Sports app.

Henderson’s solid second-place starting spot comes after a best lap of 1:57.605 (104.077 mph) during the 15-minute qualifying, which was on a damp but drying track after afternoon rain storms. The runner-up qualifying spot is actually the first time in the season’s first five races that the No. 84 Honda Civic has not been the fastest qualifier. Henderson will start the two-hour race before passing the car to teammate Robert Noaker for the finish.

“I’m still super stoked to be starting from the front row,” Henderson said. “I knew we’d be strong after the last race, but you never know where you’re going to end up in qualifying. I think we’re going to have a strong performance in the race. The track conditions were different from last week here. It had just finished raining so the track was pretty green and there was a lot less grip. The Atlanta Speedwerks guys did a great job setting up the car for the track.”

Smithson climbs behind the wheel of the No. 94 Honda Civic TCR for the second time this season, and first since a podium at Mid-Ohio as a co-driver to Ryan Eversley. His first session in the TCR car at Watkins Glen came during a wet afternoon practice, vastly different than the qualifying session. Even so, Smithson improved quickly in the session and turned a best lap of 1:58.862 (102.976 mph) to qualify 10th on the grid.

“Every lap I was finding more and more time,” Smithson said. “I don’t like where we’re starting, but we’re really close. I was rolling more and more speed through the corners, there’s so much grip out here. It’s very different than Mid-Ohio. I think we’ll be fine for the race.”

Eversley, teamed with driver and Team Owner Todd Lamb, captured the four-hour race win here at Watkins Glen just six days ago.

Smithson and Eversley’s No. 94 car is the current Team Championship leader at the halfway point of the season, with Eversley on top of the Drivers Championship by just 10 points. Eversley will close Friday’s race for Atlanta Speedwerks before immediately jumping on a plane to head to Road America to make his NASCAR debut.