DAYTONA BEACH, Florida (January 28, 2021) – Atlanta Speedwerks Honda Civics will start Friday’s four-hour IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge race from the first and 12th positions after 16-year-old Robert Noaker earned the Motul Pole Award during Thursday’s qualifying.
Noaker turned a lap of 1:58.530 (108.124 mph) as the checkered flag came out on the 15-minute session. The No. 84 Sabelt/Pagid Honda Civic TCR crossed the finish line and then held on as the rest of the field completed their laps to sit in the top spot by just 0.025-second.
Noaker will start the race and turn the car over to teammate Brian Henderson to finish the race. The two paired together for a sixth-place finish at Sebring in the 2020 season finale, which was Noaker’s lone race in the series.
“It’s a great car and a great team,” Noaker said after his run. “Put those together and it’s just fantastic to work with them. Most of the track is wide open so you just have to find someone and get their draft. The first lap I did was good, but I set up another good lap and was able to put it on pole. It feels great. “
With just one qualifying session in IMSA competition under his belt, the run was Noaker’s first career pole. The attention now turns to Friday’s four-hour race, available to watch live flag-to-flag on TrackPass on the NBCSN app.
“Qualifying was just TCR out there, but in the race you’ll have GS to work with,” Noaker said. “You have to watch your mirrors for them coming up. My plan is to do what I can do, you’re not going to win the race on the first lap. If the lead gets taken away from me on the start, you still have four hours to work it out. I want to make sure I give a clean car over to Brian.”
Greg Strelzoff qualified the team’s sister car 12th on the grid with a lap of 2:01.577 (105.414 mph). He will turn the No. 94 Dinner With Racers/Lemons of Love Honda Civic TCR over to Ryan Eversley at the mid-point of the race.
Strelzoff turned the solid qualifying time despite being away from racing for more than four years before a return for the 2021 season.
“I’m super excited to have been back in the car and have a great team around me to support me in my comeback,” Strelzoff said. “They’ve worked tirelessly to put me in a good position and I’m really thankful to Ryan for helping me so much. To think about the fact that I haven’t been in a race car for so long and qualified mid-pack is really good. I wanted more and I feel like I left a lot on the table. But we have a car that can race, and that’s the important thing.”
The green flag flies on the season opener, part of the Rolex 24 At Daytona weekend, on Friday at 1:35 p.m. ET.