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Pobst, Musser and Povoledo Lead Opening Pirelli World Challenge Practice at Miller

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TOOELE, April 29, 2011: Cold weather greeted the Pirelli World Challenge field for the opening 30-minute practice session of the Pirelli World Challenge Grand Prix of Long Beach presented by Bondurant on Friday at Miller Motorsports Park. Randy Pobst, of Gainesville, Ga., Jordon Musser, from Coppell, Texas, and Aaron Povoledo, from Toronto, were quickest in the GT, GTS and Touring Car during the 30-minute session, respectively.

Pobst, the defending GT Drivers’ Champion, led the session in his No. 6 K-Pax Racing Volvo S60 after posting a time of 1:52.953 (97.144 mph) around the 3.048-mile, 15-turn course.

Pobst was just 0.032-second ahead of Jason Daskalos’ No. 7 Dalsin Developments Dodge Viper, who was second in the session with a best time of 1:52.985 (97.117 mph). A Dodge Viper has won the last three visits by the Pirelli World Challenge GT class to Miller Motorsports Park.

Patrick Lindsey was third in the session with a best time of 1:53.287 (96.858 mph) in the No. 12 Hawk Performance Chevrolet Corvette, the first of two Corvettes in the top four. Tony Gaples followed Lindsey with a best time of 1:53.827 (96.399 mph) in the No. 11 Kleinschmidt/Blackdog Speed Shop Chevrolet Corvette.

Dino Crescentini made it four different manufacturers in the top five when he placed the No. 4 Centric Parts/StopTech Porsche 911 GT3 in fifth with a lap time of 1:54.056 (96.205 mph).

Musser lead the GTS class in the No. 05 Momentum/Race Fuel Energy Drink Chevrolet Camaro, topping the practice sheets with a best lap of 2:01.597 (90.239 mph). Musser is making his first World Challenge start this weekend.

Eric Foss was second to Musser in the session, posting a best time of 2:02.746 (89.394 mph) in the No. 73 Traxxas/St. Jude/SPX Ford Mustang FR500S. The Mustang is one of the original Ford Racing Mustang Challenge that was based at Miller Motorsports Park until the series concluded last season. Five of the original Mustang Challenge cars are in the GTS field this weekend.

Defending Drivers’ Champion Peter Cunningham was third in the session with a best time of 2:03.034 (89.185 mph) in the Acura/RealTime Racing Acura TSX. Cunningham won the GTS race at Miller Motorsports Park a season ago.

Povoledo topped the Touring Car practice session with a best time of 2:06.963 (86.427 mph) in the No. 88 K-Pax Racing Volvo C30. The Volvos have been battling mechanical gremlins in the early part of the season for the brand-new race cars, but the cool temperatures seemed to help both the GT and the Touring Car versions of the turbocharged engine.

Championship leader Lawson Aschenbach was second in the No. 71 Compass360 Honda Civic Si, posting a time of 2:07.554 (86.024 mph). Aschenbach won the season opener on the streets of St. Petersburg, Fla.

Ron Zitza, who finished second to Aschenbach in St. Pete, was third in the session in the No. 60 Gila Monster/Zotz Racing Volkswagen Jetta with a time of 2:07.671 (85.946 mph). With Eric Meyer’s No. 32 XOWii Racing/Samaritan’s Feet/Delvira Mazda RX-8 posting a lap of 2:08.117 (85.646 mph), four manufacturers were in the top-four in the session in Touring Car.

The session was ended almost five minutes early after the No. 72 Compass360 Honda Civic Si of Thomas Ehlen hit a guardrail in a single-car incident.

The Pirelli World Challenge returns to the track at 12:40 p.m. (MDT) Saturday morning for the second practice session. All three classes will qualify on Friday afternoon, with the Round Four race scheduled for Saturday afternoon at Miller Motorsports Park.