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World Challenge - Skeen Tops Second Combined Practice

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BOWMANVILLE, May 20, 2011: Mike Skeen, of Charlotte, N.C., led the second session and was quickest overall on Friday at Mosport International Raceway during practice for this weekend’s Pirelli Grand Prix of Mosport Victoria Day Speedfest Presented by Optima Batteries doubleheader. Ben Crosland, from Salt Lake City, Utah, and Aaron Povoledo, from Toronto, were quickest during the second session in the GTS and Touring Car classes, respectively, placing them each second in class for the day.

Mike Skeen led practice on Friday at Mosport in GT (Mark Weber Photo)

Skeen jumped to the practice lead with a late flying lap in his No. 2 CRP/Cragar Wheels Chevrolet Corvette with a time of 1:19.705 (111.064 mph) during the 30-minute session around the 10-turn, 2.459-mile circuit. Skeen’s Corvette is the same one that Ron Fellows drove to a win at Mosport a season ago.

“Obviously, Ron did well here last year,” Skeen said. “We don’t have exactly the same package since then, but I think we have our reliability down, hopefully. We’ve gotten some new diffs on the car. We’ve certainly had the speed all year, it’s just a matter of getting them to stick. We’ve really gotten the handling a lot better on the cars with the big front tire we got at Long Beach. We didn’t really get a chance to race it at Miller, but it was good there too. I think we’ve got a good package, but I think tomorrow in qualifying, everybody will pick it back up.”

Skeen’s CRP Racing teammate Patrick Lindsey was second fastest in the session and overall for the day, posting a time of 1:20.483 (109.991 mph) in the No. 12 Hawk Performance Chevrolet Corvette. Lindsey led the session until Skeen stole the top spot away with just a few minutes to go.

Jason Daskalos, the Round Four GT winner, was fourth in the No. 7 Dalsin Developments Dodge Viper with a time of 1:20.603 (109.827 mph). Daskalos’ time also came during the second session of the day.

Crosland was quickest in the GTS second session, turning a time of 1:28.252 (100.308 mph) in the No. 25 Interbank FX/ Ford Mustang FR500S. Crosland previously raced at Mosport in the Ford Racing Mustang Challenge, but the current Mustang package is considerably different from then.

“We’ve just really dialed in the car now,” Crosland said. “I’ve been on this track before in Mustang Challenge and it’s a great track. Instead of a technical track, it’s really more based on feeling, which I think gives me an edge a little bit. Really, it’s just feeling the car out on this track with how fast it is. I think it really suits my driving style, too. It’s just a great day. We’ve had some issues with some different vibration parts, but we’re coming together and we’re able to put a good lap down. I think we really dialed in the setup for this track.”

Crosland and Paul Brown swapped the top spot nearly every lap for the last 15 minutes of the session, but Brown’s lap of 1:28.354 (100.192 mph) in the No. 50 Lucas Oil/K&N Filters Ford Mustang Boss 302S fell just short of Crosland’s mark. Still, Brown earned the top combined GTS position with a time of 1:27.973 (100.626 mph) in the first practice session of the day.

Eric Foss posted a lap of 1:28.852 (99.630 mph) in No. 73 Traxxas/St. Jude Hospital/SPX Ford Mustang FR500S to run third, both overall and during the second practice session, to Crosland and Brown.

Povoledo drove his No. 88 K-Pax Racing Volvo C30 to the fast lap in the second practice session, posting a time of 1:33.602 (94.575 mph). Povoledo captured his first Pirelli World Challenge win at Miller Motorsports Park in Round Four at the end of April.

Povoledo’s time fell short of the lap Anthony Rapone posted in the opening practice, piloting his No. 81 Durabond Honda Civic Si to the top of the combined Touring Car charts with a 1:33.058 (95.127 mph).

“Let’s just say Mosport is always bittersweet,” Povoledo said. “Sweet because, when you string together a good lap, and to go fast here, there’s not much more out there that makes you feel more alive. Bitter because it’s scary as hell. This is a home track for me and we’ve got a lot of pride coming in here off that win for K-Pax racing and our Volvo C30 program, which is developing daily by leaps and bounds. That was everything out on the line. Our homework is not done yet, but it’s exhilarating trying to catch those Hondas.”

Ron Zitza, who drove his No. 60 Gila Monster/Zotz Racing Volkswagen Jetta to the second quickest time in the session to Povoledo’s, posted a 1:34.226 (93.948 mph) during the 30 minutes. That left him fourth overall, behind the 1:33.765 (94.410 mph) turned by Tristan Herbert’s No. 33 Brimtek Motorsports Volkswagen GTI.

The Pirelli World Challenge qualifies on Saturday morning at 9:20 a.m. EDT in preparation for Saturday’s Round Five, with qualifying and the Round Six race on Sunday at Mosport International Raceway.