Unhappy with his car’s performance in Friday’s practice sessions, Aaron Jeansonne (No. 24 JTR Motorsports Engineering) switched to a backup car Saturday morning for Idemitsu Mazda MX-5 Cup presented by BFGoodrich qualifying. It paid dividends on his final flying lap around Virginia International Raceway when he jumped to pole position.
Even though he hadn’t turned a lap in the backup car prior to qualifying, Jeansonne was confident that his team had given him a machine worthy of the top spot.
“We had some issues in practice and had to go to a backup car,” Jeansonne said. “Fortunately, JTR Motorsports Engineering is the best team on the grid. They always have plenty of cars that are prepared to go out and run P1. We showed up this morning, ran a different car and it was as fast as any car in the fleet and we got pole.”
Jeansonne reset the Mazda MX-5 Cup qualifying lap record with a pole time of 2m06.544s. It was only 0.076s faster than the driver who had been at the top of the times most of the session, Connor Zilisch (No. 72 Hixon Motor Sports).
“It was an accident really,” Jeansonne said. “I just wanted to get a solid qualifying run and be in a good position on the track. Jared [Thomas] and I got split up. It was a really crazy qualifying session with everyone trying to get in the spot they wanted to be in. I got lucky and got the right gap to a group of cars on the last lap. I was in the right place at the right time.”
Jeansonne will lead the MX-5 Cup field to the green flag for Round 11 at VIR, Saturday at 1:30pm ET. The 45-minute race will be streamed live on RACER.com.