By Steve Wittich

DEForce Racing rookie Nicolas Giaffone in the OMNI sponsored No. 19 from the DEForce Racing stable during a wet practice session at Barber Motorsports Park (Photo credit: Gavin Baker Photography)

A dominant performance by rookie Nicolas Giaffone capped off a stellar qualifying effort for DEForce Racing, who will start from the first three spots in tomorrow’s first USF Juniors Presented by Cooper Tires race.

The 18-year-old Giaffone’s pole-winning lap of 85.802 seconds was over a half second ahead of his teammates Lucas Fecury and Quinn Armstrong.

Exclusive Autosport rookie and defending Lucas Oil Formula Car Race Series champion Jack Jeffers rounds out the second row.

Starting from the third row is Ethan Ho (DC Autosport), the only driver with race experience, Barber Motorsports Park, and current points leader Joey Brienza (Exclusive Autosport).

After two damp test sessions and one practice session on a drying 2.3-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park natural terrain road course, the 15 USF Juniors drivers were met with dry conditions for their first of two qualifying sessions for the Cooper Tires Grand Prix Of Alabama.

With 20 minutes of guaranteed green flag time, getting up to speed quickly was paramount.

It only took the new JR-23 two laps to go under the track record set by DEForce Racing’s Mac Clark last April.

After each driver had completed three laps, Fecury held the provisional pole with a lap at 86.379 seconds, followed closely by his DEForce Racing teammates Giaffone and Armstrong.

Second-generation racer Giaffone was the first driver to break the 86-second barrier, grabbing the provisional pole with just over half of qualifying remaining. The Brazilian’s lap was a full half-second ahead of Fecury as drivers continued to search for more speed.

The red flag came out with a little under five minutes remaining for a car in the tire barrier at the crest of the hill between Turn 13 and 14. From reports on the ground (we just arrived in Birmingham), it was the No. 33 of Max Taylor (VRD Racing).

Unfortunately, that brought the session to a close, with Giaffone winning a third straight pole for DEForce Racing at Barber Motorsports Park.

Cooper Tires Grand Prix Of Alabama Race #1 – USF Juniors unofficial qualifying results

119Nicolas GiaffoneDEForce Racing1:25.802——
217Lucas FecuryDEForce Racing1:26.379-0.577
316Quinn ArmstrongDEForce Racing1:26.396-0.594
492Jack JeffersExclusive Autosport1:26.504-0.702
568Ethan HoDC Autosport1:26.612-0.81
691Joey BrienzaExclusive Autosport1:26.620-0.818
748Jimmie LockhartVRD Racing1:26.790-0.988
833Max TaylorVRD Racing1:26.942-1.14
990Erick SchottenExclusive Autosport1:27.095-1.293
1018Brady GolanDEForce Racing1:27.166-1.364
1129Hudson SchwartzVRD Racing1:27.384-1.582
1212Ethan BarkerVRD Racing1:27.638-1.836
1355Juan Felipe PedrazaRam Racing1:28.314-2.512
1457Carson EtterDC Autosport1:29.457-3.655
1593Giovanni CabreraExclusive Autosport1:31.992-6.19