ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 17, 2001) - Paul Gentilozzi ( ...
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (August 17, 2001) - Paul Gentilozzi (#3 Johnson Controls/HomeLink-Jaguar XKR) grabbed the pole today for the Trans-Am Series Johnson Controls 100 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis. Gentilozzi is the defending Road America Trans-Am champion, winning in both 1999 and 2000, and currently leads the Trans-Am drivers' championship points battle.
Turning in a fast qualifying lap time of 2:08.581, Gentilozzi just missed the track record fast qualifying lap of 2:07.814 belonging to Tom Kendall and set in 1995. The last pole sitter to win the Road America race was Scott Sharp, back in 1993.
"We knew we had a great race car and a great set-up," Gentilozzi said. "This is a great race course and it is always a challenge on brakes. It's the easiest track in the series to drive on and the hardest course to go fast on. And traffic is always an issue even though it's such a long track."
Michael Lewis (#12 AmeriSuites-Jaguar XKR) will start second, earning his best qualifying position of the season. "We feel like we've made real progress this season. The crew really stepped it up a notch," Lewis said. "We consider ourselves a small team and we're real happy to be starting up here. Road America is one of the finest race courses in North America. It's a fun track to drive and we're looking forward to a good, strong competitive race tomorrow."
Tommy Archer (#36 Motor City True Performance-Dodge Viper), who won the Trans-Am Series race in Portland two weeks ago after starting from the pole, originally qualified third, but his qualifying times were disallowed by the series' chief steward due to mechanical irregularities. Archer will start 33rd, at the back of the field.
Johnny Miller (#64 AutomationDirect/Cutler-Hammer Jaguar XKR) will start third. "Considering we didn't turn a lap in the morning practice and ended up last with no time, I'm really happy to qualify up here this afternoon," he said. "I attribute that to the team. We have new uprights, a new gearbox and a new engine. I was very impressed with the car they gave me for qualifying."
"It's going to be a great race tomorrow," Miller continued. "Just look at how fast the times of the top 10 are. We're all hauling out there. We're flying."
Miller is currently in second place in the drivers' championship points standings, 20 points behind his teammate, Gentilozzi.
Brian Simo (#88 Tommy Bahama-Qvale Mangusta), the defending series champion, qualified fourth. Simo is in third place in the points standings, just two points behind Miller. "This track separates the men from the boys," he said. "And I feel like I'm getting my youth back. It's going to be a great race - guys are running really fast."
Rounding out the top five is Boris Said (#33 Applied Computer Solutions Panoz Esperante).
2001 marks the 33rd consecutive year that the Trans-Am Series has competed at Road America. The Trans-am Johnson Controls 100, which is part of the Motorola 220 CART Fedex Weekend, takes place on the 4.048-mile, 14-turn road course. The race will be 25 laps for 101.2 miles.